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Supplier definition
Supplier list
Functionality
SaaS
Supplier consolidation
Downloadable questionnaire 
 

Suppliers

This page lists of suppliers who deliver in to the MRM arena.

Supplier definition

At one time I tried to be "totally pure" and only list companies which supported every required aspect of MRM.  That resulted in a very short list of Aprimo, Assetlink and net|ways, who, at that time were the only companies that delivered a total, fully integrated solution.

Things change.  New companies are constantly emerging that support many, but not all requirements, but can be integrated with other products to provide a complete solution.  My total solution providers have been bought by larger CRM suppliers.  Marketing requirements change and many users tell me that their requirements are being served by specialist niche suppliers who do not support all aspects of Marketing.    

So I now take a more pragmatic approach,  Not every Marketing department needs a totally comprehensive solution from one supplier.  Some may already have installed systems from specialist suppliers, plus some companies may not need support for every aspect of marketing. If a company only ever runs above the line global market poster or television adverts they have no need for direct mail campaign management. 

All of the suppliers listed provide a large percentage of the defined MRM functionality, particularly in the area of image and brand management.  They are companies which specialize almost exclusively in supporting the content management and re-purposing/re-use of Marketing assets.  These companies do far more than just provide a standard DAM with a few added on extensions.  All have functionality which will, if implemented in the right way, deliver benefits and savings to Marketing.  The more enlightened of these companies will also provide "Open system " type interfaces for their solutions so that they can be run along side other systems which have the functionality they have not developed.

The list does not includes many of the major CRM players, even though nearly all have announced that they have complete MRM solutions. This is because, when I last looked at that the big CRM companies either they still could not demonstrated that their systems supply the required functionality fully integrated in to their product, or they have bought one of the MRM suppliers listed below, (and for Marketing it is probably more productive to contact that MRM company direct).. 

Finally there are a small number of CRM companies who have asked not to be listed on this site.

Suppliers are currently listed in alphabetic sequence showing no other significance to their position on the page.

Supplier have been added to the list at their request, after they saw the site, and following a brief review of their functionality.  There was no promotion pleading suppliers to have their name added to the list, equally some suppliers who asked to be added have not been listed as their systems, though good, only answer a small number of the needs of Marketing.

Suppliers can, of course, ask to be taken off the site at any point in time if they do not want to be listed they will not appear. 

 

MRM Suppliers

 

Functionality supported by Suppliers

Because of constant changes and developments in the functionality provided by MRM suppliers it is no longer possible, using the resources of just one person, to provide an accurate and up to date comparison of the different systems which suppliers support.

However, at the end of this Web page is a questionnaire/check list which can be used by potential customers to request from suppliers the details of the functionality they support.

This was first added to the site in August 2008.

The questionnaire can be downloaded.

The idea is that as users find extra questions etc which should be asked the form will be updated (provided I am told of the missing points).  

Based on feed back up to January 2012 the questionnaire is now approaching being a fully comprehensive document.

 

SaaS - Software as a service  

At one time the only way to acquire an MRM system was to buy a software licence.  This could have been a licence covering unlimited users or for fixed numbers of users.  The software could then be run on your own hardware or hosted elsewhere (often on hardware provided and managed by the MRM supplier).  Prices varied from supplier to supplier, and were affected by the numbers of modules bought, and the numbers of licensed users etc, but costs were normally in excess of £100,000.

For many companies this created too large an entry barrier.  Though MRM will save money (and improve effectiveness and efficiency) recovering the large licence fees stopped many implementations. Also though the Marketing department might need every MRM module they wanted to implement over a period of time and not be driven by the need to recoup their capital expenditure.

Some suppliers then developed an On-demand service, which is now marketed as SaaS (Software as a service).   Essentially the supplier will licence numbers of users to run selected modules from the standard software on servers hosted by the supplier.  Entry points can be as low as 10 users and, depending on the functionality selected, could be implemented for less than £400 per month.  This is becoming increasingly popular.  Now more Marketing departments are contemplating Pilot systems where small numbers of users run selected modules for a few months to prove the software is right for them.

In terms of percentage take up, word of mouth indicates that in excess of 60% of new MRM implementations now take the SaaS option.

When selecting the SaaS approach Marketing departments should still allow an up front sum for systems building, training and implementation support.  Depending on the options selected this will cost in excess of £5,000.  MRM changes the way the department works.  It affects workflow and responsibilities.  This involves Change Management and should not be taken lightly.  If the Change Management is underestimated (either in terms of costs or time) the Pilot, or the complete implementation will fail.

Not all suppliers currently provide SaaS for their solution, but the majority are now committed to this approach. 

Supplier consolidation

Although MRM really only emerged as an accepted technology around 2002, since August 2004 the MRM market place has seen very active supplier consolidation as a number of leading niche players have merged with/ been acquired by larger, former rivals.

Previously I tried tracking and reporting on these mergers, but because of the rapid spate of changes this has become too onerous.  The acquisitions have affected both small niche companies and substantial players in the MRM market place. For example:

  1.  Oracle, itself a niche MRM player, bought PeopleSoft and Siebel, both of whom had well developed niche MRM offerings which were listed on the Gartner Quadrant;
  2. Aprimo which for many years was the Gartner Quadrant leading MRM company is now linked with Teradata (who at one time partnered Assetlink) ;
  3. Assetlink, who was probably the major competitor to Aprimo is now part of the SAS product offering.
  4. Alterian are part of SDL.
  5. Unica were acquired by IBM.

Where I was aware of the acquisitions I asked the owning company if they wanted to retain the listing, or to point to their new "combined offering page".  In most cases (with the noticeable exception of Terdadat) they have not even replied, so the original listing has been removed.

The forecasts are that this trend will continue as larger companies see the opportunities offered within the MRM market  and then buy existing MRM companies which provide the functionality lacking in their offerings.

Some of these mergers will produce stronger, more financially stable companies offering an improved range of MRM services, but this will not always be the case. 

This does create problems for potential buyers of MRM as every one would like their supplier to be around as long as they continue to run the software.  And size of company does not seem to matter, just look at PeopleSoft who were acquired by Oracle.  

If you are buying the software, and intend to run it using your own technical support then make sure your contract protects you against issues which could arise if either your supplier is taken over, or even your supplier takes over a competitor and decides to implement the newly acquired technology and not the system you selected.

 

White label software

Simplistically CRM manages numbers ( numbers of customers, numbers in mail shots, percentages of take up etc) whilst MRM is required to manage images and work schedules of designers operating on Macs using programs (Quark) which are not in common use in the Microsoft world. Major players in the Campaign management and Data Warehousing now appreciate that to provide a total service to Marketing needs different skills from those required to provide segmentation or data analysis of customer buying trends etc.  

This probably explains why SAS acquired Assetlink and the link up of Aprimo with Teradata.

The white label approach is now happening where the CRM suppliers provide Open software links from their system to smaller niche players with MRM solutions which the large CRM suppliers do not possess. In this way the CRM companies can offer a complete solution, even though the MRM is not "fully integrated" in the absolute sense.  To Marketing, if it works this should not be an issue.

The question that should be asked by Marketing when dealing with a stand alone MRM company is, "Can your software be treated as White label software" and be integrated with solutions from the CRM suppliers  If the answer is Yes, you have flexibility, if the answer is No, you probably have a problem.

 

Questionnaire

Below is a link to an Excel spread sheet which requests details of functionality from MRM suppliers.

Feel free to down load and use the form as is appropriate to your requirements. (To download click on link below then Save file).

If you find that any questions are missing, or need to be expanded, please let me know and I will then update the copy available for download.

MRM Questionnaire download link