The government's CRM National Programme is firing up its efforts to get all local authorities to implement CRM as a cornerstone of their e-government strategies, in a move that will ignite public-sector opportunities for VARs.
Currently about 200 of the 388 authorities in England are engaged in CRM roll-outs. The remainder are being encouraged to take up the technology to help them meet the 2005 deadline for getting all council services online.
The National Programme will give local councils information to help them identify the benefits of CRM and provide tools that will allow councils to calculate the return on investment it brings.
Rod Matthews, head of information society at Knowsley Metropolitan Borough Council, said technology, such as CRM, that links information is vital to local government.
"All local government authorities will need some kind of product that brings information together," he said. "Two hundred [councils with CRM] is not that many, and even after implementation there are lots of other things to do to make it work."
In a bid to win a share of this market, CRM vendor Onyx Software has launched a new certification for its resellers. The company's Local Government Partner Certification is designed to give VARs training for its OneServe 5.0 CRM products, which are targeted at the sector.
"With the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister citing CRM as a cornerstone technology for e-government, it is critical for authorities to find partners that can prove they have the expertise to deliver projects quickly and efficiently," said Paul Trefonas, director of sales and marketing for EMEA at Onyx.
But George Sanger, head of sales and marketing at reseller Knowledge IT, claimed that in this lucrative market it can often be difficult for smaller suppliers to get a look-in.
"Local government is an area we are targeting, but the problem is they always go for low prices rather than people in their own backyard. So they end up working with the big suppliers," he said.
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