ACCPAC, a subsidiary of Computer Associates, this week launched a major upgrade to its customer relationship management (CRM) online subscription service. ACCPACcrm.com hosted service now features the major benefits of ACCPAC CRM on-premises version 5.6. New features include single-click integration with Microsoft Outlook, a friendlier user interface, and additional reporting options.
ACCPACcrm.com users now have complete, two-way synchronization with Outlook contacts, calendars and tasks, in addition to enhanced e-mail integration. This comprehensive integration upgrade also enables users to match up CRM data with portable devices such as mobile phones and PDAs that in turn synchronize with Outlook. In addition, users have the option to access their entire ACCPACcrm.com system from within the standard Microsoft Outlook interface.
The new version of ACCPACcrm.com includes a series of interface enhancements that add to the product's user-friendly approach by making it even easier and faster to work with customer records, and to set up new tasks and appointments. Fewer clicks mean faster navigation and greater accessibility to customer information.
With the product upgrade, ACCPACcrm.com now provides report creation in Adobe Acrobat PDF format, enabling greater control over output and "near-publishing" quality reports in color, with more control over where the content appears. In addition, new summary reports with single-click accessibility have been added for quick access to critical company information.
The product update underscores ACCPAC's investment in its "freedom of choice" strategy ACCPACcrm.com allows businesses to freely move from a hosted solution to an on-premises CRM setup, unlike salesforce.com and other online-only services. In this way, a smaller business can tap into all the benefits of a full-fledged CRM system, without the large cash outlay associated with an infrastructure build out. ACCPACcrm.com is available through authorized ACCPAC Solution Providers worldwide starting at $995 a year $17 per named user per month when purchased as part of a special package for five named users.
ACCPACcrm.com continues to offer several other key features that differentiate the product from rival's solutions. These features include local service and support through a worldwide channel of more than 800 ACCPAC CRM solution provider partners, bi-directional seamless integration with back office accounting systems, and affordable pricing.
According to Gartner research, in two years 50 percent of small- and mid-sized businesses that use CRM applications will have some integration capabilities with back office systems, such as sales processing and accounting, or even integration with front office applications, such as a public Web sites or private intranets. According to Wendy Close, CRM Research Director at Gartner, 25 percent of these businesses that have invested in CRM software will choose to deploy it through an application service provider to host and manage the system.
"CRM application service providers are gaining in popularity as more evidence of success has become available," said Close. "The combination of relatively low start-up costs, few IT resources required for start-up or maintenance, rapid deployment of less than 50 days average, ease-of-use, and deep enough functionality to meet the needs of many SMBs as well as divisions of some large enterprises, has proved to be the right mix for many clients."
In related news, ACCPAC's association of independent software vendors (ISVs) announced they have collectively made available more than 50 add-on applications for ACCPAC CRM. More than 70 ISVs have committed to providing industry-specific or customized ACCPAC CRM systems since the Development Partner Program was launched in Aug. 2003.
New ACCPAC CRM ISV applications include tour management, service operations management, student tracking systems, apparel solutions, professional services time and billing management, customer reward solutions, property management solutions, voice-based sales force systems, and performance management, among others.
InTime Solutions, a leading supplier of scheduling software for protective services personnel, such as police, fire, ambulance, 911, corrections, and health care workers, is among the development partners working to integrate its products with ACCPAC CRM.
Harry Dollard, InTime Solutions chief executive officer, said the ACCPAC freedom of choice proposition for supporting multiple databases, operating systems and deployment options is unique in the market.
"We automatically inherit those characteristics, giving us a powerful differentiator for our own products," Dollard said. "Add to that the Web and wireless capabilities of ACCPAC CRM and out-of-the box integration to ACCPAC accounting modules and we have a solution unlike anything delivered by the competition."
The ACCPACcrm.com upgrade is available immediately. Small business interested in taking a look at the program can do so through one of ACCPAC's authorized service providers. A 30-free trial is available, some terms and conditions apply.
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