VIEWS: 17 PAGES: 9 CATEGORY: Emerging Technologies POSTED ON: 10/19/2011
This white paper offers good news: an alternative approach exists, and it has been proven to solve business problems with the combined speed, flexibility, precision, and cost-effectiveness today’s enterprises require.
W H I T E P A P E R CRM+ An Innovative Approach to Agile Solution Development Executive Summary The high failure rate of enterprise software due to inadequate business fit has raised the stakes in the long-standing battle of “build vs. buy.” Companies torn between the insufficient flexibility of “out of the box” solutions and the high risk and cost of custom development find themselves paralyzed between the lesser of two evils. But in today’s fast-paced business environment, inertia is not an option. This white paper offers good news: an alternative approach exists, and it has been proven to solve business problems with the combined speed, flexibility, precision, and cost-effectiveness today’s enterprises require. The solution is called CRM+, but it’s not just about customer relationship management; it’s about the ability to deliver a full range of automation and software support for unique business processes across the enterprise. CRM+ leverages the power and malleability of the platforms underlying certain CRM systems to build customized applications that extend far beyond the confines of sales, marketing, and customer service. This white paper examines the CRM+ approach and explains how it can give companies a much-needed third option for developing applications that support extensive enterprise business processes and enable ongoing agility. Introduction Unique Business Processes; Now, more than ever, companies look to information Unique Challenges technology to alleviate their business problems. However, no off-the-shelf software solution can accommodate a The collective wisdom and best practices of an company’s unique needs with complete precision, nor enterprise lie in its business processes, which embody can one solution address all technology needs across all of the workflows, business rules, and standard the enterprise. As a result, larger organizations usually operating procedures that govern how the enterprise find themselves in one of two unpleasant situations. They executes its mission. For many leading organizations, either purchase a sprawling collection of different “best their business processes are as much a part of what of breed” software applications to address each of their makes them competitive and distinctive as the product business automation needs (and are stuck with resulting or service they offer. data silos and mammoth integration projects), or they Automating business processes with software resort to expensive, time-consuming custom development effectively has become a critical component of business in order to get exactly the solutions they want. success—a mechanism to streamline and accelerate As organizations struggle to find efficiencies and stay complex tasks, reduce redundancy, save time and competitive, it is becoming increasingly clear that they resources, and ultimately reduce costs. Moreover, need an alternative to these two inadequate options—one today’s corporate decision-makers rely on the data and that offers a favorable middle ground with greater flexibility metrics these applications provide to make strategic to solve business problems in a timely manner in the decisions for the enterprise. face of unrelenting business change. The ideal alternative But even though companies have been implementing would offer the best of both worlds, combining the enterprise software and automating processes for pre-built functionality, reliability, and speedy deployment decades, not all technology investments have delivered of out-of-the-box solutions with the precise business fit of the returns businesses expected. While some general- custom solutions—but without the cost and inherent risk purpose software packages (such as word processors and associated with custom software development. spreadsheets) have proven effective over the long term, The exciting news is that such a solution exists, and software supporting more complex and critical business it has been proven to solve business problems with processes has proven more challenging and high-risk. the combined speed, flexibility, precision, and cost- The problem is often attributable to inadequate business effectiveness today’s enterprises require. The concept fit between the software and the business process is called CRM+, but it’s being automated: the software simply doesn’t do quite not just about customer what the business needs it to, or if it did at the outset, CRM+ leverages the power relationship management. it does not have the flexibility to keep up with changing and malleability of some CRM It’s about the ability to deliver business needs over time. Despite vendor claims that systems’ underlying platforms a full range of automation their solutions can accommodate diverse business and software support for to provide customized business processes across processes, many enterprises discover that their processes applications far beyond the have unique elements and nuances that no automated the enterprise. CRM+ areas of sales, marketing, and solution entirely addresses “out of the box.” At that point, leverages the power and disillusioned CIOs are left to ponder the lesser of two customer service. malleability of the platforms evils: “Do we change the software to fit our processes, or underlying certain CRM do we change our processes to fit the software?” Either systems to provide not just option entails costs, compromise, and delays. And in exceptionally tailored CRM, but customized applications today’s fast-paced environment, it’s not unusual to find far beyond the areas of sales, marketing, and customer that by the time they have implemented either one of service. This white paper