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The Top 10 CRM Software Systems in Southeast Asia—AquaCRM


An Independent Review of AquaCRM by AquaOrange Software

AquaCRM Software is the trading name of AquaOrange Software (aka ThaiCRM Software) and is a leading provider in Thailand of CRM software applications developed on the LAMP stack and designed for small and medium sized businesses. In addition to the headquarters office in Bangkok, the company maintains development operations in Mumbai and New Delhi, India. While a horizontal CRM solution, the CRM software has also been adapted for a number of vertical industries including healthcare and real estate.

CRM Software Suite

The AquaCRM suite includes sales, marketing and customer support as well as several software modules that extend beyond traditional CRM software, including modules for Products, Inventory, Purchasing, Vendors and Sales Order Processing. Aqua CRM product capabilities include the following.

Lead Management: The lead management module supports the capture and management of sales leads, some lead management automation, web to lead forms, lead imports, lead assignment and lead conversion into sale opportunities.

Contact Management. The contact manager module tracks contacts and sale opportunities, and also has the ability to set up contact assignment rules to automatically route contacts to sales staff. The contact manager can synchronize contacts between AquaCRM and Outlook with the AquaCRM plug-in for Microsoft Outlook. With the AquaCRM plug-in, mail merge documents can be created from Microsoft Office. The contact manager also supports the integration of POP enabled email such as Gmail, Hotmail and Yahoo! using the AquaMail add-on for CRM. Contacts can be imported from third party applications using the import wizard, web forms or the AquaCRM API (Application Programming Interface).

Campaign Management. The campaign management module profiles marketing campaigns with marketing activities, campaign hierarchies and campaign objectives. Campaign metrics can be developed and measured by linking directly to leads and opportunities. Customer inquiries and sales closures can be tracked by campaign. Unfortunately, like many CRM systems, AquaCRM does not perform the actual campaign distributions, nurture marketing, digital tracking, lead scoring or automated lead transfer. If needed, these marketing activities would need to be performed in a separate marketing automation system.

Customer Support. AquaCRM supports basic customer service management functions such as case management, web to case forms, case assignment and simple escalation through workflow rules. Customer specific emails can be synchronized as cases from a Microsoft Outlook mail client to the case function in AquaCRM. There is a simple Knowledgebase product which centralises articles and resolutions for future reference. The customer support module may accommodate simple help desk type environments, however, more sophisticated contact centers requiring multiple channel support and advanced contact center software functionality such as computer telephony integration (CTI) with inbound screen pops, unified communications, hosted automated call distribution (ACD), interactive voice response (IVR), call routing based on workflow rules, call recording and interaction tracking, and various other tools essential for contact center operations will likely not find this software suite adequate.

Sales Quotes. The sales quotation module supports configurable quote creation using the integrated AquaCRM email feature. Sale orders and invoices can then be created with one click from the sales quote. Quoting accesses the product and price book modules which support product catalogues and multiple price books which can be assigned by customer segmentation or with flat or differential type volume discounts.

Business Intelligence. The Aqua CRM software includes simple dashboards which deliver graphical views of sales and service data, a set of packaged reports and a report designer/report generator. The report designer allows for the selection of specific CRM data which can be represented in tabular and summary reports.

Mobility is supported on the Android, BlackBerry, iOS (iPhone and iPad) and Windows platforms.

Despite being a small company with very limited global reach, the CRM software is available in several languages including Arabic, Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, German, Indonesian, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Turkish.

The AquaCRM software is priced at $19/user/month in the SaaS model or $600 per license in the client/server, on-premise model. For on-premise installation, AquaCRM server specifications include Windows NT/2000/2003/XP/Vista, Red Hat 7.2/8.0/9.0, Debian 3.0, SuSe 9.0, Mandrake 10.0, or Fedora 3.0 Linux.

Southeast Asia Support

AquaCRM does not manage an online community or have business partners in Southeast Asia and is instead supported centrally out of Thailand. The company does have a strategic alliance with a Mumbai, India based international I.T. consulting and outsourcing advisory firm which may play a role in larger, enterprise CRM software deployments.

CRM Software Cloud Delivery

The on-premise edition of AquaCRM tends to be more popular for customers in and around Thailand. The reasons for this are local support is available in Thailand, and the fact that many small and midsize businesses (SMBs) have a small in house IT team to implement and support an in house software application. The SaaS CRM software edition may be more suitable for customers in other countries in Southeast Asia. AquaOrange Software does not publish the location of its data center that delivers the AquaCRM application, which poses questions about the redundancy and reliability of the data center. Its also unclear whether the cloud CRM solution includes a Service Level Agreement (SLA).

AquaCRM Strengths

  • This is a solid, low cost, "starter" CRM solution. With both on-premise and SaaS CRM available, and being attractively priced, is can be an ideal solution for SMBs in Southeast Asia.
  • The Studio module permits simple drag and drop modification of forms and fields. Security is configured by user, role, profile or group. Both software customization and security settings are simple and largely sufficient for SMB's, but will fall short for enterprises or companies looking for more advanced options.
  • Sound technical support with local support available for Thailand companies.
  • AquaCRM may be appealing for healthcare CRM needs, insurance business CRM, real estate CRM, and retail/wholesale CRM. For example, the Aqua CRM healthcare services include strategic planning, communication services, consulting services, CRM for physicians, database construction, predictive segmentation, and communications strategies.
  • Geographically, AquaOrange Software is well positioned to support clients throughout South East Asia with either same time zone or only one hour time difference.

AquaCRM Weaknesses

  • For the cloud CRM solution, the hosting data center and Service Level Agreement are serious question marks. Without a Tier IV data center and the proper certifications (such as ISO 27001), the probability of CRM software downtime increases dramatically. The lack of an SLA is particularly troublesome.
  • CRM software functionality is somewhat minimal, therefore, software customization may be required to achieve particular business processes or obtain full CRM benefits.
  • AquaOrange / ThaiCRM Software does not offer a PaaS (Platform as a Service) type customization toolkit. This means that software customization may require more technical resources and custom coding, and may require changes to source code, thereby impacting customer support and future upgrades.
  • With the exception of Thailand, there is no local support for other countries in South East Asia.
  • With the exception of some minimal content by AquaOrange / ThaiCRM Software, there are no online communities for peer to peer support.
  • Aqua CRM has yet to embrace or include social CRM feature sets.

Short List AquaCRM Software When:

  • You are an SMB in Southeast Asia seeking a low cost and easy to use CRM solution.
  • You prefer open source technologies such as the LAMP stack.
  • You are in the healthcare or real estate industries.
  • You have not yet decided whether you want an on-premise or cloud CRM system, or you may want to change deployment models in the future.
  • You require a Bahasa Indonesia language CRM system.

Consider Alternative CRM Software When:

  • You require more extensive feature sets or enterprise CRM functionality.
  • You want a CRM system that also supports social CRM capabilities.
  • You need a Thai language CRM system.
  • You want local support and you are not based in Thailand.
  • You seek a vendor-supported CRM and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system that integrates both CRM and back-office processes in an end to end fashion.

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