Enterprise software vendor Infinium has joined forces with Australian-based services organisation Dialog Information Technology to deliver another application for IBM's popular AS400 operating environment.
Previously the domain of mainly enterprise resource planning and financials applications, Infinium is now offering customer relationship management (CRM) with Dialog supporting implementation and custom development.
Having recently acquired successful Dutch CRM vendor Dexton, US-based Infinium has been able to hit the ground running with a CRM suite with a 12-year heritage. It has subsequently developed it for the AS400 environment, which is extremely popular on high-end projects.
According to Peter Ton, the former owner of Dexton who is now with Infinium, e-commerce is driving new demand for robust CRM applications on highly available servers.
"Companies that are migrating to e-business are having to totally reinvent their businesses to get a total view of what is going on for one-to-one marketing," Ton said. "Behind all that is a powerful and mission-critical database which becomes the fundamental ingredient to successful CRM."
Ton concurred that because CRM has to be integrated to ERP for best results and return on investment, the AS400 offers a great opportunity for Infinium to differentiate itself in the market.
"IBM sees it as a great new application for its AS400 platform and that will be good for us in going to market."
Although Infinium's distribution model in the US is almost 100 per cent direct, Australia is different. According to Paul Rahme, Infinium's county manager for Australia, the vendor has no sales force locally, just a maintenance and service support team. All CRM sales will go through Dialog and its partnering channels, he said, and he is expecting to secure about 2.5 per cent of the Australian market.
"AS400 is huge in Australia," Rahme said. "IBM has about 4-5000 [AS400] customers and we expect to land about 20-30 implementations in the first 12 months at a cost [to customers] of between $100,000-300,000 each.
"If [Infinium] could secure just 1 per cent of AS400 sites worldwide, we would have 10 times the revenues of the market leader [Seibel]."
Ton said that the channel companies most suited to selling the Infinium CRM would be existing AS400 independent software developers "as a great value-add to the ERP and financials they are already selling". Additionally, the "consultancy firms one rung down the ladder from the big five" would also be attracted to its potential.