explores the issues facing CIOs these options, new business drivers have forced new and other enterprise stakeholders as they seek to solve changes to business processes—and the vicious circle their software challenges and examines how CRM+ can starts all over again. give their companies a much-needed third option for developing applications that support extensive enterprise In this volatile and value-driven business climate, business processes, offering both a close technology fit enterprises know they need to automate solutions to for today and the flexibility to adapt to tomorrow’s needs. their firm’s unique and evolving business problems, but the cost of doing so continues to limit their options, forcing them to walk a thin line between implementing software solutions that truly meet the firm’s needs and minimizing IT costs and the risk of failure. This conflict stifles innovation, ties up IT budgets, hinders business CDC Software | White Paper 1 agility, and prevents the enterprise from seizing emerging to go back and compensate for missing features and opportunities ahead of their competitors. inadequate flexibility. What corporate technology leaders need is a solution Most OOTB software vendors are in business to sell flexible enough to quickly and cost-effectively automate a generic solution to as many customers as they can, their unique business processes both today and as they rendering true optimization for any single customer evolve. Until now, this happy medium has eluded them. virtually impossible without custom work. But even if the The company has had to resort to one of two apparent company’s in-house developers know how to optimize options for implementing much-needed software solutions the code, they probably won’t be able to modify it, since for the firm: buy a more general solution off the shelf software vendors seldom allow anyone outside their or undertake a software development effort to build a own firm to access their proprietary APIs. The result? solution from scratch. Kludgy workarounds and an increased risk of introducing unintended bugs. Option #1: Purchasing In an effort to avoid the limitations of some OOTB software packages, some companies “go big,” purchasing the Off-the-Shelf Solutions commercial software packages with the greatest breadth Companies that lack the budgets or resources to engage from the biggest software vendors. Unfortunately, such in custom software development—or that simply want solutions are notoriously expensive, bloated, and time- a faster, easier solution—often turn to out-of-the-box consuming to implement and customize, which can again (OOTB) applications to meet their enterprise application offset the benefits of buying commercial software. In some needs: that is, pre-built, commercially available software cases, the cost and duration of customization rival those packages. Why reinvent the wheel when someone else of custom development. has already built it? Vendors of packaged systems Whether a company starts with a “big” commercial promise higher quality assurance, decreased risk, better package or a “smaller” OOTB solution, once the technical support, and an overall lower total cost of workarounds and customizations are in place and the ownership than a custom-built solution. functional requirements are reasonably satisfied, the Off-the-shelf software brings significant time-to-market enterprise can roll out the solution to end users and meet benefits, but unfortunately seldom proves to be a the needs of the business … for awhile. Then the inevitable panacea. A common industry rule of thumb states that business change overtakes the well-encapsulated off- OOTB software should meet at least 80% of a project’s the-shelf application. The conditions that made the OOTB required functionality to be considered for enterprise- application perfect for the firm when it was purchased wide roll-out.1 But many IT change, leaving business leaders with a very difficult executives who have invested decision to make. Should they upgrade to the latest Any savings realized from in such packaged solutions version, which often entails losing the customizations they have found that out-of-the-box have so painstakingly undertaken? Should they surround buying a pre-built solution functionality falls short of the purchased solution with more custom extensions and may end up cancelled out hope for the best? Or should they shelve it altogether, opt what they had expected. by the need to write, test, Though the company may for a new OOTB package, and go through the evaluation and deploy kludgy be able to install the solution and acquisition process all over again with the new workarounds, customizations, in its default configuration requirements in mind, only to predictably encounter the and integrations. quickly, tailoring the system same scenario yet again not far down the road? to the organization’s specific Off-the-shelf enterprise applications do offer business needs or integrating it advantages, not the least of which is the avoidance with the firm’s existing application infrastructure often of managing a long, often stressful custom software proves lengthy, problematic, and expensive. Any development effort. But any purchased OOTB application savings realized from buying a pre-built solution may offers generic functionality, not your required functionality. ultimately be cancelled out by the need to write, test, It automates generic business processes, not your and deploy kludgy workarounds, customizations, and business processes. More importantly, most OOTB integrations. Furthermore, companies often discover solutions are “point solutions.” They meet a certain set once their project is underway that they did not have a of needs at a discrete point in time, but they seldom complete grasp of their functionality needs at the point span more than a sub-set of enterprise needs and of system selection—but by this time it is usually too late areas. On the other side of the spectrum, in the case of “big” solutions, the software tries to be “all things to all people,” and thereby meets the exact needs of no one, while also being cumbersome and overly complex. 