Best Software has introduced version 6.0 of SalesLogix, which includes a new tiered architecture and enhanced features designed to make life easier for its primary user base — sales reps.
“What we have done is implement a new data engine that facilitates .NET capability and compatibility with other systems,” said Tim Fargo, SalesLogix general manager. “It not only changes the scalability of SalesLogix,” he told CRM Buyer Magazine, “but invites close coupling with other applications that would be running in the back office.”
SalesLogix 6.0 is based on a three-tiered architecture that facilitates data integration with any applications that support Microsoft ADO (ActiveX Data Objects) data access, such as Visual Basic, Visual Studio and .NET, he explained.
Not that such integration is easily accomplished. “Vendors talk about integration and being able to do it well, but that is not always the case,” Aberdeen Group research director Karen Smith told CRM Buyer. However, it seems that SalesLogix is moving closer to this ideal with version 6.0. “Their vision is to offer real-time back-office account management and data migration between SalesLogix and some of the other databases in the Best Software family,” Smith said.
Fargo holds up ACT!’s 10,000-user base as one of SalesLogix’s competitive advantages. “We have a wonderful user interface that creates quite a bit of loyalty and passion among ACT! users,” he said.
However, ACT! is largely a contact management application that is best suited for home offices and very small businesses — a group unlikely to need to migrate to a more full-bodied CRM application.
But Fargo pointed out that some 10 percent of SalesLogix customers are ACT! Corporate-licensed customers that needed to migrate to a CRM application.
Version 6 includes a number of improvements that make the application more user friendly, including tighter integration with Microsoft Office, mail merge improvements, enhanced Web client functionality, improved support for ticket workflow and a new autosync feature.
The new version represents a real effort to address the issues that plague sales reps the most, AMR Research analyst Joanie Rufo told CRM Buyer. “Autosync, mail merge, enhanced integration with Microsoft Outlook tools — these are the things that sales reps really need. They might sound minor, but they represent real concerns that affect sales reps on a day-to-day basis.”
SalesLogix competitors include FrontRange, Epicor and Firstwave, and — when it is released — Microsoft CRM. Indeed, many say SalesLogix initially will be the most affected when Microsoft finally rolls out its CRM app.
On the other hand, “SalesLogix has done a good job of selling through its partner and VAR channels,” Smith noted. Maintaining those ties will be key for SalesLogix once Microsoft enters the industry.
Down the road, Microsoft’s subsequent releases could present a challenge for SalesLogix, but Rufo said she believes the software monolith’s threat is overblown at this juncture. “SalesLogix will be a much more feature-rich application compared to Microsoft CRM’s first release,” she noted.