Talisma attempts to rev CRM engine
Power and features are there, but interface and lack of integration support holds back Talisma 6.0
Talisma recently released Version 6.0 of its multichannel CRM suite, updating its base for managing customer relationship basics, including SFA, marketing, and customer service interactions.
New features such as collaborative chat allow service reps to remotely control a user’s browser, potentially improving sales by guiding users to the finish line. Administration is enhanced thanks to delegated responsibilities — good for distributed team environments.
The new architectural improvements, namely moving to a three-tier foundation, may help rev Talisma’s transactional capacity, but several issues raise flags. Talisma v6.0 offers limited options for platform deployment, and I found its interface clumsy — it delivered little beyond general data tables to promote real-time insight.
The interface I used for this hosted evaluation also relied on a Citrix back end that, when compared with thin-client solutions in use by companies such as ACCPAC, is hardly revolutionary. With its hosted solution price starting at nearly twice that of Salesforce.com, Talisma may drive small and midsize businesses to take budgetary solace elsewhere.
But Talisma is not without merit; with the available in-house version, which sports an identical feature set, companies can overcome out-of-the-box deficiencies with custom programming. With its highly customizable data framework, impressive provisions for logic-driven workflow, and integrated CTI support, Talisma v6.0 is still a fine starting point for larger companies searching for a solid engine from which to jump-start a custom CRM build out.
Microsoft all over
With the Windows Server, SQL, and Excel underpinnings to its client-side browser and Outlook requirements, Talisma locks you into a Microsoft foundation. Even capabilities such as calendaring and appointments require Outlook because Talisma has no built-in interface of its own for these features.
The WAN-based client that is used to deliver the hosted version of Talisma spawned a Citrix terminal session for data delivery. This client improves on its browser-based predecessor, but it still demands additional licensing and support consideration from prospective customers. Talisma says it also has a DCOM (Distributed COM) over HTTPS PC client.
That said, it took minimal effort to get started. After logging in and receiving the client push -- a benefit to administering change management efforts in large groups -- I was up and running.
I found Talisma’s highly customizable work spaces and profiles useful in tailoring data to employees’ roles and responsibilities. The opportunity for customizing views extends also to its back-end data framework, which can be amended to fit your company’s requirements.
Administrative functions, such as defining user rights and team assignments, are controlled with fine granularity, although setup was tedious in the separate, browser-based console. I did like the ability to categorize a worker’s skill set, making it easily searchable and accessible to customer service reps.