Mid-market developer Accpac has added a Web and wireless application protocol (WAP) customer relationship management program to its software portfolio.
Accpac's Java-based eCRM package was developed by Dublin-based eWare. The traditional CRM functions - sales and contact management, customer care, and marketing campaigns - have been integrated with Accpac's Advantage Series enterprise resource planning (ERP) suite. Using eCRM, salespeople can query order details, stock availability or even credit control information directly from the backroom operations and financial databases.
According to Accpac European regional manager Cyrus Razzaghi, the new eCRM package is a crucial companion to the company's ERP and financial software. "eCRM is a vital part of the puzzle," he said. "All the ERP suppliers offer solid general ledgers, but key components such as CRM, Web stores and warehouse management will be the differentiators."
Keith Fenner, assistant vice president for Internet business, added that clients were already showing interest in the eCRM tool - and going for the integrated financial software as a spin-off.
The eCRM system can be accessed from a variety of Web-based clients, including WAP mobile phones. As well as embracing this trend-setting feature (and even infra-red protocols for wireless networking), Accpac offers eCRM as a hosted system.
One of Accpac's earliest UK customers for Accpac's integrated eCRM strategy gave a whole-hearted endorsement of the application service provision (ASP) model.
Stephen Knapp, finance director at rapidly growing hot tub installer TRU Spas, turned to Accpac after reaching "the end of the line" with his previous Sage Line 50 and ACT! software combination.
Knapp and his sales and marketing colleagues drew up a wishlist of features they wanted from their new system. "We were looking for a CRM package that we could build everything else around - and hang the financials off that," said Knapp.
"Accpac wa sable to give us the best of all worlds - enterprise software at a rental price we could afford - £700-£800 a month. Everyone from the receptionist to installers use eCRM."
TRU Spa moved to its new systems in the summer of 2001 and Knapp took extra training to be able to configure the systems to his own needs. The software includes workflow controls so that tasks can be assigned to the relevant individuals or departments and Knapp is loading in nine years' worth of sales records so his team can target old customers - and refer to their histories should they respond.
"I was pleasantly surprised at how capable the product is and new features are regularly being added," said Knapp. "Full integration is an absolute bonus. I'm subscr8ibing to three products (eCRM, Advantage financials and operations), but as far as I'm concerned I'm getting one service rather than boxes and boxes of CDs. It means we can be good at selling spas rather than being computer managers."