CRM Vendors Weigh Benefits of ASP Model

As some AS/400 ISV’s continue to debate where they fit into the newly emerging ASP model, others are taking a different approach, choosing to Web-enable their applications to sell to both enterprises and ASPs.

One of those companies taking this approach is Touchtone Corp. (Costa Mesa, Calif.), which recently introduced Wintouch eCRM, a Java-based enterprise or ASP Web-enabled solution.

“We think the ASP model is growing and is an established part of the business,” says Bruce Friesen, marketing manager, Touchtone Corp. “Now, we have a solution that lends itself to that environment.”

Wintouch eCRM is composed of applications for Custom Care, Sales Force Automation (SFA) and Marketing Automation (MA). Custom Care provides all customer, contact and activity information, with integrated e-mail, chat, help desk and customer applications. SFA facilitates and automates processes and workflow in the sales cycle. MA provides solutions for lead distribution and marketing campaign management.

According to Friesen, the decision to support both end users and ASPs was quite simple. “We’re serving the end users and the ASP market is one way to do that,” he says. Corporations who want to buy eCRM directly from Touchtone must have the ability to host the application, or they can have it hosted by an ISP.

Because eCRM is an AS/400-specific product, Touchtone will only sell to ASPs that are using AS/400s as one of their platforms. If a customer wants eCRM delivered through the ASP model, Touchtone will assist them. “We want to develop business partners, implementation partners and we are pursuing ASPs,” says Friesen.

Within all three applications, Wintouch eCRM incorporates features such as a Web-based interface, search capabilities, GUI transformation, data customization flexibility, and secure access and data.

“Wintouch’s search capabilities provide extensive global and user level search capabilities allowing virtually any combination of data fields to be selected for specific Boolean searches,” says Pat Flynn, president of Touchtone. “All database fields are determined, grouped, organized, presented and named to meet the custom needs of each installation.”

Although some ISVs are choosing not to Web-enable their applications, Friesen is confident Touchtone is making the right decision. “CRM companies have to make the decision whether they want to serve one market or both markets,” he says. “We really feel the market is moving to the Web.”

Another company taking a similar approach is Magic Software (Irvine, Calif.) which will roll out four different applications as part of its newly formed CRM suite of Web-based products.

Magic has already introduced the first application, Magic eService, a Web-based solution that allows companies to manage their service departments as profit centers. Magic eContact will soon follow, and Magic eSales and Magic eCapture are scheduled for release sometime in the third quarter of 2000.

Like Touchtone, Magic is targeting both ASPs and corporations who have the ability to host applications. “We talked to a lot of people and did research and found out customers prefer the Web approach,” says Katharine Hanley, director of public relations and investor relations, Magic Software. “We’re looking at partnerships with ASPs as a way to improve the penetration of our product.”

Some of the features of Magic eService include: comprehensive workflow of technical or specialized service through Web and e-mail; personalized customer service, based upon service contracts and customer characteristics; Web-based self-service for customers; online tracking of all customer interactions; and service management tools that allow the service department to be managed as a profit or cost center.

Unlike Touchtone, Magic’s products are platform independent, so they can also sell to ASPs who are using servers other than AS/400s to run the applications.

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    Related Information:

  • Touchtone Corp. (new window)
  • Wintouch Overview (new window)
  • Magic Software (new window)