RightNow Partners for a Mashup
RightNow Technologies announced today that it had entered into a partnership with Demandware, a Woburn, Mass.-based on-demand e-commerce service provider. Under the terms of the agreement, Demandware and Bozeman, Mont.-based RightNow will field what the companies describe as "the first enterprise-class CRM and e-commerce mashup for consumer-oriented organizations." The joint product would help multichannel retailers and brands integrate their online and offline businesses.
"This partnership comes after a thorough review, and is the result of a series of [Requests for Proposals] we've received from our customers," says David Hayden, director of strategy for RightNow. "The investments we've made over the last 12 months have been in how our customers go to market. Whenever you talk about consumer-focused enterprises, e-commerce must come up."
The investments to which Hayden refers actually extend back 17 months, to include RightNow's May 2006 purchase of Salesnet. That company's capabilities centered around sales force automation, according to Hayden -- the " 'one-and-done' transactions through the contact center." Demandware focuses on "engagement through the online channel, with core order capture and management," Hayden says.
"Customers increasingly expect not only a seamless buying experience across channels, but an integrated and unified service experience -- whether online, via email, or over the phone," said Rob Garf, vice president and general manager of retail strategies at AMR Research, in a statement. "This partnership should bridge the gap between these two needs that now exist in the marketplace, helping retailers get close to the ultimate goal of a seamless cross-channel experience through each point of interaction."
The Demandware partnership is the first of two integration announcements planned by RightNow. Next Monday, the company will make official its partnership with Mountain View, Calif.-based Cast Iron Systems, an integration-appliance vendor that caught recognition from Beagle Research Group in its most recent "WizKid" awards. Cast Iron will introduce three new appliances optimized for RightNow on-demand CRM. As managed boxes with nothing for the customer to purchase, install, or maintain, Cast Iron claims its appliances can reduce integration costs by as much as 80 percent, as compared to software-based alternatives.
"The Cast Iron Integration Appliance gives us a solution that quickly delivers robust integrations to our customers," said Scott Creighton, vice president of business development for RightNow, in a statement. "By simply configuring integration appliances that have built-in connectivity to RightNow, we can complete integration projects rapidly without writing code."
The shift to solving integration problems through hardware will become more prevalent as software platforms diversify, according to Gartner Research. "More than 40 percent of large businesses will deploy an application-fluent network appliance by 2008," said Frank Kenney, principal research analyst at Gartner, in a statement. "Compared to custom integration, integration appliances can save money and accelerate the time-to-market for integration projects that involve common business processes."
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