SFFA: Which EMA players are most focused on the Web?
TG: Well, everyone is trying to figure out what to do on the Internet to improve their presence, serve, sell and market to customers on the Web. There is a flurry of all types of products to address that. Some players, like Market First and Annuncio, are more focused on the Web than anything else and that's good. CallPoint and WebPoint from RightPoint is interesting; it connects campaign management tools to execution environments--which for the moment we call campaign matching.
SFFA: What should our readers be wary of with these emerging players?
TG: Unfortunately, there is a downside since these players are young. They often don't link up very well with other channels of communication, including call centers and face-to-face communications with customers. The ultimate goal is multichannel marketing. For that to happen, you need synchronization of data and processes, so that the sales process can integrate marketing intelligence and the service process can integrate sales processes.
And for CRM vendors, like Siebel and Vantive, there is a need to adopt a much more conciliatory or piecepart player role. Today, they position themselves in the center of traditional CRM. Really, though, with their current solutions, the best they can do is to provide just a part of one of the channels of communication like a call center. They do a poor job of coordinating and synchronizing the rest of the channels.
As for ERP vendors, they will change some things. Obviously they don't have the challenge that a Siebel or Vantive has in having to build interfaces to the back office. They get that out of the box, which is good for users too, until integration becomes easier. While many of the front-office vendors today can offer integration, it is sometimes problematic because it requires partnerships. The trade-off with ERP solutions, however, is that their solutions during the next couple of years will be less functional and capable. So companies willing not to sacrifice best-of-breed for something pretty good and integratable will be happy with what an Oracle offers today or what SAP will offer a year from now.