Aplicor CRM Software
Aplicor has been providing cloud CRM software solutions since 2003 and hosted ERP/accounting since 2007. The company's strategy is threefold. First, to focus on front-to-back office hosted solutions. Aplicor is one of only two hosted companies that offer real front office CRM and back office ERP hosted solutions (the other company is NetSuite). Second, the company targets midmarket and enterprise organizations - and generally highly decentralized and global organizations. Aplicor's target market is clearly above the small business concentration served by NetSuite. Third, Aplicor provides product advantages in large part from its impressive tools suite. The Workflow Designer permits users to create very flexible business process automation routines. The Forms Designer permits users to customize menus, screens and forms in a non-technical drag-and-drop interface and the Integration services (mostly a collection of loosely coupled XML web services) provide a good means to perform relatively simple integration to legacy applications.
Aplicor's message is largely around business impact and post-implementation return on investment (ROI). We've reviewed a number of case studies showing impressive accomplishments and ROI figures. The primary problem with Aplicor's message is that it is not well heard. While the message is appealing, the company doesn't do enough to promote it. While Aplicor is well recognized within the CRM and ERP industry, buyers and other people not in the industry often have never heard of Aplicor. While this is changing slowly over time, Aplicor is well advised to pick up their promotion and advertising.
Aplicor has verticalized its CRM and ERP products for Public Sector (Government), Financial Services and Professional Services. The benefit of Aplicor's industry solutions over other CRM industry solutions is that Aplicor's includes both front office (CRM) and back-office (ERP) verticalization. For example, Professional Services includes not just the Project Office and Project Management capabilities in a front office solution, but also the Time and Billing, Project Accounting and Job Costing only available in back-office accounting systems.
While the company has industry specific solutions, the majority of its customers continue to be using horizontal CRM and accounting systems. Aplicor and Salesforce.com hold the largest hosting/SaaS customers in the hosting industry. While Salesforce.com has more larger customers than Aplicor, Aplicor has a much larger concentration of large customers than Salesforce.com (e.g. Salesforce.com's average customer size is less than 20 while Aplicor's average customer size is over 100).
Something we found interesting was Aplicor's use of Web 2.0 or social media tools to facilitate the company's evolution. Aplicor's use of blogs, customer portals and partner portals along with its measurable goals of using customer content to evolve the products solutions and some strategy items is both unique and admirable.
Aplicor has succeeded in delivering an impressive product, acquiring some of the largest hosting clients in the industry and winning more hosted product awards than others, however, it remains an unknown to many. The company should redirect more of its efforts toward promotion or risk not capitalizing on the growth opportunity that its competitors will be trying to capitalize on.
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