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HyperOffice: CRM Idol review

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7th Sep 2011
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The CRM Idol judges panel from the Americas – Paul Greenberg, Esteban Kolsky, Denis Pombriant, Jesus Hoyos and Brent Leary – are viewing and reviewing contestants for the quality of their product, the vision of their company, the presentation that they are making and a variety of other factors. Each of the reviews has been reviewed and modified if need be by all the primary judges. This is a joint review signed off by all the judges who attended the session.

HyperOffice has a very complete, very interactive collaboration suite which they tried to adapt to sales and service processes to enter the CRM market. While some collaboration is necessary among sales and service teams, this is not the core of the problem that needs to be solved in CRM nor is it something that should be attempted by an independent software vendor: the potential market is too small to build a sustainable business model. 
HyperOffice packs a large number of collaboration workflows and tasks into a simple interface, although the interface itself could use an upgrade. The company was founded in 1998, and while it has gone through a complete rewrite since then, there are parts of the interface that should be re-interpreted and brought up to modern standards.
HyperOffice’s focus is definitely on collaboration, and their effort to bring collaboration to a discipline that traditionally lacks, but needs it, are commendable. The largest problem surrounding collaboration, however, is not the tools but the culture. In that, HyperOffice is fighting some of the most staunch, anti-collaboration personality types in enterprise software. CRM functions, although they can certainly benefit from collaboration, have from the beginning been more about the data flow than the individuals using them; collaboration was not built into them.   HyperOffice’s background is not in the CRM market and this is a major hurdle when promoting their product in the space. 
Their collaboration suite focuses on calendaring, messaging, contact management, project management and document management. The strongest features they showed us were on project management and calendar management – but they leveraged existing messaging resources to provide that.
They require multiple different components working together in a model that is more reminiscent of how consulting teams work together rather than sales or service personnel. This is why a large portion of their client base uses the tool as a PSA (professional services administration) than a CRM tool. Just like PRM, PSA is one of the many iterations of CRM but it is not CRM.
There are two aspects of HyperOffice that make it quite interesting: they build customized extranets to allow third parties to collaborate with enterprise employees, and they are already thinking and working on adding social. The product is quite good as a collaboration tool today, but their prize is not being a collaboration tool – rather whether they can build a collaborative enterprise. 
The collaborative enterprise model, bringing third parties into internal communities with access to the appropriate resources and information to co-create value, is to us an important future theme of social. Social has no purpose, collaboration becomes its purpose. While this is not the presentation that HyperOffice made, we would gently suggest that they look into the Collaborative Enterprise model as a future direction for their product. As a CRM tool it is not quite there, but there is a lot to like here as a collaboration tool and the potential that it brings.
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