1. Ledeen, Kenneth S. (2003), Build vs. Buy: A Decision In addition, whether “big” or “small,” most packaged Paradigm for Information Technology Applications. http://www.nevo.com/our-knowledge/whitepapers/BuildVsBuy.pdf. CDC Software | White Paper 2 software solutions prove unworkable in the wake of These issues take a great deal of time to design, develop, business change; they simply fail to accommodate test, and deploy. To make matters worse, the code that the new mandate of enterprise automation in the 21st implements these functions operates behind the scenes; century: business agility. And even if all the stars align no one pays a great deal of attention to it until a problem and the packaged solution proves a perfect business fit, arises. These potential pitfall areas include security, it becomes yet another island of technology. Once it is scalability, error handling, workflow management, installed and configured, the IT department must integrate data access methods, and transaction management, it with their existing catalog of applications, usually at a among others. high cost and level of developer effort—the very problem selecting an OOTB solution promised to alleviate in the The custom coding effort that goes into writing plumbing first place. code is anything but trivial. Depending on the size of the application, firms spend as much as 35% of their development time just to handle these application Option #2: Building the infrastructure issues.2 And if the requirements change before the application goes live, as they often do, the Solution from Scratch underlying architecture must change to accommodate Companies that find OOTB solutions unable to meet their them, opening up the possibility of bugs that jeopardize specific business needs often put their requirements in the the project’s deadline. capable hands of their IT departments. Because enterprise Additional issues that plague custom development software can be so specialized projects include the need to build complex integrations and is so crucial to “get right,” to other software, such as e-mail systems; the need to Even when companies many companies are willing develop in-depth documentation to ensure that the system build their own custom to go great lengths to define, is intelligible to other developers, especially in the wake software, the net result analyze, model, and build the of IT turnover; and the need to anticipate and handle the software applications that will is typically still a point run their organizations. The upgrades, service packs, and even obsolescence of the solution that meets only a technologies with which the custom system is integrated firms that embark on this path sub-set of business needs or on which it relies. understand that modeling their at a certain point in time. unique business practices is Those custom development projects that do finish on critical to their success and time and on budget generally don’t stay that way for long. seek to build a solution that fits Even when companies build their own custom software, their business needs exactly. the net result is typically still a point solution that meets only a sub-set of business needs at a certain point in But developing software from the ground up is a very time. The breakneck pace of business change dictates costly and complex endeavor for the simple reason that modifications to even the most well-designed business the IT shop must typically build everything themselves. processes, which in turn drives changes to the software The back-end database. The framework. The web that automates them. Even companies that invest in rapid services. The user interface. The business logic. The application development tools are finding that they just infrastructure. Everything has to be hand-coded. And all of can’t respond to change rapidly enough. it must fit into the current company architectural standards and best practices. Not only does this level of effort require a great deal of skill, but also a great deal of time, expense, and risk, and therein lies the problem. Introducing CRM+, A Balanced Alternative Designing, developing, and deploying enterprise-grade software is a challenging process that takes a lot of The “buy vs. build” dilemma is nothing new. All IT time—something software development teams never departments have encountered it at one time or another. have enough of. Development managers must juggle Both options have their pros and cons, but neither time-to-market concerns with tight budgets, pressure from represents an ideal choice. Buying software off the shelf stakeholders, and complex functional requirements that solves business problems, just not necessarily any seem to be in a constant state of flux and scope creep. specific firm’s exact problems. Building apps from the This frequently results in projects that are buggy, poorly ground up gives companies exactly the solution they documented, and—worst of all—late. need, but they pay a big price for it, and the chances of failure are uncomfortably high. Thankfully, there is a third But software developers engaged in custom development option that offers the much-sought-after middle ground. must deal with more than the functional requirements. When writing software from scratch, they must also deal with the dreaded infrastructure issues and non-functional 2. Frankel, David (2003), Reflections on the MDA Productivity requirements (commonly referred to as “plumbing code”). Study, A Perspective for Executives. CDC Software | White Paper 3 CRM+ platforms provide a layer of pre-built, pre-tested, It’s called CRM+, and it offers both an OOTB solution and pre-integrated, and pre-optimized components—the the power to build and