More often than anyone cares to admit, salespeople are selling a services capability that doesn't exist - at least not yet. This is usually because the customer has asked for something unique or the services group within the organization doesn't have the capacity available to support that particular request.
Almost invariably, however, contracts get signed and the people charged with delivering on the services promise to walk into work every morning to see what surprises are in store next. But sales deals are not done in a single day; more than likely contract service requirements terms are bandied about with a customer relationship management (CRM) application for weeks, if not months. The issue is that the folks in charge of delivering those services have no visibility into the CRM application.
In order to give the people responsible for delivering services visibility into the sales process, Clarizen, a provider of an online project management application that is delivered as a service, announced today tighter integration with the CRM applications from Salesforce.com. According to Clarizen CEO Avinoam Nowogrodski, services organizations that rely on project management applications are routinely blindsided by sales organizations that manage their activities inside a CRM application. To prevent that from happening, organizations can pay to either have their services organizations get access to a CRM application, or more logically, the project management applications they rely on can be more tightly coupled to the CRM application. Given the expense of the former option, most organizations are going to prefer a less-costly approach that tightens the integration between CRM and project management applications, said Nowogrodski.
Because Clarizen and Salesforce both have a set of well-defined application programming interfaces, integrating the two software-as-a-service (SaaS) environments can be handled by the two companies managing those applications, versus requiring an internal IT organization to manage the task on their own. The end result, says Nowogrodski, is a level of integration that includes real-time synchronization of dashboards to access Saleforce.com social networking tools such as Chatter. That level of integration between Clarizen and other applications, argues Nowogrodski, is ultimately going to change the way people collaborate across the enterprise.