Launches E.6 Service for call centers; allies Tibco for system-to-system integration; best architecture, says analyst
Posted Aug 22, 2002
CRM software vendor E.piphany unleashed a slew of announcements this week, centering on its completion of the E.6 platform. Having already shipped E.6 Marketing and E.6 Sales, E.piphany rolled out E.6 Service.
Specifically, E.6 Service is a family of customer-service applications that provide functionality such as a queue for telephony, email and Web self-service interactions. The suite also sends out automated email responses to customers and scripts 'dialogs' that help call-center agents field questions.
E.6 Service is the last major prong to the E.6 platform, an applications environment developed with J2EE. The key to the E.6 platform is its component-based architecture, which basically means applications are built on building-blocks of code. Thus, customers can configure, maintain and even upgrade CRM applications quickly because they don't have to overhaul the vast majority of underlying code.
E.piphany E.6 received kudos from market researcher Patricia Seybold Group, in a comparison study that included Oracle, PeopleSoft, SAP and Siebel CRM product suites. "Clearly, E.piphany E.6 is the best architecture in the group of five CRM architectures that we evaluated," stated the report. "It's open, flexible, easily customizable through metadata, and offers a broad range of approaches for integration of external applications." Industry leader Siebel, on the other hand, received poor marks. "Siebel 7 is virtually a completely proprietary architecture. We're concerned that Siebel is moving away from best practices, even common sense," the Patricia Seybold report concludes.
Refuting the Seybold report, Ed Abbo, senior vice president of technology at Siebel, cites more than 3,000 successfully deployed customers. In the latest customer survey, Siebel claims 97 percent of respondents reported that Siebel's architecture is in line with corporate IT architectural directions. "In order to declare an architecture as 'best,' it needs to be proven in the field," Abbo says. "We did not participate in the Patricia Seybold evaluation... and as far as we know, it's a 'pay per' exercise."
Concerning openness and integration, Abbo says Siebel 7.5, planned for release later this year, will expose business processes through Web services. Indeed, a good architecture must enable CRM applications to integrate easily with other enterprise applications.
To this end, E.piphany also announced a global alliance with Tibco Software. The deal calls for integrating E.piphany's entire CRM suite with Tibco's enterprise application integration (EAI) software. In turn, enterprise resource planning, supply chain management and procurement applications plug into Tibco's EAI layer, enabling data and process sharing with CRM. "Our alliance will work to address looming customer requirements around integrating CRM with back-end systems, reducing implementation costs and providing valuable customer information to front-line employees," said Keith Goldstein, vice president of global alliances at Tibco, in a statement.
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