CRM comes to front office

Customer relationship management (CRM) systems are "inconsistent" in most companies, according to US software developer Don Nelson.

Nelson, Great Plains Software's vice president, said companies wanting to develop CRM services faced difficulties integrating data due to different software systems used for different services within one company.

"Lots of companies have inconsistent customer service," he said. "Rachel, who's been with the company for 10 years and knows how everything works, is going to give very different service than Gail, who joined yesterday," he said.

Great Plains has joined with US CRM giant Siebel to provide custom-built solutions and information profiles to staff at all levels of network customer service in a product called Front Office, Nelson said.

Nelson said although the software operated from 147 different modules, customer/product data in Front Office would be integrated across entire company systems, providing all staff with "live" and uniformly comprehensive information.

Siebel's Australian country manager, Greg Harrison, said Front Office marked a step away from Siebel's previous enterprise oriented software.

He said because Front Office would be targeted primarily at small to medium businesses and the company had partnered with Great Plains to gain middle market credibility.

Nelson said Great Plains' North Sydney office would host training programs for Web developers and other customers using Front Office.

The first Australian company to purchase the product is Ryde-based biotechnology and DNA testing company Gradipore.

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