Next Generation Relationship Management Software
NZ Company Launches Next Generation of Relationship Management Software
NZ software company, On2it Software Ltd, has just released a completely new class of computer application onto the world market – a ‘NETWORK Relationship Management’ system, with a ‘FREE Personal’ version available to all.
CEO, Brian McGuigan, says RelationshipGEM TM is the next generation of contact management systems designed to manage all of the relationships between everyone in an entire network of contacts without duplication of information.
Contact management systems are playing an increasingly significant role in maintaining and developing business relationships. To remain competitive in domestic and international markets, businesses have come to realise that strong relationships, be it with customers, suppliers, advisors or any type of business associate, is an essential asset in itself. As these relationships have become more complex, the need for a software solution that doesn’t rely on ‘human memory’ to manage them has developed.
Early contact management systems created in the 1980s were nothing more than a computerised version of the ‘little black address book’. In the 1990s software development companies began to create what are now known as Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Systems. The philosophy behind CRM systems is focused entirely on the business customer relationship. All CRM systems are directed toward understanding and determining what current and future customers need and designing a business strategy around those needs.
CRM’s Logic Flaw
The underlying philosophy behind CRM systems has a fundamental logic flaw that no CRM system is able to overcome - they focus entirely on the Customer. So all other relationships critical to a business are, by definition, ignored. It also ignores that a customer may be associated with a business in an entirely different role. For example, Joe may be the manager of one of your suppliers, a company director of your largest customer and his wife a shareholder in one of your competitors. The inability of current software to handle this interconnected nature of both business and personal relationships results from organisations operating multiple databases for different purposes. CRM simply adds another island of data to the mix. Not only is this not cost effective, it also increases the risk that the information contained within those databases is not accurate. (Even so-called ‘integrated systems’ have separate files for ‘Customers’, ‘Suppliers’ and so on.)
If someone is both a Customer and a Supplier, say, you have to record their details twice. Because these records are not linked in any way, it is impossible to tell that the ‘Joe’ on your supplier database is the same ‘Joe’ in your customer database. Consequently a poor relationship with Joe ‘the supplier’ could result in losing Joe ‘the customer’. Certainly if you change the address of Joe ‘the supplier’, it will not change the address of Joe ‘the customer’. The inability of CRM systems to model how relationships function and operate in the real world leaves users forever wrestling with independent islands of data and may even result in poorer customer service and retention.
RelationshipGEMTM – The Solution
Development of ‘RelationshipGEM’ began in 2002 as an in-house software project. On2it Software Ltd identified the need to manage its own contact information and sought out a flexible, cost effective CRM system. Frustrated at being unable to find a solution with a realistic underlying data model, the decision was made to ‘do it ourselves’. With a skilled software development team already on staff, the project quickly expanded as its full potential came to be realised. With the ‘big picture’ in mind from the start, the development team was able to create an underlying data structure, based on Microsoft SQL Server that uses the services of Microsoft Outlook and Word, and is infinitely scalable. Consequently, ‘RelationshipGEM’ really is a system “Simple enough for your Xmas card list yet powerful enough for the largest enterprise”.
The key features of ‘RelationshipGEM’ are:
• It manages all your relationships, not just customers – in one single database.
• It records all the relationships between everyone and everything in the system, so it is easy to track who knows who and why, for an entire network of contacts.
• It creates a single consolidated history of all communications including emails, faxes, letters, phones calls, meetings, or anything else you want.
• There is no duplication of data. If something exists in the real world only once, then ‘RelationshipGEM’ will only record it once – even phone numbers. Its effectiveness lies in its ability to remember who else shares the same information. So, for example, changing someone’s home or work phone number will automatically change it for everyone affected.
• Built-in project management and client billing functions.
It’s so easy to use that people want to use it. Because it saves them time, it is not seen as an additional chore. Finding a contact is also easy, as any scrap of recalled information will be sufficient for ‘RelationshipGEM’ to find all the recorded information about them – even if that scrap is their relationship with someone else. As Brian says, “This almost intuitive behaviour is unheard of in any computer system. People will have to try it – just to believe it’s possible”.
Data Imports and Compatibility
Difficulty in transferring data into new systems often result in businesses using out-dated and inefficient databases, simply because they feel they cannot afford the time to change, or the thought of change itself, sends shivers through their spines. ‘RelationshipGEM’ has gone a long way to solve these problems, as it has its own data import routines that enable data to be extracted from almost any existing system. You can also obtain data from any specialist ‘data provider’, or ‘screen scrape’ information from websites or even scan business cards. However you obtain your information, you can be sure of one thing – there will be no duplicate entries, as RelationshipGEM’s sophisticated logic routines check whether someone is already in your database. If they are, their record will be updated rather than duplicated. ‘RelationshipGEM’ is in fact a remarkably easy way to clean up and consolidate databases.
‘RelationshipGEM’ will run on all versions of Windows from Windows 2000 to Windows Vista. It also works with all versions of Microsoft Office up to and including Office 2007.
The cost of ‘RelationshipGEM’ is determined by capacity rather than features. On2it Software is proud of its product so all versions are ‘fully featured’ regardless of size. After a 30 day free trial, ‘RelationshipGEM’ can be registered as: a ‘Corporate’ version that is unrestricted in record capacity, a ‘Small Business’ version of various capacities, or a ‘FREE Personal’ version limited to 100 records. ‘Small Business’ versions are discounted to the cost of a local postage stamp per record of database capacity. This pricing structure is particularly attractive to businesses, which in the current economic climate, need to work smarter. After all, says Brian “If you want to store someone’s name and address, it must be worth the cost of a postage stamp!”
Once ‘RelationshipGEM’ is registered, users can opt to become ‘Resellers’ – even users of the FREE personal version. This enables resellers to ‘tag’ their CDs so that when ‘RelationshipGEM’ is installed and registered on another computer, On2it Software will know who made the recommendation and will reward the reseller with commission. Full artwork is even available online to resellers so that they can produce their own CDs.
‘RelationshipGEM’ may be downloaded FREE from RelationshipGEM.com, or ordered on CD. It can be installed on as many computers as you like. After a 30 day free trial period, continued use, without loss of data, will require registration which can be done easily on-line or by post.
Every few years, the computing world sees another revolution. ‘RelationshipGEM’ looks set to be the start of the next.