A Vancouver company is hoping to take advantage of the increasing demand from small and mid-sized companies for customer relationship management software.
Maximizer Software Inc., whose Windows-based Maxi-mizer Enterprise 8.0 was released earlier in the year, says it’s looking to increase its
channel partners in Canada and the U.S.
“”We want to grow our Solution Providers (VARs who do integration and support) by 15 to 20 per cent in Canada,”” said Peter Callaghan, the company’s vice-president of sales and marketing.
With about 25 solution providers already here, the company wants to plug holes in Manitoba and Sask-atchewan.
It’s also looking south, where it has only 20 solution providers. That will double in the next 12 months, he predicted, saying Maximizer is in discussions with major American distributors to carry the Enter-prise product.
However, an industry analyst said the company is facing tough competition not only from other software companies’ client-server applications but from application service pro-viders (ASPs) as well.
“”The overall (SMB) market is hot and growing,”” admitted Beth Eisenfeld, research vice-president for the CRM practice of Gartner Inc.
In North America the market is expected to grow from US$745 million in 2002 to US$966 million in 2007, a compound growth rate of 5.5 per cent.
However, she cautioned that Maximizer Enterprise faces limitations in its potential market because it lacks all the functionality of larger applications.
“”I think it’s losing headway to folks like salesforce.com and Microsoft,”” she said in an interview.
The ASP market is “”red-hot”” she said, with competition from salesforce.com, Siebel, Accpac and others.
In Gartner’s eyes, in fact, Maximizer isn’t on the radar screen. By its calculations the small business CRM market (for companies with fewer than 100 employees) is lead by British-based Sage Group (whose Best Software division recently bought Accpac Inter-national) with 25 per cent, Siebel with 18 per cent, FrontRange Solution’s Gold Mine with 12 per cent and salesforce.com with 9 per cent.
The mid-market (up to 1,1000 employees) is led by Siebel with 22 per cent, SAP with 13 per cent, and Sage with six per cent.
New ASP version
FrontRange is about to add to its arsenal with an ASP version of Gold Mine, which will be sold through its channel.
The option is being sought by companies with small IT departments, or those who want a CRM application up and running fast, said Kevin Smith, FrontRange’s vice-president of products.
“”If we sell the ASP to just one to two per cent of our customers as significant new revenue,”” he said.
Although ASP pricing hasn’t been set yet, he said VARs will see margins similar to the 30-to-40 points the are getting on Gold Mine software.
Along with new modules to be added this year to the client-server version of Gold Mine the company sees this as a “”great opportunity to take market share.””
Meanwhile, many vendors are looking over their shoulders at Microsoft and its year-old CRM product.
Although in single digits in market share, Eisenfeld said it will be the fifth biggest vendor by the end of next year. By 2006 it will be appealing to mid-sized companies, it believes.
That suits Callaghan, whose company is a Microsoft partner, and believes Maximizer is more suited for smaller firms.