Axonom’s PowerTrak V6.0 CRM technology places the company firmly within the .NET mid-tier marketplace. Designed to operate on top of Microsoft’s CRM platform, PowerTrak addresses three vertical sectors: wealth management, nonprofit and association management, and high-tech.
“Microsoft will add a nice layer of CRM, which will be a big change for the industry,” Axonom chief executive Clark Dircz told CRM Buyer Magazine. “But a lot of people have talked about adding functionality to that platform. We think the .NET capability will be virtually a requirement for companies running Microsoft Office.”
Although Axonom is barely a year old, it is no stranger to CRM or Microsoft. PowerTrak is part of the Worldtrak CRM lineup, which the startup acquired last year.
“There’s been a perception in the past that we are a niche player. But we’ve had a full enterprise solution based on Microsoft Outlook and Microsoft Web technologies for a long time,” Dircz said.
Rich in Features
Companies like Axonom are taking the technology a step further by adopting .NET, because “the mid-market is more Microsoft-centric,” Yankee Group program manager Sheryl Kingstone told CRM Buyer. “Companies are keeping CRM solutions simplistic so they can increase user adoption.”
Axonom’s ace in the hole, however, is tying its rich CRM features — such as advanced marketing for multichannel sales, technical case management, e-commerce, partner portals and call-center capabilities — to Microsoft CRM, Dircz said.
Other features include the ability to consolidate views of clients and portfolios, provide tools to manage complex extended relationships, manage renewals, identify the most profitable customers, integrate back-office and agency systems and provide Web-based self-service.
“We’re ready with a full lineup. We’re not talking about adding bits and pieces over the next five years,” Dircz said.
As mounting costs and lean margins put pressure on companies to improve returns on investment, small and mid-size businesses are looking for a strong CRM foundation at reasonable cost. The new offering increases each Microsoft license by less than US$500, and the add-on modules average $5,000 each, according to Dircz.
A number of mid-market CRM vendors, including FrontRange, also plan to roll out CRM products compatible with .NET. “I haven’t seen many yet,” Karen Smith, research director at Aberdeen Group told CRM Buyer. “But going forward, we’ll see more competition. It will change the competitive landscape.”
Competition will come from CRM players on the .NET track and from Microsoft itself. Although the IT giant does not have advanced-marketing, partner-portal or call-center capabilities, it will catch up, Kingston said. “Microsoft already has e-commerce,” she added.
“Companies like Axonom and FrontRange should focus on the verticals they have now and go deep in that,” Smith advised. “If they spread themselves too thin, they won’t look like they’ve penetrated any verticals successfully. Right now, Microsoft is not creating a solution in a vertical environment.”