customize applications rapidly. same foundations the CRM application sits on top of It is important to distinguish between CRM and CRM+. and was built from—that a company’s development A CRM system is an application: a specific solution to team can use as a springboard to develop virtually any a specific set of problems centering around customer line-of-business application their firm needs. This gives relationship management (typically focused on marketing, companies a brand new paradigm, creating custom sales, and customer service). CRM+, on the other hand, automated solutions without custom development, as well is a development concept: specifically, the idea of using as a collection of much-needed benefits to the enterprise. the platforms that underlie some CRM systems as These benefits include time savings, cost savings, a powerful means to create additional software solutions. better business fit, greater strategic agility, higher user acceptance, and the simplicity that comes with having an This CRM+ approach is by no means a capability enterprise-wide software development platform. Let’s take supported by all CRM systems. The vast majority of a closer look at these CRM+ advantages. CRM applications are just that: applications. These CRM systems typically offer a certain Time Savings degree of configuration to With CRM+, firms not help companies superficially A strong CRM+ platform supplies all of the plumbing adapt the application to code that software developers spend so much time only get a flexible CRM coding and recoding. This frees them up to spend their their needs, but any deeper application, but also the time creating effective features, intuitive user interfaces, customization requires power to create effective in-depth custom coding, optimized forms, and streamlined workflows—the parts additional business often using arcane proprietary of the application end users actually use to accomplish applications that may have code. However, a select few their jobs and capture critical information every day. CRM vendors, recognizing the Furthermore, a CRM+ platform provides not just the nothing at all to do with a importance of close business plumbing code, but also the tools to more quickly and conventional CRM. easily build out the functional application areas and fit to CRM success, took a different approach to creating interfaces with little or no coding as well. IT teams can their CRM applications, building them upon a versatile focus on building the parts of the system that add clear purpose-built platform that permits great flexibility and user-facing value, not the invisible non-functional elements ease of customization in the resulting CRM application. that don’t. But this same platform layer is in no way restricted to Faster development is about more than just lightening building CRM applications; in fact, it contains all the the workload for developers; it’s about delivering needed core components—database structures, workflow solutions to the business at the fast pace it requires to tools, and form designers, just to name a few—that a stay competitive. Companies’ IT resources are limited, company requires to easily build solutions to satisfy and naturally most companies would rather see those other enterprise automation needs. So why stop at using resources applied where they can add the most value. these components to support only customer relationship Using a CRM+ platform, the company saves the time management processes? its development team would typically spend building out A CRM+ solution puts the platform’s easy application- the infrastructure and benefits from tools that help them building components in the hands of a company’s IT fulfill the functional requirements much more quickly and and business analyst teams, enabling them to build easily, putting the desired functionality into the end users’ out additional solutions and automate other business hands much faster. Furthermore, the ease of development processes on the same platform as their CRM solution. and deployment supports a more iterative approach to When firms invest in a CRM system that embodies solution development, enabling the applications team to this CRM+ approach, they not only get a flexible CRM roll out frequent upgrades and enhancements rather than application that can adapt easily to their unique and a single monolithic application in a “big-bang” release. changing needs over time, but also the power to create effective additional business applications that may have Cost Savings nothing at all to do with the functions you would find in a conventional CRM deployment. The platform essentially Due to the high cost of development work, firms that provides the “toolkit” that allows technical teams to can cut the turnaround time from the beginning of an create unique line-of-business solutions and workflows application project to the final deployment save a great from end to end. These solutions and workflows could deal of money. With CRM+, developers need no longer be of any kind: human resource management, proposal spend time reinventing the wheel on tedious, error-prone management, facility management—virtually anything the plumbing code. Because development teams can enterprise needs to automate. leverage the CRM+ platform tools, they have to build less functionality by hand, thereby decreasing IT costs. CDC Software | White Paper 4 Development is not the only area in which CRM+ adopters they implement today will be flexible enough to change save money. Because that code is already in place and without a great deal of cost and downtime. Essentially, they underpinning the CRM application, developers and testers want to “future-proof” their enterprise IT infrastructure. The no longer have to spend time tracking down and fixing astute executives that have adopted a CRM+ approach bugs in the business logic and data access tiers, thereby have found that it affords them