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The Top 10 CRM Software Systems in Southeast Asia—Safecom Peppercan


An Independent Review of SafeCom's Peppercan SaaS Solution

Safecoms Network Security Consulting Co. Ltd. is a Thailand Board of Investment (BOI) registered company based in Bangkok with approximately 35 employees and primary lines of business in auditing, consulting, project management and business software applications development.

The company has developed Peppercan, which is an "Enterprise Management Tools/Suite" delivered remotely using the SaaS (Software as a Service) or cloud model. Peppercan software was selected as a winner of the Thailand ICT Award in the application and infrastructure category. SafeComs is experiencing some local growth, and has very big plans, even commenting, "At this stage, we set an aim for about several 100s of millions of USD for even capturing a very small market share of this business."

The Safecoms Peppercan solution is designed for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to use business software automation to increase company competitiveness and staff productivity. The business software suite includes integrated modules for Customer Relationship Management (CRM), project management, events, automated emailing, sales automation, quoting and finance.

CRM Software Suite

Peppercan offers a CRM software application integrated with a broader business software suite. However, looking mostly at the CRM software, its capabilities fall along traditional Customer Relationship Management software features of account management, contact management, activity management and opportunity management.

Where Peppercan begins to show differentiation is with its integrated business software suite. The integrated Project Manager software is appealing to professional services organisations with deliver or implement solutions after the sale.

The quoting and invoice functions extend traditional front-office CRM software with back-office capabilities and manage much of the quote to cash process. Also, with the finance software integration, regulatory compliance such as automated report generation for VAT, withholding tax and monthly accounts receivables are all automated. Peppercan also integrates with MYOB and Quickbooks accounting software systems.

SafeComs developed Peppercan software using the Ruby on Rails framework. Ruby on Rails is an open source web development framework created in 2003 and has grown significantly worldwide and in the Asia Pacific region. Ruby on Rails is supported by more than 2,100 contributors and an extensive support ecosystem, and has been gaining steady traction among developers located throughout Southeast Asia—particularly in China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.

Peppercan may operate on a mobile device, however, because the CRM and business software application is not developed for any particular mobile operating system (i.e. iOS or Droid), it takes a browser-based (lowest common denominator) approach and is not optimised for mobile device form factors. This can negatively impact the mobile operation and user experience.

The SaaS subscription cost is approximately Baht 1,500 to Baht 2,000 per user per month, or approximately US$45 to US$60 per user per month. Discounts are available for larger numbers of users. Peppercan offers a free trial version in order to test and review the software before committing to a subscription agreement. The company also offers a 100 percent money-back guarantee program if the software product fails to satisfy the customer.

Southeast Asia Support

Peppercan is available in English, Thai, French, and Finnish. The company is said to be working on Japanese and Chinese language editions, but these Asian languages seem to be running behind.

The company does not currently manage business partners in South East Asia, however is seeking business partners throughout Australasia and Europe in order to grow its business.

In part due to the company's other lines of business, Peppercan may partner with typical business software companies (such as Value Added Resellers (VARs), system integrators and software technology professional service firms) as well as atypical technology service providers such as accounting firms, management consultants, HR companies and strategy consultants.

At this time there is no offline or online Peppercan community other than support from Safecoms.

CRM Software Cloud Delivery

Peppercan delivers its CRM software from a data center and cloud platform based in Thailand that it calls PepperCloud. For a small company, Peppercan's cloud delivery is nearly as strong as some of the very large cloud CRM vendors. All data in transit (to and from the PepperCloud) is guarded by SSL encryption, data at rest may be encrypted, data center equipment, power and Internet connectivity are all designed with redundancy, data is mirrored on two different locations, data is automatically backed up on a daily basis and data backups are periodically transferred to an offsite location. Clearly the knowledge and experience from Peppercan parent organization, Safecoms, plays a helpful role in maximising data center uptime and information security.

Peppercan CRM Strengths

  • Peppercan offers local support for companies in Thailand. For the broader Southeast Asia region, Safecoms is well positioned to support customers throughout South East Asia with either same time zone or only minus one hour time difference.
  • Peppercan software is extremely simple and easy to use. Customers report deploying and operating Peppercan software quickly and without external consultants.
  • Peppercan is a good 'starter' CRM system offered at a competitive price point. A typical software subscription costs 1,500 Baht per user per month, with discounts available as the number of users increases.
  • Peppercan offers CRM software as part of a larger business software suite which includes Customer Relationship Management, Product Management, Quoting, Pricing, Invoicing and Company Finances.
  • The CRM and business software is browser neutral, and my operate on MS Internet Explorer, Firefox and Safari.

Peppercan CRM Weaknesses

  • With the exception of Thailand, there is no local support for other countries in Southeast Asia.
  • Compared to the competitor CRM systems which are aggressively growing in the region, there has been limited uptake of Peppercan in either the Southeast Asia region or the broader Asia Pacific region.
  • The CRM software product does not offer social CRM tools or capabilities.
  • The CRM software User Interface is reasonable but basic. It does not compare well with competitors who better leverage consumer technologies into the CRM system for a more intuitive and rewarding user experience.
  • The underlying software technology is not as strong as many cloud CRM competitors. The SaaS product does not offer a Platform as a Service (PaaS) customization toolkit and is not a multi-tenant architecture—which can pose delays for creating and provisioning new software versions and upgrades. In a cloud CRM industry where upgrades containing significant new features and capabilities are released quarterly, or no more than semi-annually, Peppercan innovation and product advancements lag competitors.

Short List Peppercan Software When:

  • You require a Thai language CRM system.
  • You seek a cloud CRM system with a data center and data storage in Thailand.
  • You are looking for a CRM system that also empowers your sales people to create quotes, initiate sale orders and automate much of the order to cash cycle.
  • You are an SME looking for CRM software with tight integration to project management and finance software.

Consider Alternative CRM Software When:

  • You require local support in an Asian country other than Thailand.
  • Seeking a vertical market CRM software system or a CRM system that also supports social CRM capabilities.
  • You desire a CRM system with integration to a more full-featured accounting system or ERP software system.
  • You want to deploy your CRM system on-premise or in a private cloud.

Next—Sage CRM in Asia Review >>

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