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When You Realized the Need for a Unified View of Your Customers, that is E.piphany

Written By: L. Talarico
Published On: August 16 2000

When You Realized the Need for a Unified View of Your Customers, that is E.piphany
L. Talarico - August 16, 2000

Event Summary

E.piphany, Inc. develops CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software primarily for the Fortune 1000. Their new product suite, E.5, will become available in late August 2000. This suite is the company's first attempt to combine analytical information with such traditional CRM functionality as campaign management, personalization, and customer support tracking. The union was made possible by assimilating software E.piphany acquired from the purchase of Octane Software, a specialist in contact management. The new release manages all inbound and outbound customer contacts from sales, service, and support touch points within the company.

The new suite promises to provide real-time, rules-based personalization by bringing data from clickstreams, customer databases, transaction systems, third-party data, and other sources into one view. These data are accessible any time the customer is on the phone or visiting the website. The software is also capable of creating and tracking concurrent, multi-channel campaigns with varying frequencies. Linking these two capabilities provides significant advantages in marketing and sales because both functions can be managed from a unified view of the customer.

Furthermore, E.5 promises to enhance service and support functions by bringing such information as purchase history and product preferences to service representatives, giving them the ability to cross-sell and repeat-sell products as well as handle complaints.

Market Impact

The E.5 release has enjoyed considerable media attention and brings E.piphany closer to rival Siebel Systems in market awareness. This is good news for E.piphany because the CRM market is becoming increasingly crowded with vendors all claiming to provide similar functions. Furthermore E.piphany has strong references from the likes of Kodak, GTE, and Hilton. Wall Street has rewarded E.piphany with a steady gain in stock price from around $50 in late May to its current price at around $110.

The market for CRM products is booming. TEC estimates the CRM market at $8.5 billion, and predicts a 68% growth this year. E.piphany's growth is well ahead of the curve, generating $24.5 Million in the second quarter 2000, a 70% increase over the previous quarter.

Although E.5 is a revolutionary product that will up the ante for competitors such as Siebel, Clarify, and Broadbase, E.5 still lacks tight integration with ERP and other back-end systems. This creates a dilemma for companies with ERP systems in place that are looking to add CRM functionality. There is currently a tradeoff between purchasing a top notch CRM product from E.piphany or Siebel that is disconnected from your ERP, or a CRM module from an ERP vendor such as SAP or Peoplesoft that is tightly integrated with the ERP system but does not have the functionality of a dedicated CRM suite.

User Recommendations

Firms considering the implementation of a CRM product should strongly consider one or many of the six modules available. Close competitors to also consider are Siebel and Broadbase. Firms should also become aware of smaller, best of breed CRM products that have limited scope, but better functionality in specific areas. Although these niche products may not easily integrate with other parts of a different vendor's CRM system, they are smaller products that carry less implementation risk than large suites.

Furthermore, CRM software has to be complemented with significant organizational change. These systems are intended to support customer-centric business processes. First and foremost, departments have to be willing to share information freely. A unified view of the customer is not possible unless each department is willing to share data with the rest of the organization. Marketing has to redesign campaigns to take advantage of one-to-one marketing, and service representatives have to be empowered to sell. Firms looking to purchase CRM software must be prepared to make these and other changes if they plan on exploiting the benefits of the software.

 
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