IBM and Clear Technologies announced a strategic alliance to deliver C2 CRM, a Web-based customer loyalty solution that helps organizations better support their customers, partners and employees. The IBM/Clear Technologies solutions will target North American mid-market customers in the wholesale distribution, industrial and services industries. Technology analysts predict the U.S. SMB market alone will spend more than $40 billion on CRM software over the next ten years.

Additionally, analysts suggest CRM applications may suffer from their own complexity. Mid-size companies that outgrow PC-based contact managers cannot necessarily digest an all- encompassing ERP-style CRM solution. As Gartner, Inc. reports, SMBs don't want large enterprise solutions at discount prices or with minor modifications, such as a few features turned off. SMBs want products and services designed, priced and delivered from vendors that understand their needs and are committed to meeting them.

Combined IBM and Clear Technologies solutions are designed for rapid implementation and minimal training to accelerate user adoption across an organization. A Web-based 30-module CRM solution that is customized to client requirements, Clear Technologies' C2 currently is used by a number of prominent mid-sized corporations. By offering C2, IBM and Clear aim to provide a comprehensive, modular solution that can be rapidly implemented and can be scaled appropriately as the organization grows.

C2 CRM is designed to help mid-market companies increase organizational efficiency, strengthen customer loyalty, boost sales, improve business processes and increase marketing effectiveness. Accessible to everyone in the organization via the web, C2 offers instant access to critical customer and prospect information to enable users to maximize their opportunities and increase customer satisfaction.

Under the terms of the agreement, the two companies will jointly market C2 running on the IBM eServer iSeries, pSeries and xSeries hardware platforms and related operating systems, storage devices and IBM middleware technologies including WebSphere, Lotus and DB2 database software.

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