The best CRM Software on the market
Although many perceive the term ‘CRM’ as old school, it’s clear that there is a bright future ahead for those willing to focus on this widely recognised and long-used strategy. Implementing the right software can bring new ways for organisations to communicate, operate and strategise to manage not just their customers, which are undeniably a firm’s most valuable asset, but also staff and prospects.
This is something which, now more than ever, is vital given the circumstances of today's business environment. Despite many CRM technology projects being deferred or cancelled during the economic crisis, research has shown that organisations are getting back on board with CRM in an attempt to improve the customer management capabilities that were perhaps put on the backburner.
So if you’re ready to capitalise on the upturn and are looking to follow in the footsteps of Africa’s best-run companies, then read on for our top three and track more leads, close more deals, retain and attract more customers and save costs...
SAP CRM customers benefit from advanced technology when executing their CRM strategies, including integrated business processes across all customer touch points, including front and back-office; multiple industry specific capabilities; enterprise services; social media technology integration and support; leading loyalty management capabilities; and flexible mobility platforms, to name a few. SAP CRM offers these functions in a manner that is easy to implement with Rapid Deployment Solutions and consulting packages. This leads to quick value realisation and investment payback, and has proven results from the varied customers in South Africa that attest to this.
However, strong functionality is no good if it is not presented in a user-friendly manner. User adoption is a major obstacle in CRM project success. SAP CRM provides a Web 2.0 based user interface engineered with the business user in mind, making the complex simple.
In South Africa, companies are using SAP CRM with success in areas such as marketing and campaign management; key account management and telesales; customer service centres and IT help desks; call centre infrastructure with automated voice services; shared service processes in areas of human resources and finance; public sector service delivery; and customer value analysis and strategy alignment. SAP’s customer base spans all major industries in South Africa, with a key focus on public sector, retail, and consumer goods, mining and automotive.
Microsoft Dynamics CRM
As a trusted household name, Microsoft’s CRM tools promise to strengthen your customer loyalty, deliver integrated customer campaigns and empower your sales, marketing and customer service teams to work together to shorten sales cycles and increase revenue.
As an obvious but highly valuable unique selling point, it provides an intuitive interface that sits comfortably within applications that employees will almost certainly already be familiar with. Sales and service representatives can work from within Microsoft Outlook to access comprehensive customer or incident histories, view product and sales literature, track customer related tasks and appointments, and manage contacts. And since Microsoft Dynamics CRM works seamlessly with Outlook, employees can manage customer interactions quickly and efficiently. A Microsoft Dynamics CRM user can take a received email from a prospect, promote the email to a customer record, and use pre-configured workflow rules to schedule future interactions with this prospect – all without ever leaving the Outlook interface.
William Band, VP and principal analyst, Forrester Research, said that Microsoft Dynamics CRM “shines by offering flexibility for large and midsized organizations”. As a result, Microsoft is pursuing its strategy for penetrating the CRM market by offering buyers the ‘Power of Choice’ so that organisations can choose how to deploy, pay, and use the application.
Fusion’s CRM software package and platform is unique to the South African market, as it is infinitely adaptable to allow a company to maximise the potential of its CRM data. Fusion CRM is an enterprise system that has the capacity to span multiple departments within an organisation, allowing limited or unlimited access depending on policy. With security as an integral part of the system, it facilitates the housing of all customer data in one central repository, providing better management of this key resource to simplify marketing and sales processes and perform tasks quicker.
It also allows for sharing of resources, such as calendars, appointments, scheduling, leave calendars and activity reports, to name a few. And for marketing and communication purposes, Fusion CRM provides easy-to-use engines for Mass Mailers, Mass SMS’s, reporting tools, full audit trail, search facilities, exporting and printing tools, as well as full Outlook integration.
Aside from these business-enhancing features, the core to Fusion Software’s product offerings and development is the ability to integrate its software with existing business applications, such as Pastel and other accounting packages, to facilitate the easy access of information. Fusion CRM is used by clients as the front end that seamlessly integrates with other applications to provide a single, easy-to-use point of entry.
GfK and VMware: Innovating together on hybrid cloud
GfK has been the global leader in data and analytics for more than 85 years, supplying its clients with optimised decision inputs.
In its capacity as a strategic and technical partner, VMware has been walking GfK along its digital transformation path for over a decade.
“We are a demanding and singularly dynamic customer, which is why a close partnership with VMware is integral to the success of everyone involved,” said Joerg Hesselink, Global Head of Infrastructure, GfK IT Services.
Four years ago, the Nuremberg-based researcher expanded its on-premises infrastructure by introducing VMware vRealize Automation. In doing so, it laid a solid foundation, resulting in a self-service hybrid-cloud environment.
By expanding on the basis of VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Foundation with vRealize Cloud Management, GfK has given itself a secure infrastructure and reliable operations by efficiently operating processes, policies, people and tools in both private and public cloud environments.
One important step for GfK involved migrating from multiple cloud providers to just a single one. The team chose VMware.
“VMware is the market leader for on-premises virtualisation and hybrid-cloud solutions, so it was only logical to tackle the next project for the future together,” says Hesselink.
Migration to the VMware-based environment was integrated into existing hardware simply and smoothly in April 2020. Going forward, GfK’s new hybrid cloud model will establish a harmonised core system complete with VMware Cloud on AWS, VMware Cloud Foundation with vRealize Cloud Management and a volume rising from an initial 500 VMs to a total of 4,000 VMs.
“We are modernising, protecting and scaling our applications with the world’s leading hybrid cloud solution: VMware Cloud on AWS, following VMware on Google Cloud Platform,” adds Hesselink.
The hybrid cloud-based infrastructure also empowers GfK to respond to new and future projects with astonishing agility: Resources can now be shifted quickly and easily from the private to the public cloud – without modifying the nature of interaction with the environment.
The gfknewron project is a good example – the company’s latest AI-powered product is based exclusively on public cloud technology. The consistency guaranteed by VMware Cloud on AWS eases the burden on both regular staff and the IT team. Better still, since the teams are already familiar with the VMware environment, the learning curve for upskilling is short.
One very important factor for the GfK was that VMware Cloud on AWS constituted an investment in future-proof technology that will stay relevant.
“The new cloud-based infrastructure comprising VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Foundation forges a successful link between on-premises and cloud-based solutions,” says Hesselink. “That in turn enables GfK to efficiently develop its own modern applications and solutions.
“In market research, everything is data-driven. So, we need the best technological basis to efficiently process large volumes of data and consistently distill them into logical insights that genuinely benefit the client.
“We transform data and information into actionable knowledge that serves as a sustainable driver of business growth. VMware Cloud on AWS is an investment in a platform that helps us be well prepared for whatever the future may hold.”