Ken Olson, founder of Digital Equipment Corporation, once said that the technology life cycle goes through three phases - do it, do it right and do it fast. Maybe that was true of mini-computers, but today I would amend it to something like: do it, lower the cost and make it small. If you look at the software market that's certainly where a lot of vendors and solutions are going - take CRM, for example.CRM has been around for a long time and we could argue that CRM reached its "do it" stage when the first integrated suites came onto the market about five years ago. And even more recently, of course, the cost of CRM was made dramatically lower when on-demand computing matured enough to make hosted CRM a reliable business tool. The leading edge of CRM today is in the "make it small" phase.

A lot of people might think that with hosting, CRM achieved both low cost and "smallness" and to an extent they are right. But the smallness of early hosting relied as much on a relative dearth of functionality as it did on ease of implementation and maintenance. Today's hosted CRM is becoming as feature rich and functional as its licensed counterpart. Small is evolving in CRM right now as more functionality, technology and value are crammed into an average monthly user fee that fits comfortably into the definition of walking around money.

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