just such an opportunity: saving money in the QA cycle as well. They also have the business fit today and business agility tomorrow. CRM application itself as a best-practice model to follow in developing additional solutions on the platform. Simplicity through Standardization By building a custom application on a CRM+ platform, Conventional application development has become companies get the exact functionality they want while so costly and complex that it has become a hindrance also saving the time and cost of evaluating, purchasing, to business agility, rather than the accelerator it implementing, customizing, and integrating a new was intended to be. Nonetheless, today’s corporate off-the-shelf software package. Furthermore, they bypass enterprises need extensive software support to remain the need for new skills training for their IT teams or to hire efficient and competitive. CRM+ simplifies the effort costly external consultants, and they eliminate an extra by providing a uniform layer of application architecture annual maintenance expense from the budget altogether. as a standard platform for multiple applications in the enterprise. By leveraging the functionality the CRM platform supplies out of the box, programmers don’t need Business Fit to learn low-level APIs; the platform handles these issues Shorter development cycles allow for more frequent for them. program enhancements, resulting in solutions that more effectively meet end-user needs. If release 1.0 only takes Additionally, CRM+ lowers IT costs by allowing corporate a few months to build and deploy, release 1.1 should developers to leverage a uniform toolset to build finish even faster. This benefit is especially valuable in applications. Having uniform tools results in a smaller environments in which there is learning curve for developers. They can get up to speed frequent business change with and on the road to developing high-quality solutions Firms thatcan release little or no advance warning. quickly, regardless of whether they are extending the solutions to help them functionality of the CRM application itself or building respond to new market More frequent releases also something entirely different. CRM+ platforms that provide enable better business fit. standard toolsets allow teams to meet new demands opportunities quickly enjoy When end users can give without learning new tools. a significant advantage over constructive feedback to competitors who can’t. the development team sooner, Building multiple solutions on a single platform also means developers can in turn produce fewer disparate systems to integrate. As any IT department new and better features more quickly and easily, giving knows, integration can be the most complex and time- the users exactly the functionality they need. And when consuming elements of any implementation project, but business drivers require a significant workflow change, without it, applications become impractical silos of data the development team can automate new workflows and functionality. Using a CRM+ approach, companies without the time-consuming task of having to refurbish can avoid this complexity and save considerable time and the underlying software infrastructure or write new code. money in deploying integrated solutions. Instead, teams can devote their full concentration to A final—but extremely important—benefit of building developing innovative iterations and enhancements, multiple solutions on a single platform is the positive providing the enterprise with continuous business impact on user adoption and acceptance. Because process improvement. applications built on a CRM+ platform use a common toolset, it is simple and natural to make them look and Strategic Business Agility function similarly and flow together seamlessly. Not only does this improve user productivity, it also accelerates The business benefit of faster turnaround time goes way user adoption by offering users an intuitive, familiar beyond mere cost savings. It enables the enterprise to interface and features that work as they expect them be more agile, which is crucial to gaining a strategic to. Training requirements are reduced or eliminated competitive advantage. Firms that can release solutions altogether, and companies avoid the user reluctance to help them respond to new market opportunities quickly that comes from learning a “new system”—instead, enjoy a significant advantage over competitors who can’t. new functionality can be positioned as extensions and Many business leaders know they need software enhancements to the CRM system and other existing applications to solve the business problems they have functionality built on the CRM+ platform. Since user today. But they also know that business change is adoption is the true determinant of any application’s inevitable, so they want to make sure that the applications success, the positive impact of CRM+ on user CDC Software | White Paper 5 acceptance is perhaps the most compelling benefit of platform capabilities of their applications, their solutions them all. were simply never designed to be platforms and are ultimately severely limited by this fact. A platform can be used to create almost any application, but attempts The Pivotal Platform: to reverse-engineer a platform from an application are invariably illogical and ineffective. Because the Pivotal CRM+ in Action Platform was designed first and foremost as a platform, it The quintessential CRM+ solution, CDC Software’s Pivotal was engineered to serve as a flexible foundation for any Platform is the system of choice for companies looking application running any business process, making it an to create applications tailored to their unique business indispensable tool for today’s demand-driven IT teams. processes at a fraction of the time and cost of traditional While the Pivotal Platform is not the only kind of platform software development methods. Engineered with