PivotalCRM - Whitepaper CRM Plus by PivotalCRM


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									                                                                                                      W H I T E
                                                                                                      P A P E R
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.

                                                                                                                        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
             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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