Thank Sage Group, the parent to the Best Software, for providing us with a gauge for the way CRM sales have been going.
Sure, a lot of companies have reported strong sales of CRM. Microsoft says that it has had 1,000 installations of Microsoft CRM since its launch earlier this year.
Accpac president David Hood has reported that his company is selling one CRM package for every five accounting software packages.
But Sage gave some numbers for its first half ended March 31 that let us compare its sales of CRM products to revenue for accounting products, because Sage still reports the revenue from Interact, the unit that markets Act and SalesLogix, separately from the rest of its U.S. operates.
Interact revenue reached $49.7 million, up 21 percent from the prior year, while it had operating revenue of $7.3 million. That compares to a 7.5 percent increase for all U.S. revenue, a 4 increase for its accounting business, and 11 percent for Peachtree.
Those Interact numbers support the interest that many top accounting software VARs are showing in CRM, although we have to accept Accpac and Microsoft at their word about the strength of sales, since Microsoft only provides financial results at the divisional level, and Accpac, as a subsidiary of Computer Associates, does not show them at all.
All clearly isn’t well yet with CRM. Siebel, which recently acquired UpShot, showed a steep drop in product revenue in its most recent quarter. And then there is Front Range Limited, the South African company whose U.S. operations market GoldMine and Heat. License revenue dropped to $37 million, down 18 percent, for the year ended in June, at a company that derives 66 percent of its revenue from North America. Nevertheless, the company turned around from a large loss a year ago to a modest profit.
Nevertheless, you have to think that, given the numbers from Sage and the optimism for Best and Accpac, the CRM market really is improving. Whether it’s the year of CRM or not, there are buyers. And that’s all the market really needs.
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