business or development toolkit available to companies looking to change in mind, the Pivotal Platform offers unparalleled obtain highly customized CRM or to build other custom flexibility and customizability. Applications that formerly took applications, it offers numerous advantages over both years to build now can be delivered in a matter of weeks commercially available development environments or a few months, allowing companies to seize market and “big” enterprise software suites that also offer opportunities and react to business change with agility. customization tools. First, the Pivotal Platform’s .NET foundations mean development teams don’t need to learn Built on the Microsoft .NET proprietary languages and systems just to be able to work technology stack, the Pivotal with the platform. Secondly, its flexibility and ease of use The Pivotal Platform’s Platform adds a critical layer eclipse those of big enterprise software platforms, enabling between its .NET foundations powerful metadata-driven and the application tier: a faster, easier customization and application development WYSIWYG ("what you see is with fewer upgrade woes at a much lower total cost of layer of pre-built data access ownership than competing solutions. what you get") model makes methods, security, and user the application building and interface rules, as well as customization process rapid graphical tools that enable An Agility Multiplier developers to easily construct Using the Pivotal Platform, corporate developers can and intuitive. tables, workflows, business create custom applications without having to write the logic, forms, navigation, and tedious, error-prone plumbing code and logic that has more with a minimum of effort and no custom coding traditionally slowed them down—or, if they wish, without required—though for .NET programmers who prefer writing any code at all. They can easily add new tables, to be “hands on” with the code, this is also always an forms, and logic to quickly create entire new applications option. Furthermore, the Pivotal Platform offers pre-built using a graphical toolkit. And because the Pivotal integrations to the Microsoft productivity tools relied upon Platform is built on Microsoft .NET—a ubiquitous industry by the majority of organizations worldwide—Outlook, standard—developers don’t need to learn entire new the Office suite, and SharePoint—and embeds Microsoft skills and languages or receive extensive training; they Visual Studio, a tool of choice for today’s developers, can get up to speed quickly and easily. For the company, right within the platform. This saves developers the effort this also makes finding developers who can work with the of building these must-have integrations into any other system much easier and more cost-effective: no obscure application built on the platform. The Pivotal Platform’s skill-sets required. Using the Pivotal Platform, all of the powerful metadata-driven WYSIWYG (“what you see is steps for developing a new application—building tables, what you get”) model makes the application building and adding fields, defining relationships, setting security, customization process rapid and intuitive. The platform creating forms—can be performed quickly and easily solution provides out-of-the-box form templates with logic without time-consuming custom coding. Meanwhile, any and rules built in, with the ability to easily attach additional hands-on coding developers do want to perform within logic and workflow. the platform can be applied to activities that deliver higher value to the business. The Pivotal Platform exposes all of the functionality of the award-winning Pivotal CRM application it undergirds and Using the Microsoft Visual Studio forms designer gives it its renowned flexibility and ease of customization. embedded within the Pivotal Platform, teams can simply But what makes the Pivotal Platform so unique is that draw their forms the way they want them and use the despite its connection to this customer relationship Pivotal Toolkit to easily build the infrastructure and management solution, the Pivotal Platform was initially functionality behind them. This translates into tremendous conceived and constructed as a full application time savings, both in terms of development and testing. development platform, not just the structure beneath In this way, the Pivotal Platform multiples development a CRM solution. The implications of this are huge. teams’ agility, enabling them to fulfill new requirements, While several competing CRM vendors promote the build new applications, and adapt to changing needs CDC Software | White Paper 6 quickly and cost-effectively. This gives them the freedom requirements precisely within the system or building entire to create applications for any line of business, while new applications. saving their firms a great deal of time and money. For this reason, perhaps the best testament to the The Pivotal Platform achieves this exceptional resilience success of the CRM+ approach and the power of the with an adaptable layer of business metadata. This sturdy Pivotal Platform is the proven success of the Pivotal CRM yet flexible tier of logic separates data from business customer base in applying this strategy. Long before they rules, making it easy to customize a solution to match ever heard the term “CRM+” (or “xRM,” as this concept even the most distinctive of business processes. It is this is called by some vendors), forward-thinking Pivotal CRM layer of technological cartilage that gives the enterprise customers were taking advantage of the Pivotal Platform true architectural flexibility. Following this CRM+ approach and Toolkit to create their own custom solutions and roll using the Pivotal Platform, the enterprise can adapt its out innovative integrated IT infrastructures within their firms. software tools to business change in any way necessary. Change is what the Pivotal Platform was built