Applications

CRM didn’t rise to the top, but Web services management fared well

CRM vendors keep revving their products, but the numbers don’t seem to add up. With the possible exception of SalesLogix, we haven’t seen a first-rate SFA or customer-service app since we reviewed Salesforce.com last December. We’ll see what our roundup of hosted CRM solutions brings in January. One product category that did heat up in 2004 was Web services management, with offerings from Actional, Grand Central, Infravio, and others scoring high marks despite differing approaches.

On the collaboration software front, traditional platform powerhouses Lotus, Microsoft, and Novell were mostly quiet, although we did test enterprise IM servers from these and other vendors. The best IM product we saw wasn’t a communications server but a security and management framework from IMlogic. Other 2004 highlights included a refined Groove 3.0, a startlingly good BizTalk process orchestration server from Microsoft, and Plumtree Enterprise, which led a formidable field of seven enterprise portal suites in our May roundup.

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Application management
Endeavors Technology AppExpress 2.5
Endeavors Technology
Very Good, 7.6
Cost: $25,000 per server for software; $65 per client seat
Bottom Line: AppExpress is highly scalable and delivers streamed apps easily, offering administrators strong management and reporting capabilities. Database options, however, are limited to Microsoft SQL Server 7.0 and 2000, and the initial installation is complex and time-consuming.
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Mach5 Analyzer 4.0
Mach5 Enterprises
Very Good, 8.5
Cost: Analyzer Free (supports small log files), free; Analyzer Regular, $99.95, with HyperLink TreeView, geographical reporting, and report printing; Analyzer Gold, $199.95, with site-stickiness reports, report exports to HTML, and additional features
Bottom Line: Boasting exceptional speed, Analyzer is great for churning out log reports. Not as extensive as WebTrends’ flagship offering, Analyzer still holds its own when it comes to creating useful reports from Web-server log data, especially when time is tight.
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ProactiveNet 6.0
ProactiveNet
Very Good, 8.1
Cost: Starts at $35,000; scales based on number and type of entities monitored; ProactiveNet SLA Performance, $10,000 per application (one app supports as many as 20 SLA sites)
Bottom Line: ProactiveNet 6.0 is a serious application performance management solution for serious customers. Its Intelligent Thresholds architecture requires a leap of faith on the part of IT, but when implemented, it has the potential to significantly reduce administrators’ workloads. The Solaris-on-Sparc back-end requirement should be addressed in early 2005.
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Shunra Software Shunra\Storm STX-100
Shunra Software
Very Good, 8.0
Cost: $40,000 as tested; software-only ShunraCloud, $5,000
Bottom Line: If cost is no object, Shunra\Storm STX-100 is hard to beat, despite its dependence on Microsoft Visio and its high price tag. Highly capable and easy to use and deploy, this box delivers best-of-breed functionality for IT organizations that require mission-critical network testing and emulation.
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Veritas i3 Version 6.5
Veritas Software
Good, 6.5
Cost: $20,000 as tested
Bottom Line: A good solution for IT shops charged with managing complex, multitier applications, i3 allows administrators to gather performance intelligence at various execution stages. Mediocre integration of i3 agents and tools, however, can translate into a steep learning curve.
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Collaboration
Akonix L7 Enterprise 3.0, Enforcer 3.1, and Compliance Manager 3
Akonix
Very Good, 7.6
Cost: $9,000 for 50 users, including L7 Enterprise Gateway, anti-virus option, Enforcer, and Compliance Manager
Bottom Line: Akonix L7 Enterprise manages IM traffic, enforces access polices, and stops IM viruses. It scales well, integrates with popular firewalls, and supports both enterprise and consumer IM systems. Enforcer — which blocks IM and p-to-p use at network perimeters — and Compliance Manager round it out.
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FaceTime RTG500 and IM Auditor 5.0
FaceTime Communications
Very Good, 7.6
Cost: RTG500, $5,000; IM Auditor 5.0, approximately $25,000 for 500 users
Bottom Line: FaceTime’s RTG500 network appliance acts as a security gateway for real-time communications. When coupled with IM Auditor, it becomes a centralized, Web-based solution for IM management, control, and policy enforcement, and it provides logging for regulatory compliance.
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Good Technology GoodLink 3.0.2
Good Technology
Very Good, 7.0
Cost: $330 annually per user
Bottom Line: GoodLink offers device choice, solid Exchange synchronization capabilities, and a great interface. Its comparably poor handling of rich attachments and inability to access intranet content behind the firewall, however, detract from the simulated desktop experience.
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Groove Virtual Office 3.0
Groove Networks
Excellent, 8.6
Cost: Professional Edition, $179; Project Edition, $229
Bottom Line: Groove 3.0 helps workers communicate, plan projects, hold online meetings, and share files securely. It brings on-demand collaboration to virtual teams without increasing IT infrastructure. A more intuitive interface, easier navigation, and new end-user development functions enhance virtual work.
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IBM Lotus Instant Messaging and Web Conferencing 3.1
IBM
Very Good, 7.6
Cost: $47.59 per user; Enhanced Collaboration Bundle (includes Lotus Team Workplace), $71.36 per user
Bottom Line: With Lotus IM, users can include text, audio, and video in their communications and can share applications in online meetings. Administrative tools are robust, and the IM Gateway secures communication with other collaborative communities.
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IMlogic IM Manager 6.0
IMlogic
Excellent, 8.8
Cost: Starts at $25 per user
Bottom Line: IM Manager 6.0 stands out in three important areas: usability, flexibility, and scalability — a potent mix that gives it a significant advantage in larger enterprises. Easy deployment makes IM Manager appropriate for smaller organizations as well.
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Jabber XCP 2.7
Jabber
Very Good, 7.6
Cost: Starts at $30 per user for perpetual license; $18 per user on annual basis
Bottom Line: Jabber’s straightforward default interface and easy-to-use commands provide solid messaging with minimal user training. Jabber delivers a flexible, manageable alternative for organizations that value maximum interoperability.
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Microsoft Office Live Communications Server 2003
Microsoft
Very Good, 7.2
Cost: $733 per server; $25 per client-access license
Bottom Line: If you’re already using Microsoft applications, LCS is the obvious choice for IM. It leads the pack in media options and integrates almost instantly with other Microsoft server apps. If you’re not running Active Directory, however, setting up LCS requires significant effort.
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Novell GroupWise Messenger 1.0
Novell
Good, 6.8
Cost: Sold as part of GroupWise; GroupWise Web/wireless license required at $30 per user, with volume discounts available
Bottom Line: GroupWise Messenger is a relatively inexpensive choice for organizations that already run NetWare or NDS and GroupWise. Those who have not yet settled on GroupWise Manager might want to wait for the next version, which will include bolstered client functionality.
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RIM BlackBerry Enterprise Server Version 3.6
Research In Motion
Excellent, 8.7
Cost: $4,999 for 20 client licenses; $80 per additional license
Bottom Line: BlackBerry’s client technology is powerful and extensible (through Java), and RIM handhelds are optimized for fleet deployment and strong central control. BES is focused on full, efficient remote access to corporate resources, including intranets and large PDF and Office documents.
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Serena Software TeamTrack 6.1
Serena Software
Very Good, 8.0
Cost: $8,995, 10 named users; $16,995, 10 concurrent users
Bottom Line: TeamTrack brings the power of role-based business process management tools to the Web browser, simplifying dynamic process changes and keeping projects on track. Its overall design lends itself nicely to distributed project teams working in multiple physical locations.
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Venali Total Desktop Fax Solution
Venali
Excellent, 8.6
Cost: Base price, $9.95 per user; discounts available based on user count, fax volume
Bottom Line: Venali’s Total Desktop Fax Solution may not represent a true Fax-over-IP implementation, but it is a highly reliable, scalable network fax solution. It’s also significantly less expensive in most situations than either traditional fax or competing network fax solutions.
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CRM
ACCPAC CRM 5.6

