SmartFocus, a good solution that is getting better all the time

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Content Copyright © 2006 Bloor. All Rights Reserved.

It has been two years since I last looked at smartFocus, and
they have not stood still. By floating they have raised the capital
to transform their product, from good but limited, to very good and
expansively able to address the needs of the modern marketer. The
obvious strength of the smartFocus I looked at two years ago was a
strong analytical framework built around a very intuitive
interface. But there was little in the way of a delivery

As marketers strive to create effective closed loop systems and
wish to avoid complex systems integration, smartFocus have
addressed this by acquiring AIMS, a campaign management tool. This
gives them the ability to execute closely integrated, multi-wave,
multi-stage campaigns. AIMS was also an enterprise solution whilst
smartFocus was probably seen more as a mid tier or departmental
solution. By integrating the solutions, smartFocus is now scalable,
robust and all things associated with earnest enterprise level
computing, but also has the simple, effective, intimacy of its
original analysis suite where that is required. The front-end tools
are all based on the Microsoft .NET framework and this provides a
familiar look and feel to the applications, as well as providing a
rich source of functionality that can be readily inherited into the

The growing importance of the web to any trading company is
being catered for by further extensions within the family of
products, so that the complete stack can cater for everything from
analysis to execution, both on-line and off-line. The component
parts are:

  • smartServer, the engine that can be run
    against open relational databases and provides an ability to
    operate very close to the real-time operations of the transactional
    systems. One of the things, which may not be apparent to the casual
    observer, is that smartFocus have a pedigree in the area of data
    quality and unlike some of their high profile competitors
    understand that long-term marketing solutions require data of
    assured integrity to build sustainable results. This is a
    differentiator that I believe will become increasingly important as
    we continue to see mergers and acquisitions and increasing reliance
    on marketing to achieve results in a commodity world.
  • smartMarketer, essentially the product that I
    was so struck by two years ago, a comprehensive yet easy to use
    analysis suite which can be used to really understand a
  • smartChannel, the integration of the analysis
    into actions across all of the channels employed within an
    enterprise, and which allows smartFocus to integrate with and
    enrich existing CRM investements.
  • smartResults, the display of outcomes tailored
    to the needs of the various parties who need to know what is going

Clearly smartFocus has come a long way in two years but they are
not resting there—they recognise that there is more that can
be done, in advancing the use of analytics to broaden and deepen
insight, and in moving towards effective real-time decision-making
in customer facing channels. In common with many of the companies
that I see as being market leaders, smartFocus do not design and
produce their product on the back on deliberations away from the
real world, they are busy in the real world evangelising and
helping their customers to obtain the biggest payback from their
investment in smartFocus applications. This gives smartFocus
intimate knowledge of the business process and a real understanding
of the needs of their customers, so that smartFocus is not a
sterile piece of software but an evolving solution which meets real
needs, and I continue to be impressed.