• July 23, 2002
  • By David Myron, Editorial Director, CRM and Speech Technology magazines and SmartCustomerService.com

E.piphany's Big Buddy

After suffering a 58 percent drop in revenue for the second quarter of this year, E.piphany signed a partnership agreement with IBM Global Services -- a deal that breathes new life into the struggling CRM suite vendor. As a part of the agreement, IBM will provide integration services for E.piphany's entire suite of CRM applications, which will be optimized for IBM's J2EE-based WebSphere Application Server, AIX operating system, and DB2 database software platforms. According to Joanie Rufo, research director at AMR Research, the benefits of the partnership are twofold for E.piphany: "The agreement with IBM furthers E.piphany's approach in the J2EE world, which is what E.piphany is trying to stand on as its primary differentiator in the market. From a perception standpoint it helps, as IBM is such a well-known provider in the market." The partnership comes after an 18-month probationary period with E.piphany, where select IBM customers tested E.piphany's E.6 product line. The results naturally proved positive. "We have not partnered with a tremendous number of independent software vendors (ISVs) in the CRM space and we've done that purposely. We choose the ones that provide the best value," says Rob Saultz, vice president of CRM solutions at IBM. "From E.piphany's point of view, we are focused on an end-to-end J2EE product suite. We believe that brings more open solutions and more flexibility to the market place. IBM is clearly leading the way with J2EE technology," says Roger Siboni, president and chief executive of E.piphany. Rufo acknowledges the benefits of J2EE technology, but she warns that it should not be the company's biggest differentiator. "They've both been trying to make a stake in the ground around J2EE, but rarely do customers call me and say 'I need a J2EE platform.' Instead, they ask for integration and scaleability. I cautioned E.piphany to make sure it has a business benefit and lead with that," Rufo states. The partnership enables E.piphany to join the ranks of other prominent CRM vendors already supported by IBM Global Services including Siebel, SAP, PeopleSoft, Kana, Avaya, Genesys, and SAS. As for IBM, it tops E.piphany's list of CRM consultants as its largest consulting organization with over $34.9 billion in revenue for 2001. Other CRM consulting firms that are already partnering with E.piphany include Accenture, KPMG Consulting, Deloitte Consulting, and PwC Consulting.
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