Tuesday, January 18, 2011

New Kids on the Block

In the last few years CRM market has moved closer to maturity stage. There are now basically 3-4 global vendors that are offering full-blown CRM solutions and that have developed strong community around their products: SAP, Oracle, Microsoft and Salesforce. Of course, there are lots of other strong players, for example SugarCRM or ZOHO, but majority of them have tried to position themselves in some vertical niche, for example offering customized CRM solutions to finance or telecommunications industry. There are also a lot of players that have jumped on SaaS and Cloud bandwagon and are now offering CRM solution as part of the greater suit of "cloud" applications.

Nevertheless, one may also find companies who have found profitable regional niches. This is especially true in this part of the world where there are lots of small countries and small markets that are not interesting to large vendors at the moment, at least not as much as bigger and more developed markets such as USA. Recently I have stumbled across on one such company – Intera , and their CRM offering – Intrix CRM. Intera is currently operating in Slovenia, and is basically offering a SaaS solution that has basic CRM functionalities like contact and account management, tracking of activities, reporting, scheduling of tasks and appointments, managing opportunities, importing data and so on. As almost all SaaS vendors it operates on a simple principle – customer pays fixed fee per user per month and gets web-based application that he can use on any computer that is connected to internet and has web browser. Advantages of such offering are well know: customers don't have to invest in software or infrastructure at the beginning and can easily scale the usage of the application based on their needs. Saas model is especially interesting to smaller companies who don't have big budget or dedicated IT staff.

Intrix CRM is cute solution with fancy design, but, from the functional standpoint it lags a lot behind big vendors like Salesforce or Microsoft. I will just mention that quote management is completely missing, that integration with Outlook is shaky at best and that possibility of customizations by customer or third party is highly reduced, but as some kind of entry-level CRM solution for small companies it works well enough. And of course, they have found the market niche that is currently too small to be noticed on "radars" of big guys. They know their home market very well, and through some clever marketing they have attained a lot of small companies. As such, they are currently offering one more example of how one small company can successfully find a profitable part of the market that is currently dominated by big players.