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RightNow CRM Software Technology Review

 

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RightNow Software Technology

Our RightNow technology review incurred an usual dichotomy of strength and weakness.

On the positive side, the CRM application is built on a multi-tenant architecture and offers a powerful, purpose built Cloud Platform framework that includes flexible tools such as the RightNow App Builder, RightNow Knowledge Foundation and RightNow Mission Critical Operations. The underlying architecture includes MySQL, Linux and a variety of software development tools such as PHP (used for the web components) and .NET C# (used for the desktop software). RightNow's software products are for the most part very componentized, permitting customers to turn on or turn off certain capabilities without affecting an entire module or business process. The company provides one sandbox environment with customer subscriptions.

The company has taken an unusual tact in the cloud CRM industry by using a smart-client rather than a thin client architecture. The CRM product uses a heavy "smart client", often referred to as a fat client, download to deliver desktop operation and integration. Too many cloud advocates, requiring local software downloads defeats some of the SaaS value proposition. Mandating local code on every users' PC defeats the thin client/SaaS benefits of simplified upgrades, reduced maintenance and access from anywhere on any PC.

However, RightNow delivers local software upgrades asynchronously in the background about one per quarter. And unlike SaaS CRM vendors which unload their upgrades and new versions in mass and without client consent—sometimes referred to as pulling the Frankenstein switch—RightNow customers are not required to take upgrades at their first availability and in fact have up to 24 months to accept them. This upgrade window can be valuable for testing software customization, system integration or preparing users for new functionality or changes to their CRM system.

RightNow continues a brisk pace of new development releases and software technology enhancements. With the RightNow CX May 2011 release, the company advanced the technology foundation with capabilities such as SAML 2.0 (Security Assertion Markup Language) Open Login to support customer portal authentication through third party identity providers, new polling surveys that can be positioned on the customer portal or external website pages, a new Intent Guide for customer portal searching which displays multiple types of search results (keyword matches, CX Answers, social) in a single page, a new custom Chat API which permits custom or embedded consumer interfaces to extend chat capability in any device that offers a full-featured browser (such as video game council or TV), more automated methods to distribute software code updates to desktops, an improved search engine and several tools improvements.

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RightNow Technologies

 

RightNow Technologies CRM Review

 

 

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