This is the second part of two articles discussing the most popular and prevalent CRM systems for small and medium businesses (SMBs). This article focuses on On-Premise CRM sytems for small and medium businesses. If you are interested in learning about cloud-based solutions, click here.
On-premise CRM systems for small and medium businesses
Although this category of software slowly disappearing, we still run into situations where it is relevant and in some cases absolutely required. These cases are typically relating to security – even though it can be argued that cloud-based systems are more secure than premises based. We run into the requirement for premises-based CRM in brokerages, defense contractors and HIPAA-compliant organizations mostly. Another situation when premises-based CRM makes sense, especially for ACT!, is when a company or team has been using it successfully for a very long time. There are 2 relevant CRM brands for SMBs: ACT! and Goldmine.
Act! (now owned by Swiftpage)
ACT! is a CRM brand that has been around for 30 years and was the dominant player in the SMB space for most of that time. The software has been bought and sold 6 times during that span, most recently in 2013 it was sold by Sage (a global software behemoth based in Britain) and sold along with another brand (Salelogix) to a much smaller Denver-based company called Swiftpage. (Interestingly both of these products were originally written by the same guy, Pat Sullivan) ACT! was re-written from scratch by Sage Software in 2005, on the then-modern platforms of Microsoft SQL and MS .Net. Soon after the acquistion, Swiftpage sold Saleslogix to another company and it has been renamed as Infor CRM). Never mind because Saleslogix (now known as Infor CRM) while a great CRM system, was never a great fit for most SMBs due to its complexity and expense.
Over the last several years Swiftpage has focused ACT! development investment on the “Web Version” of ACT! and most recently has brought it into the 21st century by adding what is known as a Web API and (finally) an app for mobile devices. They have focused on making the product more mobile-friendly, by enhancing the mobile device interface known as “ACT! Mobile”. They switched their revenue model from traditional license sales to subscription about 2 years ago, though you can still get traditional perpetual licenses if you ask. (Perpetual licenses run around $475 for ACT Premium and about 1/2 of that for ACT! Pro, which is limited to 10 users)
Goldmine is a CRM system that has been around almost as long as ACT! but has mostly been a distant #2. That is especially true after 2004 when Goldmine largely dismantled it’s consultant network. The system has always enjoyed a reputation of being technically robust but good luck finding someone to assist you with the system, let alone someone local (NOTE: If you need a Goldmine consultant let me know, because I have an associate who has been doing Goldmine for 20+ years…based out of Buffalo).
That is pretty much it as it relates to what I will call the “relevant range” of premise-based CRM solutions for small and medium businesses. I have been doing this for a decade and there just aren’t any other players out there that make sense for SMBs. If you’ve got to have a premises-based solution, or if your team has been using one of the above systems for a zillion years and it works just great, then those are your choices.