Currently, the central piece (often missing) in the platform suite puzzle is customer analytics--the key to true personalization. Despite market turbulence, many analysts regard E.piphany's expertise in analytics as a sign of the company's high promise as an industry leader. Kevin Yeaman, the firm's CFO, discusses E.piphany's E.5 product suite, its role in the market place and its vision for the future with CRM contributor Brett Anderson.
CRM: What's driving the current focus on analytics in the CRM market?
Kevin Yeaman: CRM is not just about automating tasks. Companies are demanding a deeper level of understanding of their customers, while their customers are demanding a deeper level of one-to-one communication across multiple channels, regardless of the channel that they happen to be communicating through at that particular moment. To do this you have to start by understanding who the customer is.
E.piphany is the first company to combine analytical and operational CRM. We allow companies to gain insights into customers, seamlessly drive those insights into actions and then take the results of those actions and drive them back into deeper insights the next time around. So what we can do that vendors who don't bring these two types of CRM together can't, is render a complete understanding of who the customer is across all data sources about that customer.
CRM: What else differentiates E.piphany in this market?
KY: Another major difference between us and many of our competitors, especially the larger ones, is the fact that we are a fully Web-architected suite of products. That's really important, because it makes our product easier to use, as well as deployable to all business users throughout the organization. It also makes it much less expensive to deploy and maintain. And it allows us to synchronize interactions with customers across all channels of communication.
CRM: What is E.piphany's next big step from a business or technology perspective?
KY: We plan to continue to introduce technologies on top of our existing product suite. But we are also focused on execution. I will highlight our goal of becoming profitable later this year in the fourth quarter of 2001. We're also focused on expanding our sales leverage, and we're doing that, in part, through rapid expansion internationally. We had about 15 percent of our revenue in the fourth quarter through our international operation. We now have locations in London, Germany, France, Japan and Australia. We have 25 offices around the world.
CRM: What are you telling your investors about your strategy in this increasingly tight market place?
KY: I think investors, just like CRM purchasers in this environment, are more focused than ever on fundamental metrics. We talk about our commitment to continuing to be the thought leader in CRM and to continue to have the best product suite in the CRM market. Another thing that our investors focus on is the management team. We have a proven management team that has been successful at enterprise software initiatives, large and small. They are focused on our financial stability. We have cash in the bank of nearly $400 million. Both customers and investors take a lot of stock in our having the balance sheet to execute on our strategy. They focus on our demonstrated record of execution. We have had very good financial performance in our six quarters as a public company. And I think they continue to look at the quality of our customer base.