BACKGROUND: Altus Biologics Inc., based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is developing and commercializing a new class of high-performance industrial catalysts based on a novel and proprietary technology for stabilizing enzymes. The company's initial products, CLEC or Cross-Linked Enzyme Crystals, are designed to solve critical process chemistry and protein stability issues for a broad array of industrial applications including the manufacture of pharmaceuticals, fine and specialty chemicals, the destruction of chemical warfare agents and as a key component of commercial detergent products. Since 1994, Altus has introduced ten products to the marketplace.
PLATFORMS: Altus runs iSALES on a Mac Power PC server running Mac OS 7.6.1., which is accessed by client users on Mac 6100, 7200 and G3 clients and by remote (PPC) users on Mac duodock 2300c laptops.
PROBLEM SOLVED: Altus has a very small, highly mobile, multinational sales force, whose members make it into the home office about four times per year. A marketing, tech support and customer support team in the home office complements the efforts of the sales team. These groups must all have access to up-to-the-minute information about customers and potential customers. The obstacles to be overcome were distribution of the team, multiple time zones and little coincident/concurrent contact.
PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: iSALES allows sales, marketing, tech support and customer support personnel to store and share data about customer contacts in real time, across geographical boundaries and permits partitioning of the data so that each job function can see all the data they need to but can be shielded from unnecessary information.
STRENGTHS: Altus sales representatives who use iSALES said that they were much better at coordinating with the client than those who didn't use it. The benefits of the program were confirmed when an assessment and evaluation of Altus' customers was made by the international sales and marketing division. Both existing and potential customers mentioned that the Altus' sales staff was extremely technically competent and that they had excellent follow through on meetings, conversations, inquiries, etc. The president of Altus has used other methods and contact managers, but this integrated package is in the affordable range for a small company and has more capabilities and flexibility than other products.
WEAKNESSES: iSALES does not offer any way to organize data by "projects"--which we define as sales in which our biological product is used by a customer in the development of a product of their own. iSALES does not handle material transfer agreements, one- and two-way confidentiality agreements, custom product development contracts and process development contracts.
ENDPOINT! is currently discussing using Altus' paradigms for contracts and projects as a starting point to eventually incorporate this functionality to benefit all iSALES users.
SELECTION CRITERIA: iSALES is very afforable and a great value for the price considering the size of the sales force.
DELIVERABLES: iSALES delivers a synchronized system to coordinate the efforts of various sales groups within the company which allows them access to the same database, no matter where they are physically based.
VENDOR SUPPORT: Pre- and post-implementation support is good and highly personalized. Altus feels that ENDPOINT! knows us well and has made a great effort to understand our business paradigm.
DOCUMENTATION: User documentation is readable and well-presented, but a separate administrator's manual would also be helpful.
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