As many of you reading this know, each year, I produce, with the help of many of the great influencers in the CRM, customer experience and social worlds, a competition for emerging customer-facing technology companies called CRM Idol. Somewhere between 45-60 contestants have to demo their products and company, then if they make it past the first round, participate in an in-depth interview with two influencers and pretty much their entire senior staff and then if they make it past that to the finals – and only 5 do – they have to do a video (required) and that is subject to voting both via public venues and among some 75 other influential judges that span the customer-facing world from the technology vendors to the analysts to the buyers to the journalists. As one of the partners at a Tier One venture capital firm told me, “the winner is the most vetted company in the world.”
Well, from our initial pool of 45, we are down to the five finalists and each of them has a story to tell – which they are going to have to tell with their video that will be posted up across the globe in late November.
But what I want to do with this post is tell you a little about each of the finalists. Since they are finalists in the competition, I’ve made a deliberate effort to leave out the judgments and the opinions as much as possible.
In alphabetical order:
- BlueCamroo – A complete small business suite that has all the basic and specialized tools and applications to run a small business from collaboration to project management, BlueCamroo’s greatest strength is the workflows associated with the tasks and actions that the applications enable. They are a 2013 returnee to CRM Idol. CRM Idol 2013 BlueCamroo review.
- Cirruspath – Their product Cirrus Insight, is perhaps the most specific and simple product in the entire contest, much less among the finalists. They provide an integration of Google Apps and Gmail with salesforce.com. They fill a significant need being the #1 app on the AppExchange for that integration. CRM Idol 2013 Cirruspath review.
- Mindtouch – Effectively, Mindtouch provides Knowledge as a Service (KaaS) with a strong bias toward customer service problem solving and interactions. Mindtouch used well sits between CRM and customer service systems, web self-service, user forums, Facebook and other social channels, chat systems and helpdesk – and aggregates the necessary information to solve problems via knowledge via their sophisticated API. CRM Idol 2013 Mindtouch review.
- Next Principles – Their Insight-to-Action analytics platform is focused around those metrics and the information that leads to increased customer engagement. They are able to monitor and analyze events, social conversations and even communities among many other sources. One of their strong points is their integrations with CRM applications and services – among them salesforce.com, SugarCRM, SAP and Microsoft Dynamics CRM. Next Principles is a returnee to the CRM Idol contestant. CRM Idol 2013 Next Principles review
- UserVoice – a customer experience focused application that not only provides multi-channel customer service but channels for customer feedback and input. Their focus is around a service driven customer experience. CRM Idol 2013 UserVoice review
The CRM Idol 2013 judges and “the crowd” will choose a single global winner for CRM Idol that will be announced on December 18 after the popular and judges’ votes on the videos and the companies are in.
Stay tuned. We’re now in the home stretch and it’s a homestretch with no obvious winner. But after the votes are all in, we will have one – and only one.
The engines are revved up. Vroom.
(Cross-posted @ ZDNet | Social CRM: The Conversation Blog RSS)