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NetLedger Adds PRM to Product Mix

NetLedger is expanding its accounting-CRM online application to include more sophisticated partner relationship management functionality. The company has built on a basic PRM module called Advanced Partner Center.

NetLedger rolled out its original CRM app with PRM as part of the mix, Mini Peiris, senior CRM product manager, told CRM Buyer Magazine. “But it did have some limitations,” she said. For example, it was restricted in what users could do in terms of reporting joint cases. “A user could check the status but not add a case,” she said.

Now, its feature set has been expanded to include the following:

  • Joint opportunity management, which provides visibility into the sales forecast from resellers;
  • Real-time access to distribution partners for streamlined order and inventory management;
  • Promotional discounts and marketing campaigns;
  • Sharing access to cases and contact history with partners;
  • Increased partner knowledge by sharing sales and product information via publishing; and
  • Ability to protect confidential information using multiple permission levels and flexible customization.

    This version of NetLedger’s PRM module adds the abilities to track leads sent to partners and to provide forecasting and opportunity management for partners, president Zach Nelson told CRM Buyer.”It was a big architectural change for us to expose that level of functionality in an ASP (application service provider) model,” he said.

    Integrated Back and Front Office

    Thus far, NetLedger’s claim to fame has been its push into the online integrated front- and back-end space. In other words, it offers a combined accounting and CRM application.

    Other vendors, notably Salesforce.com, have announced plans to offer similar capabilities. The Salesforce.com billing app, which a number of existing customers have already seen, will include collections management and order processing.

    However, NetLedger brings the front- and back-office integrated suite to the table right now, Yankee Group analyst Sheryl Kingstone pointed out. “Going forward, you can expect to see that some 60 percent of new CRM deals will be back-office driven,” she told CRM Buyer.

    Online PRM

    Moving into the PRM space is new territory for NetLedger, though. PRM has been garnering interest of late — due in large part to Siebel’s ever-expanding PRM module. Best-of-breed vendors, while at the same time grappling with Siebel for market share, at the very least get to ride its coattails as far as market education goes.

    But very few vendors target the small and mid-size business PRM space. “NetLedger deserves credit for selecting the most relevant features to include in a PRM module, on the one hand, and keeping its footprint thin enough so that their targeted customers — small and medium businesses — can work with it,” AMR Research senior analyst Louis Columbus told CRM Buyer. In particular, he cited the company’s ability to handle e-mailed and faxed orders.

    “NetLedger has also created an approach in their PRM application to track leads and sales by partner code, define different pricing levels by code, and create a secured partner portal for handling periodic communications to the field,” he continued. “For the intended market segment, the software is well designed with just the features this market needs.”

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