E.piphany Unveils E.6
Enterprise CRM suite vendor E.piphany hopes its newest software architecture unveiled this week can slay giants Siebel, PeopleSoft and others. The keys to E.piphany E.6: tightly integrated analytic applications and support for J2EE and Web services.
E.piphany E.6 is a slew of CRM applications -- namely, E.piphany Marketing, E.piphany Sales, E.piphany Service and E.piphany Insight -- that are built on Java and run on Web servers such as WebLogic and WebSphere. The suite delivers a bevy of features tuned largely for Fortune 1000 companies. E.piphany's products are brought to market and integrated by global integrators, such as Accenture, Deloitte Consulting and KPMG.
E.piphany E.6 runs in J2EE environments and supports Web services, making the many modular applications easier to integrate with legacy CRM applications. "People are more inclined to modularize than to take the big dunk," says Roger Siboni, president and CEO of E.piphany, based in San Mateo, Calif. "It's naive to think you're going to holistically solve the customer integration problem with one application. You're going to have to have some sort of infrastructure around Java that allows you to talk to other applications."
Indeed, integration is a key selling point, says Erin Kinikin, vice president of e-business applications and strategies at Giga Information Group. "CRM integration is 30 to 50 percent of a CRM project's costs," she says. "If you can deliver on flexible, easier to integrate architecture, like J2EE, then there's a lot of customers that will sacrifice a lot of functionality to get this."
Another big upgrade is embedded analytics-based applications, such as E.piphany Dialogs, a management system cutting across telephone and Web interactions, and ActivePath, an application that helps salespeople anticipate customer needs. "It's not new that we have analytical and operational capabilities," says Mike Trigg, vice president of product management at E.piphany. "What's new is that we've exposed that union in new and exciting ways."
Embedded analytics provide a forward-view of what a salesperson, marketing director or customer-service agent should do when interacting with a customer -- in real time. For instance, a salesperson heading into a meeting with a potential customer can use ActivePath to gather the latest information about that customer and, most importantly, receive recommendations on ways to sell to that particular customer. Also, a customer-service agent talking on the phone with a customer might receive a message, via E.piphany Dialogs, informing the agent to quickly offer a discount because that customer is at a high churn risk.
Other CRM vendors' analytics only provide a rear-view mirror about customers, claims Kinikin. "They offer analytics 'on the side' about past customer history ... it's not in the context of what people are trying to do right now," she says. "This is where E.piphany has a chance to pull ahead of the Kanas, Onyxs and Pivotals, and really break into the top-tier."
But before crowning E.piphany king of the J2EE CRM world, the company still has to deliver on its promises, warns Kinikin. It's a race, of sorts, as the company fronts tough competition in Siebel and PeopleSoft. "E.6 is make or break for E.piphany," she says. Specifically, the E.6 upgrade must be rolled out to all of E.piphany's major applications before the architecture can really take hold; and E.piphany's Trigg says this will happen by summer.
Tom Kaneshige also writes for Line56.com
Additional reporting by David Myron.