Telstra teams up on CRM service

Hot on the heels of IBM and Optus announcing a partnership to deliver on demand software, Telstra this week muscled in on the act launching a CRM offering with Net Return.

The partnership will make Net Return’s NetCRM, the first ‘on-demand’ CRM service for medium to large businesses hosted locally by Telstra. The local hosting promises to see response times of NetCRM up to five times faster hosted by Telstra than with on-demand services hosted outside of Australia.

According to Net Return marketing director Nigel Turner, having a local host will allow the company to compete better with online players and allow Net Return to have better control over the Australian market.

“Both Telstra and we are interested in growing the online data market, and see lots of potential for growth,” Turner said.

In contrast, Optus and IBM’s new offering will allow businesses to acquire technology via the Internet without upfront costs, with apps available including virus scanning, content filtering and database services, but will not cover CRM services as yet.

“The offering does not include CRM at the moment, but we are in discussion with several local and international independent software vendors and are looking at ways in which we can enrich the online environment with these sort of offerings,” Reuben Young, IBM Global Services manager said.

Telstra spokesperson Graeme Salt, while not wishing to comment on the similarities and differences between the two partnerships announced in recent weeks, did stress that this new venture by Telstra was simply another example of applications hosted by the organization, such as the joint Telstra-Microsoft initiative last November which saw wireless and managed solutions linked to Telstra’s fixed and mobile networks.

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