New Player in CRM Game Promises Lower Prices

Thursday May 13th 2004 by Kevin Newcomb
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The on-demand CRM market just got a bit more crowded. Entellium, which has served the Asia-Pacific market for four years, introduced its hosted CRM suite in North America. The company boasts lower fees, workflow features and no contractual obligations.

When it comes to online customer relationship management software, small business have had plenty of options: Salesforce.com, Salesnet, NetSuite, Upshot. So why would Entellium, a Malaysia-based company, think it can attract your business?

While this might be seen as a crowded market at first glance, Entellium CEO Paul Johnston disagrees.

Coming to America
Having spent four years building up a customer base of mostly Asian companies from its home base in Malaysia, on-demand CRM provider Entellium on Tuesday made its official move into the North American market.

By focusing on small and mid-sized and by delivering unmatched workflow capabilities to those companies, Entellium offers an unsurpassed combination of price, performance and features not previously seen on the market, Johnston claims.

"It is typically the second mouse that gets the cheese. What we bring to the market is big business features with a small business price," he said. "We offer a superior product at half the price ... and there's no catch."

Entellium's product suite includes Entellium eSalesForce, for sales force automation; Entellium eCustomerCenter for customer care; and Entellium eMarketing for marketing campaign management. Each product is available as a .module" available for purchase separately, but with a built-in .portal view. which allows employees and managers to easily see and share information in each module even though they may not be a registered user of that module.

Entellium's eCollaborate tool allows people inside and outside the registered user company to collaborate on things like document management and team chats. For example, third-parties can be invited by Entellium subscribers to review information like Microsoft Office documents or designs, proposals, blueprints, or 3-D drawings without having to subscribe.

Contract? You Don't Need a Stinkin' Contract
Entellium users pay only for the modules they subscribe to on a monthly basis, with fees ranging from $10-$67, compared to upwards of $120 from other vendors with comparable features. There are no contracts with Entellium's products, which are sold only through resellter, so users pay for only the number of licenses they actually use each month. That is, if you have 20 users when you sign up, but three months later have only 15, you aren't contractually obligated to pay for 20 seats.

"We're the only vendor that operates like a service provider, charging people for what they use," Johnston said. "The others are still thinking in terms of software licensing."

Entellium is different from its competitors on several levels, including its modular format that enables companies to select and use "pieces" of its software tailored to their specific needs, but with workflow capabilities that go beyond basic routing and allows companies to execute their business in lock-step with internal processes as they define them. "This functionality is unmatched by any other vendor, and it's being offered at price points far below what is currently on the market," said Sheryl Kingstone, CRM program manager at the Yankee Group, a Boston-based research firm.

Going With the Workflow
Having come from a sales methodology background, Johnston takes great pride in Entellium's workflow capabilities built into all of its products. Each product contains built-in tools to systemize processes and ensure consistently high levels of performance in closing sales, servicing customers, and executing marketing campaigns.

"CRM is really the ability to standardize a process. You want to ensure that everyone in the organization is using the same sales methodology, following up using specific steps. That's workflow. Other products are basically client-server products on the Web, they're not workflow-driven," he said.

An added bonus for small businesses is the off-the-shelf capabilities for workflow built into the product, he said. "Not only are they getting the application, they're also getting a best-of-breed sales methodology."

For companies that have an established methodology in place, Entellium's products can be customized through a process engine that executes the business process as defined by customers. This engine tracks the state of the process at any given time and ensures that the correct sequence of process steps are followed as defined by the business.

Importantly, Entellium enables this to be customized by the non-technical business user who can define business processes in terms of defining work queues, thresholds, and the business rules of the process that are then automated and executed by the process engine.

"Entellium workflow can be used as a framework to provide specific 'template' processes which can be used as a start point to model a businesses. specific process needs. For example, we are able to provide off-the-shelf customer service processes for hi-tech industries, or pre-defined solution driven sales processes," said Johnston.

In addition, the embedded workflow allows Entellium to pursue a vertical market strategy that it otherwise could not, Johnston said. "If you don't have workflow embedded, how can you pursue a vertical market — what are you customizing?"

Having amassed a number of global customers, including Honda, Pan Pacific Hotels and Resorts, and Standard Chartered Bank, Entellium has now set its sights on entering the fray of the North American CRM market. By relocating its corporate headquarters to Seattle, the company can turn its focus toward growing its global customer base, with a new focus on North America.

The company will retain its research and development center in Malaysia, where lower development costs allow it to continue to offer competitive products at a lower price, Johnston said.

Adapted from ASPnews.com

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