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Karen Volkov
Karen Volkov

Buy Database Software



IBM today completed a $1 billion acquisition of Informix Corp.'s database operations that was agreed to earlier this year. The deal is aimed at strengthening IBM's ability to compete with database market leader Oracle Corp.




buy database software



About 2,500 Informix employees are shifting to IBM as part of the deal, and plans call for key technologies such as Informix's analytical tools to be incorporated into future versions of IBM's flagship DB2 Universal Database. IBM, as expected, said it will also continue to sell Informix's existing database products, though DB2 will be the foundation for future offerings.


IBM in April agreed to buy the Informix Software Inc. database operations in Menlo Park, Calif., ending eight months of speculation about the fate of the struggling Informix unit (see story). The sell-off was approved last month by the shareholders of Westboro, Mass.-based Informix (see story).


Now that the purchase has been completed, IBM said the Informix unit will immediately be folded into its own data management division. The database sales forces of the two companies will also be combined, and IBM said it plans to maintain existing business relationships with Informix users and continue supporting and updating the products covered by the deal.


When the deal with IBM was announced, Informix reported that the Ascential division had revenue of $33.3 million in the first quarter and said its annualized sales are in approximately $130 million. Including the now-divested database operations, Informix had total revenue last year of $929.3 million.


Note: This HR Employee database management system can be used in many ways, from handling existing HR functional needs (HRIS), managing a team or workforce, or as an applicant tracking system (ATS) for managing resumes and candidates. It is a powerful and flexible data-driven human capital management system that will support your business processes, without the typical costly capital investment.


The deal instantly transforms Microsoft into a major player in database software--the only significant PC software category in which the company does not have a presence--and poses a major challenge to database leader Borland International.


But just as Borland has faced a tricky challenge in selling both dBase and Paradox, Microsoft now confronts a similar problem: Its own database product, code-named Cirrus, is scheduled to be available later this year.


Zoho offers an extensive suite of SaaS business software, and its CRM offering is a standout tool. Its feature set rivals even behemoth Salesforce. Its latest additions include Zia, an AI-powered analytics engine for spotting sales trends and anomalies; and Canvas, a drag-and-drop interface editor. It doesn't hurt that Zoho CRM is priced within reach of smaller teams.


Freshsales is a solid, entry-level CRM that's suitable for most small to midsize businesses. Although it lacks features when compared to other CRMs, it has lately done a good job of building integrations with other business software, such as calendars, email marketing software, and tools like DocuSign.


Give Freshsales a look if you want a CRM that's functional, but won't overwhelm your sales team with features (particularly if you're already using some of the software on Freshsales' list of integrations). Its lightweight approach should let your team get up to speed and start closing deals, for which they'll thank you.


Zendesk has its roots in help desk software, but it later branched out into CRM. As a result, it's tightly integrated with Zendesk for Service, and its features skew toward help desks more than some other CRMs we tested. Even so, it's feature-rich enough to serve as a general-purpose CRM for any organization.


Apptivo CRM is an affordable and highly customizable platform that aims to be a one-stop solution for all your business software needs. In addition to essential CRM functionality, it also includes tools for such tasks as accounting, invoicing, and project management. It's easy to use and includes support for Android and iOS mobile devices.


Companies that want the convenience of running every aspect of their business from one app will appreciate what Apptivo has to offer. Unfortunately, it has a relatively short list of third-party integrations, so if you've previously used other accounting or project management software, you might find yourself manually importing that data.


In days gone by, Act! led the pack in contact management software. It has since evolved into a more rounded, cloud-based CRM, although it still shows its roots in a dated UI. Act! also has integrated marketing automation features with customizable workflows, and it can connect to Gmail or Outlook (but not very elegantly).


CRM software helps you track contacts and nurture them to build customer loyalty and repeat sales. A good CRM makes the information it gathers accessible to other business platforms via smart software integration. In this way, CRM becomes the epicenter of how you manage your customer's journey, from the first marketing touch, to a closed sale, and on to the next engagement.


This information is a goldmine of opportunity. It lets you identify prospects for up-sell or cross-sell, convert existing customers to new products or services, target new marketing, or track invoices. The software is also a fail-safe because it prevents multiple salespeople from chasing the same prospect. Choosing the right CRM software dramatically improves your team's collaboration and productivity at the same time that it's increasing sales.


For example, initial setup and training can eat up a chunk of the budget. So can upgrades and ongoing support. Integrating the software with existing systems might call for additional equipment. Does the CRM workflow mean the sales or customer service teams will need new PCs, smartphones, or tablets? These costs can quickly add up.


As with any piece of software, it's critical to take advantage of free trials when available. No matter how many reviews you read or demos you watch, you can't fully understand how CRM software works until you use it yourself. Be sure to have colleagues from different departments try out the software, too, so you can understand how successful it is in different situations.


It's tempting to forgo this homework and simply pay for one of the big, all-inclusive CRM software packages just to have access to every feature. That approach will almost certainly wind up costing you more in both time and money, while probably delivering less flexibility than you'd expect. That's because these large CRM software packages are often platforms rather than tools. The numerous features they advertise are the product of integrating with a host of third-party solution providers, not merely options you can turn on. Third-party integration means not only added licensing dollars but also new costs.


A better approach is to first understand how your employees will use the software. Think about what tools your team is currently using and what processes they follow. Figure out how those tasks map to the CRM software you're evaluating. Consider what some of the most common tasks are. For example, if a tool forces users to dig through menus and submenus every time they want to log a call or email, the tool will complicate their jobs instead of simplifying them. More and more CRM tools combine the email and sales experience into a single, smart inbox or centralized dashboard view to manage all or most daily communications and tasks without leaving the CRM tool.


The ways in which companies interact with customers are shifting rapidly. Most customers still expect to interact with you via email, but social media is fast becoming a game-changing technology for interacting with customers. Understand how your company interacts with customers over email and make sure your CRM software complements that relationship and doesn't hinder it. A fully optimized CRM should automatically capture data from email interactions, not force your employees to do that manually.


The other end of the spectrum is what to do when things go wrong. Whether it's a software bug or simply some difficulty using a particular feature, you'll need a responsive support team. You can make that part of your SLA if you've got one, but if you don't, then you'll need to do your own verification:


Make sure to take a close look at the CRM solution's mobile app. This should be a separate app, not just a mobile "capability" (which almost always means a mobile-optimized version of the desktop website). In addition, you shouldn't pay extra for it. Mobile devices are an entirely different breed from desktops or notebooks. Employees use them differently and software renders them differently, which means that business processes that involve them will behave differently.


Make sure your CRM software of choice can support the mobile device platform your team uses. Are you providing every employee an iPhone or is yours a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) environment, which inevitably means supporting multiple platforms? Next, carefully evaluate what the app can do. Some apps offer a read-only view of your sales pipeline or contacts but don't let you make updates until you get back to a computer. Others offer a seamless and responsive experience, letting you do everything on a mobile device that you would on a computer. Don't commit to CRM software until you've used the mobile app in a way you and your team would do on a day-to-day basis. For many SMBs and their agents, the mobile component of a CRM app might be more critical than the desktop version.


Salesforce and other larger CRM platforms have huge feature stacks that are sold as modules, with each module having many related features. If the features are what you need, you can configure your entire solution simply by accessing the right modules. But if something is missing, or your sales staff is simply more comfortable using something else, you may need to use software from third-party vendors to fill gaps. 041b061a72


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