CRM returns found lacking: survey

More than half of respondents in a recent survey of “high-level” service and support executives reported seeing no measurable ROI (return on investment) from their CRM (customer relationship management) systems in the past year.

But a spokesperson for the organizations that did the survey said the newness of CRM implementations, combined with the high costs, may have contributed to the lack of returns thus far. “First of all, some companies are still in the beginning stages of implementing the technology, and since the technology itself is fairly expensive, they may not have yet seen any cost savings,” said Carolyn Healey, publisher of the and informational portals, which conducted the survey of executives. Costs can vary based on the type of system, Healey noted. CRM implementations can range from those developed by Siebel, which makes multifaceted systems, to e-mail management packages, she said.

Safe reporting across media types

Ascend Software Inc. has announced the release of ReportSafe 3.0. The product lets administrators manage reports of all types across a variety of hardware and software platforms, including Unix, Windows NT, OS/400 and all Posix-compliant systems.

The latest version also supports more than 30 data formats, including PDF, JPEG, TIFF and XML. A storage management tool monitors space utilization, and an included space management tool can automatically transfer reports across media types. Text reports can also be easily downloaded to Microsoft Excel spreadsheets for formatting and analysis. Pricing begins at US$32,000 for 100 to 200 seats.

Remote manager has scripting interface

Administered in being able to remotely manage a variety of devices over the Internet may want to investigate Arula Systems Inc.’s remote management appliances that integrate the company’s Universal Agent Platform.

The appliances, including the Dominion x1, the Dominion x16 and the Cerebus x16 can connect to a variety of device types, including routers, servers, firewalls and switches, and allow administrators to monitor the devices through a secure, browser-based interface. A scripting interface enables the appliances to notify administrators of problems and take automated actions. Pricing begins at US$895 for the Dominion x1.