ACCPAC International
Good, 6.1
Cost: Starts at $1,995 for fewer than 20 users; $9,995, unlimited users and three-seat DB2 license; end-user licensing starts at $995, plus 18 percent first-year mandatory maintenance fee
Bottom Line: ACCPAC CRM’s browser-based interface is well-designed and easy to use, providing good graphical insight into time lines and status. Strong user access and customization capabilities ease implementation and enhance productivity.
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Best Software SalesLogix Advanced v6.2
Best Software
Very Good, 7.1
Cost: Advanced starts at $2,195 per server, $995 per user; Standard starts at $1,795 per server, $795 per user
Bottom Line: Despite minor shortcomings in its marketing engine and support capabilities, SalesLogix has solid sales and contact management. Minimal training and administration effort is required to deploy basic installations. Cross-discipline data sharing and support are good for most general uses.
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Epicor Clientele CRM.Net Suite 8.2
Epicor Software
Good, 5.6
Cost: Starts at $1,500 per user; Enterprise Portal Server, $13,000; Portal Content Pack starts at $5,000; yearly maintenance fee, 20 percent of purchase price
Bottom Line: Clientele’s pricey suite focuses on customer support and case management resolution; its self-serve portal is a must for reducing incident costs. More attention must be paid to enhancing the interface and automated workflow, but its Web services underpinnings portend future extensibility.
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Maximizer Enterprise 8
Maximizer Software
Good, 5.6
Cost: $489 per user for CRM; $699 per user for eCRM, including employee portal; first-year mandatory maintenance fee, 20 percent of purchase price; Customization Suite for eCRM, $1,995
Bottom Line: Maximizer Enterprise’s benefits may be overshadowed by a cumbersome interface. Benefits include database synchronization among satellite offices, a customer portal that makes implementing customer self-service a snap, and prebuilt workflow objects that provide out-of-the-box automation.
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RightNow 6.0, Proactive Multi-Channel Customer Service Version
RightNow Technologies
Good, 6.3
Cost: Starts at $79,000 for 15 seats, hosted or licensed
Bottom Line: RightNow’s self-serve opportunities and automated response handling allow agents to focus on priority incidents. But integration with other systems is limited, and BI features are lackluster.
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Talisma v6.0
Talisma
Good, 6.6
Cost: Hosted QuickStart starts at $15,000; full-version ASP (20 seats) starts at $48,000; OnSite version plus yearly maintenance fee starts at $80,000
Bottom Line: Talisma presents the opportunity for tracking and automating sales and customer relationship processes. It’s powerful and provides strong workflow automation, but the interface is lackluster and void of graphical insight. Platform lock-in and lack of integration must be considered in evaluating its long-term ROI.
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