ACCPAC pushes eCRM to the region

As the region’s end user community flocks to Dubai for the Middle East Call Centre & eCRM conference at Dubai’s Chamber of Commerce, ACCPAC is busy pushing the most recent version of its online customer relationship management offering, ACCPAC eCRM.

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By  Matthew Southwell Published  January 22, 2002

As the region’s end user community flocks to Dubai for the Middle East Call Centre & eCRM conference at Dubai’s Chamber of Commerce, ACCPAC is busy pushing the most recent version of its online customer relationship management offering, ACCPAC eCRM.

Keith Fenner, assistant vice president, Internet business, ACCPAC EMEA, explains that CRM is, currently, a very strategic application for the vendor as it strives to deliver its end-to-end e-business strategy that is designed to take local businesses “from the warehouse to the web store.”

And, according to Marc Van der Ven, regional manager for ACCPAC, there is a real need for such customer serving applications throughout the Middle East at present as entrance to the WTO looms for many of the region’s countries.

“In this market we are dealing with early adopters and beyond. Every large sized company in the Middle East is starting to think about CRM because they are realising that their competitors are going that way. The truth is that, with entrance to the WTO, competition will get a lot harder here… Therefore, they are putting things such as CRM in place,” he explains.

Despite the vigour with which ACCPAC is pushing its CRM offering, Fenner is well aware that one of the ultimate goals of CRM – the face-to-face recognition of a customer wherever they interact with an organisation – is still some way off.

“The next step is coming but it has to come via the Web. This is the only way that it can be delivered effectively and until we have the communication channels in place, such as broadband, it is not going to be a reality,” he says

Broadband, he continues, is key because it allows businesses to centralise their customer information and then deliver it to the point of contact, on demand and in real-time. “The strategy that we are following is any time, anywhere, any device,” he adds.

To this end, mobility is also key because unless the employee interfacing with the customer can access the relevant information they have little to offer in terms of CRM. As such, ACCPAC is working with the likes of Compaq, Casio and Palm to ensure that its applications are PDA compatible.

“CRM [applications] have to be written for the Web [because] this means that users can be anywhere on the planet and still look at customer information either through a laptop or a PDA. If a salesman can do that then they are armed for business,” comments Fenner.

Van der Ven also adds that the software by itself is useless unless companies embrace a customer centric attitude. “A business can implement an entire CRM system and it can fail, because it won’t mean a thing to its customers unless the company’s attitude has changed at the same time. Implementing software is not going to solve any customer care problems unless a business changes the culture behind it,” he says.

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