One of the UK's largest hosted CRM providers, Really Simple Systems, has selected Sydney to establish its first overseas office.
The hosted CRM offering is part a broader Software as a Service (SaaS) trend with the Australian market growing at a compound annual growth rate of 65 per cent and is set to top $506 million by 2010, according to Springboard Research.
Really Simple Systems Australia director, Simon Hubbard, described Australia as a natural choice. Hubbard was previously Asia Pacific director at Systems Union.
"Web-based CRM is taking off worldwide and we see major demand in Australia for a CRM system that focuses on ease of use as a differentiator," he said.
The company's CEO, John Paterson, said Australia's location and time zone makes it the logical place to service business in the Asia Pacific.
Really Simple Systems has already signed its first customer, Sydney-based Agility Consulting.
The consulting firm's sales director, Bill Patrick, said Agility was growing rapidly therefore it required a CRM system to consolidate all of its data held in spreadsheets.
"We also wanted to automate the sales forecasting process and use all the sales data for marketing campaigns," Patrick said.
"We had allowed a couple of months to get a CRM system up and running but Really Simple Systems was installed and setup in days."
The hosted offering is aimed at the SME market and the opening of a new office in Sydney follows a number of wins in the CRM arena in recent months.
For example, Melbourne AFL team, the Western Bulldogs,is utilizing a Software as a Service (SaaS) business model "to avoid being stuck with an outdated CRM system five years down the track."
The club's general manager of business development and strategy, Bruce Kaider, said SaaS means the IT team can avoid upgrades while system updates happen at the backend and are immediately available to users.
The club is using Salesforce.com to track and manage a database of more than 14,000 contacts.
Other providers includeTPP Internet which announced its hosted Microsoft Exchange 2007 service for as little as $20 per mailbox per month.
TPP Internet provides business grade e-mail, shared calendars, tasks and contacts all automatically synchronised with desktops, PDAs, smart phones and mobile laptops - without investing in infrastructure.
Springboard Research ANZ country manager, Phil Hassey, said escalating IT expenditures and increasingly complicated IT systems, are even forcing enterprises to adopt the SaaS alternative.
"Enterprises have found a spin-off benefit with the opportunity to cut down on expensive in-house or outsourced IT personnel, compared to the traditional software model where implementation and software upgrades cost more money and time," Hassey said.