Salesnet Debuts Update For On-Demand CRM Apps - InformationWeek

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2/16/2006
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Salesnet Debuts Update For On-Demand CRM Apps

New lead management and campaign management tools and an enhanced document library are among 250 new features.

Salesnet this week introduced the 25th release of its on-demand customer-relationship-management application, and it's marking the occasion with an update that features 250 new features, including broader marketing automation capabilities in campaign management, lead management, and building batch-style HTML E-mail campaigns.

Among the new features is a lead-management module that places an emphasis on qualified leads, enabling users to more effectively focus their efforts pursuing leads that are likely to lead to actual sales. The module also includes a dashboard that provides analysis of lead-related activities, as well as several pre-built reports.

A new campaign-management module is designed to track, measure, and modify campaigns in real time, and store information related to campaigns in a central repository. And a new communication tool lets users with no HTML programming skills create HTML E-mail blasts using a WYSIWYG editor, and then store them as templates that can be used later.

Other new features include an enhanced document library, the ability to customize tabs and fields and have those changes reflected across all Salesnet modules immediately, and single sign-on capabilities for all modules. Pricing is $99 per user per month for the extended product, including all modules and upgrades, or $65 per user per month for a standard edition that doesn't include dashboards, analytics, or Web services APIs.

The release comes at a time when Salesnet, founded in 2000, believes it has an opportunity to make significant inroads due to the recent problems rival Salesforce.com has been having with service outages. But president and co-founder Jonathan Tang is realistic in acknowledging that customers need to be reassured about the reliability of delivering software as an on-demand service. "It scars the whole on-demand space," Tang says of the Salesforce outages. "If Salesforce can go down, then anyone can go down."

Despite the outages, Tang believes in the reliability of the multi-tenant architecture both it and Salesforce rely on. That architecture calls for multiple customers' instances of the application running on the same servers and databases. He says SAP's recent entrance into the on-demand market with a single-tenant architecture (meaning each customer's app runs on its own hardware) is well-timed to capitalize on Salesforce's outages, but that he doesn't expect much competition from SAP for three to five years, during which time it's expected to focus mostly on bringing its existing customer base online.

To put customers at east, Tang notes that Salesnet's service went down twice for a total of 60 minutes during 2005, and that the company is focused solely on addressing CRM-related business processes, a contrast to Salesforce's much loftier ambitions. The company offers service-level agreements that credit customers any time promised service levels aren't met. Tang believes that Salesforce's efforts to establish itself as an on-demand application platform via its Appexchange on-demand app marketplace is causing it to take its eye off the ball, leading directly to its recent service issues. "We don't want to become a platform," says Tang. "I don't want my people to be distracted by going out there and finding ISV partners."

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