Betting on a CRM Application Backlash

    One of the more difficult challenges that many organizations still face when deploying customer relationship management (CRM) software is actually getting salespeople to use it. Salespeople are still naturally suspicious of anything that can be used to reduce the value of the relationships they build, and the fact that CRM software has gotten only more complicated to use over the years hasn’t helped matters.

    In fact, one of the early pioneers of CRM software, John Roberts, the founder of SugarCRM, says providers of CRM software have strayed too far from the core mission, which is to make salespeople more efficient. To address that issue, Roberts has launched X2Engine, a startup company that has created an open source application that has more in common with traditional salesforce automation software than modern CRM systems.


    Roberts argues that modern CRM systems have simply become too bloated with features that wind up getting in the way of managing a high-performance sales team. As the CEO of X2Engine, Roberts says his company’s namesake application can be deployed on premise or in the cloud. The end goal is to not only deliver a better application for managing salespeople, but also reduce the number of complex modules that IT organizations find themselves managing today. That not only further reduces software costs; it reduces the amount of time the IT organization has to spend managing the environment.

    Furthermore, Roberts argues that as application integration becomes simpler across the enterprise, the need to deploy massive suites of enterprise applications is being reduced to the point where organizations are becoming more comfortable deploying best-of-breed applications again.

    X2Engine, says Roberts, is ideally suited for organizations that have 50 to 100 salespeople that are looking for the simplest way to share information in an effort to close as many deals as possible in the shortest amount of time required.

    It remains to be seen whether there is enough of a backlash building against modern CRM systems for Roberts to create a movement. But he’s definitely identified a pain point many organizations still have when it comes to deploying and managing CRM. Whether that pain reaches a point where it requires action is another matter altogether, but what is certain is that there are enough small businesses out there right now willing to consider all their CRM options.

    Mike Vizard
    Mike Vizard
    Michael Vizard is a seasoned IT journalist, with nearly 30 years of experience writing and editing about enterprise IT issues. He is a contributor to publications including Programmableweb, IT Business Edge, CIOinsight and UBM Tech. He formerly was editorial director for Ziff-Davis Enterprise, where he launched the company’s custom content division, and has also served as editor in chief for CRN and InfoWorld. He also has held editorial positions at PC Week, Computerworld and Digital Review.

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