for. Here are just a few examples of solutions built on the Pivotal Platform: Pre-integration with Microsoft Tools • A New Zealand utility company built an application to handle hazardous waste disposal. Above and beyond its high flexibility and utility, the Pivotal Platform comes pre-integrated with the office productivity • A UK building-supply company created an application tools used by almost every enterprise: Microsoft Outlook, to manage the design, ordering, and installation of the full Microsoft Office Suite, and Microsoft SharePoint, kitchens and bathrooms. as well as Microsoft Visual Studio. This spares companies • A food and beverage manufacturer built a solution to the complexity of integrating these applications and handle vendor management along with all procurement enables them to easily embed these tools into custom and related activities. end-user applications and workflows built using the Pivotal Platform, allowing users to access e-mail, • A radio advertising wholesaler created their entire contacts, calendars, and task lists without ever leaving the enterprise application catalog—sales, marketing, CRM+ application. customer service, ERP, human resources, and finance—all on the Pivotal Platform. Additionally, users of Word, As this list illustrates, the potential of the Pivotal Platform Excel, and other Office extends far beyond customer relationship management. tools can perform in-context Only the Pivotal Platform was In fact, numerous companies that have embraced the look-ups of CRM+ application actually built as a platform data directly within the Pivotal Platform and the CRM+ concept say Pivotal CRM from the outset, giving it is the last software they’ll ever buy, because it can be Office application simply used to solve almost any business problem. As one long- a superior flexibility and by right-clicking on a piece standing CDC Software customer said of her company’s intuitive toolkit with which of data; no need to switch IT strategy, “If the business issue is one that touches or back and forth between a to build and customize faces the customer, we’ll build it into Pivotal; no questions range of applications to find applications, unmatched by the data they need. The net asked. No new software acquisitions.” any other CRM platform. result is a “sticky” application users enjoy using. They can continue working with all Conclusion the applications they are already familiar with while still Today’s enterprises need software to support and benefiting from all the advantages of the custom process- automate their unique business processes. However, specific business application built upon the Pivotal the two primary options for acquiring it leave a great Platform. deal to be desired. Packaged out-of-the-box software provides the easiest solution, but it rarely provides the close business fit large corporations require. On the other A Proven Approach hand, writing enterprise-grade software in-house can CDC Software’s Pivotal CRM has long had the reputation give firms the exact functionality they want, but at a high of being the most flexible CRM solution on the market, price, a slow pace, and a significant risk of failure. And easy to customize and adapt over time. The secret to both options typically fall short when it comes to adapting this flexibility is the Pivotal Platform and its development rapidly and cost-effectively to evolving business needs. toolkit, which enable Pivotal CRM customers to accomplish virtually anything they want to with the system, CRM+ is the answer to this dilemma. Using the whether this entails modeling unique CRM processes and functionality already built into the platform underlying certain CRM systems, companies can quickly and CDC Software | White Paper 7 inexpensively create applications that address their companies to achieve the lowest possible total cost of specific business needs and automate their unique ownership for both CRM implementations and additional processes without having to develop the costly and solution development. Furthermore, its embedding of tedious infrastructure components required by the Microsoft solutions, including Microsoft Outlook and average software development lifecycle. Furthermore, SharePoint, not only saves the company from having to they can take advantage of this power and flexibility over do these common (but often troublesome) integrations, time to more rapidly accommodate new and changing but also increases user adoption by enabling users to requirements, enhancing business agility and fueling work with the familiar tools they already know and rely innovation. upon to perform their daily tasks. While a handful of CRM applications claim to have the The power of the Pivotal Platform has been proven by ability to support a CRM+ development approach, only the success of countless companies that have used it the Pivotal Platform on which CDC Software’s Pivotal to create diverse custom enterprise applications rapidly CRM was developed was actually built as a platform and at a low cost, pre-integrated with each other and from the outset, giving it a superior flexibility and intuitive with Microsoft Outlook, Office, and SharePoint. This toolkit with which to build and customize applications, combination of unparalleled capabilities and proven unmatched by any other CRM platform. This enables success makes the Pivotal Platform from CDC Software the ideal solution for companies looking for much more than just a CRM system, giving them the ability to be agile, competitive, and innovative in meeting their unique software needs today and in the future. Discover the Power of CRM+ For more information and a complete list of our worldwide offices, please visit www.PivotalCRM.com. Copyright © CDC Software 2010. All rights reserved. The CDC Software logo and Pivotal CRM logo are registered trademarks and/or trademarks of CDC Software.
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