SAN JOSE, Calif., Feb. 19, 1996 — Microsoft Corp. today announced that several sales-force automation vendors are committed to building product lines on Microsoft® platforms, especially the Windows®
95 operating system and the Microsoft BackOffice
With the mobile-computing capabilities inherent in Windows 95 and the Internet capabilities being built into Microsoft BackOffice, developers are driving the rush toward Microsoft technologies as the foundation for sales-force automation (SFA) applications.
Kathleen Pierce Simonsen, worldwide industry manager for sales-force automation at Microsoft, said that the vendor announcements are evidence that Microsoft BackOffice, with its seamless integration and Internet capabilities, is gaining momentum as the platform for the future of SFA.
“The industry now recognizes that Microsoft BackOffice is the premier platform combining best-of-breed server products, enabling developers to provide total SFA solutions,”
To assist in those solutions, Microsoft debuted its new sales-force automation World Wide Web home page today during the DCI Field and Sales Force Automation Conference and Exposition at the San Jose Conference Center.
The SFA vendors supporting Microsoft BackOffice include Aurum Software Inc., Brock International Inc., ONYX Software Corp., SalesKit Software Corp. and Siebel Systems Inc.
Aurum Software has integrated its popular SalesTrak®
package with Microsoft BackOffice and plans to support the Microsoft Exchange Server and Microsoft SQL Server
Brock International recently announced that it will include Microsoft-based Internet capabilities in its TakeControl
ONYX Software has designed its new ONYX Customer Center
software exclusively on Microsoft BackOffice.
SalesKit Software bases its SalesKit OPEN suite of sales information management applications on Microsoft Office and Microsoft BackOffice platforms.
Siebel Systems bases its client-side products exclusively on Microsoft
, the networking operating system component of Microsoft BackOffice.
Many of the SFA developers are using Microsoft technologies on both the client side and the server side.
“Windows 95 is the first Windows® operating system designed with mobile computing in mind,”
As such, Windows 95 enables remote mobile reps to be productive and current on customer information, regardless of their location. Sales and marketing departments frequently need to synchronize customer data between remote locations and corporate headquarters. The Microsoft BackOffice server suite enables the entire enterprise to securely share that critical customer information internally.
“Externally, organizations of all sizes are interested in exploiting the Internet as a communications vehicle for reaching customers directly,”
“Right now, we’re integrating Internet capabilities into our products to help our customers take advantage of the next step: the evolution of commerce via the Internet.”
One major vendor supporting Microsoft BackOffice is ONYX Software Corp. of Bellevue, Wash. ONYX Customer Center, a client-server application that manages all customer interactions from a single application and interface, was designed exclusively for the Microsoft BackOffice family. Microsoft BackOffice also forms the base for a remote version of the application called ONYX Customer Center-Unplugged
, also scheduled to be announced at the DCI show.
This spring, ONYX plans to release its ONYX Web Wizards
product. Using a Microsoft platform, ONYX Web Wizards will allow ONYX Customer Center users to capture customer inquiries from the World Wide Web and automatically incorporate them into their business.
Todd Stevenson, ONYX co-founder and vice president for development, said the tight integration and robustness of Microsoft BackOffice also supports rapid applications development, both in initial product development and for upgrades and expanded functionality. That capability leads to benefits like those found by one user of ONYX products, OrCad, which reports a 50 percent increase in efficiency across its sales, marketing, customer-support, accounting and management functions using the Microsoft BackOffice-based ONYX Customer Center.
Aurum Software of Santa Clara, Calif., delivers a comprehensive SFA solution via a suite of Microsoft offerings in its Aurum SalesTrak package. Mary Coleman, president and CEO of Aurum, said the extended integration with Microsoft addresses an unanswered need in the market.
“Sales-force automation software is uniquely suited for the Microsoft Windows NT platform due to the impressive price/performance potential,”
“We see upward of 30 percent of our sales funnel filled with Microsoft BackOffice opportunities.”
Coleman also said Aurum has integrated SalesTrak with Microsoft BackOffice and plans to support Microsoft Exchange Server as well as Microsoft SQL Server 6.0.
Another market leader, Siebel Systems of Menlo Park, Calif., delivers enterprisewide client-server sales-automation software solutions. Siebel runs exclusively on Windows-based clients (Windows 95, Windows NT, Windows 3.1), and Siebel’s application server runs exclusively on Windows NT.
“Our customers are very large organizations, most of which run multiple servers in deployment,”
said Tom Siebel, president of Siebel Systems.
“Microsoft BackOffice represents a tremendous opportunity for Siebel Systems to deliver large-scale, global sales-information solutions.”
When AlliedSignal Plastics wanted a comprehensive information system for its field-sales team, it turned to SalesKit Software Corp. of St. Louis, Mo. SalesKit was able to make optimal use of AlliedSignal’s existing investment in Microsoft Office by using Microsoft-based SalesKit OPEN to help manage and track key customer, order and product information. OPEN is a suite of object-oriented client-server automation solutions that provide remote data access and synchronization.
“Microsoft and SalesKit combine to provide any solution we give our sales force a seamless upward migration path to take advantage of new releases of applications or major technological breakthroughs such as Windows 95 and Microsoft Exchange Server,”
said Greg McLeod, project leader in the engineered materials sector at AlliedSignal.
“By adopting technologies such as Microsoft’s and SalesKit’s, we can rely on their applications taking advantage of emerging technologies for us.”
Bob Ingersoll, vice president of marketing for SalesKit, said that access to vital Internet resources is a must for mobile professionals,
“But the real key is to make the vast resources of the Net accessible and usable within the context of the customer’s work. SalesKit supports services that enable a salesperson to do a targeted search consistent with the context of the sales activity. For example, when sales reps view accounts within SalesKit, they can press the ‘targeted search’ tool button which, in turn, launches Internet Explorer, and retrieve information about that account directly from the Internet.”
Ingersoll also said that SalesKit would support Microsoft Internet Information Server.
Another major SFA vendor, Brock International Inc. of Atlanta, recently announced its Web page and its intention to include integrated Web solutions free in its TakeControl software in the second half of 1996. Brock will use Microsoft products to support its online information repositories, including Windows NT, Microsoft Internet Information Server, Internet Studio and Microsoft SQL Server.
“We have chosen Microsoft … because we feel Microsoft will set a precedent for a significant part of the Internet activity in the future,”
said Richard Brock, president and CEO of Brock International Inc.
Microsoft today also announced its sales-force automation World Wide Web page. A preview is located at http://www.microsoft.com/industry/sfa. More information from Microsoft on sales-force automation will be available on the page in March, providing up-to-date news on products, solutions and other useful resources for SFA software developers, customers, members of the press and analysts. The page will feature links to other pages of interest, including the main Microsoft home page, consistently among the most visited sites worldwide.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (NASDAQ
) is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.
Microsoft, Windows, BackOffice and Windows NT are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.
SalesTrak is a registered trademark of Aurum Software.
TakeControl is a trademark of Brock International Inc.
ONYX Customer Center, ONYX Customer Center-Unplugged and ONYX Web Wizards are trademarks of ONYX Software.
For more information on the Microsoft SFA home page, please contact Linda Lowe at (206) 702-5266.
Microsoft is located in booth 1238 at the DCI Field and Sales Force Automation (F & SFA) Conference and Exposition, and will also be at the Sales and Marketing Show and Conference in New York next week.
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