Keeping Pace With the Evolution of CRM

What's in the future for Amdocs ClarifyCRM? President Mark de la Vega recently spoke with CRM magazine to discuss the way ahead. That path includes upgrades to ClarifyCRM, a focus on integrated customer management (ICM), and a strong vision of how to help create success for customers. "CRM is evolving," De la Vega says--organizations are looking to take a more cohesive approach to customer management. That approach also focuses on achieving business value. More and more companies are looking to understand their customer experience today, and to create a vision for how it should look tomorrow. To do this firms need to create a complete view of the customer that comes only from integrating various sources of customer information. "The integration of CRM and the back office is the only way to get to the ideal of one-and-done," De la Vega says. In the contact center, for example, agents wouldn't have to pass customers' billing queries to someone in the billing department. They would have the information they need to answer the question or resolve the issue themselves. This increases efficiency, reduces costs, and more. "Companies underestimated the cost and complexity of integration," De la Vega says. One of Amdocs' goals today is to help companies lower the costs--and ease their pain--associated with integration by offering what he calls out-of-the-box integration of such applications as its CRM and billing software within its product suite. "Companies can get best-of-breed with integration, not one or the other." The company is also focused on helping customers lower their TCO, according to De la Vega. Organizations taking an in-depth look at how they approach service management, SLA management, and fulfillment must do so to reduce costs over time. The next version of Amdocs ClarifyCRM will address this with two new applications: Change Manager, which will "manage complex changes in a service management scenario" (for example, if a company has to bring down its network); and, SLA Manager, which sets up, manages, and monitors service level agreements. SLA Manager includes a dashboard that signals when someone is in violation of their SLA. Another area of customer focus that the upcoming Amdocs ClarifyCRM version will address more heavily is retention of high-value customers. According to De la Vega, companies need a way to retain who their high-value customers are. "Who are they, and how do you segment them and perhaps send unprofitable clients to put competitors out of business?" he asks. The answer, again, lies in linking CRM and billing, which will happen with Amdocs ClarifyCRM version 13, targeted for release in the second quarter of 2005. "It will be the largest update we've ever done," De la Vega says, adding that it will be flexible enough to expose only what individual users need for their role. Version 13 will also offer an advanced tool set, with native Web services and additional support for IBM's Websphere. Another major change to version 13 will be its name. To further strengthen the Amdocs brand, the company will rename Amdocs ClarifyCRM version 13 to Amdocs CRM version 6, which matches the versioning of other Amdocs products. "We're certainly not abandoning the [Clarify] brand," De la Vega says. "We're emphasizing that...we're launching an integrated portfolio of Amdocs products." Looking farther out--to a target date of early 2006--version 6.5 will emphasize globalization, self-service, and billing. For example, although Amdocs does offer multilingual capabilities, version 6.5 will include the ability to store multiple languages in the same database. The self-service applications will include an expanded portlet library and self-management spending limits. And the billing manager will include support for additional billing-related flows. In the end, all these enhancements are designed to improve Amdocs' customer experience. Says de la Vega: "We're dedicated to making the vision of integrated customer management a reality." Related article:
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