Teradata Upgrades its CRM Product

Teradata announced the general availability of version 5.1 of its CRM offering during its 18th annual users' conference. Not surprisingly, the company, a division of NCR that specializes in data warehousing, is promoting the value of customer data in every aspect of CRM, most notably in the marketing arena. The company is also focusing on the potential for unifying all customer interactions to provide the much-discussed 360-degree view of the customer. Many of the changes to Teradata CRM (TCRM) are designed to improve the ease of integration, administration, and use--and are intended to address specific feedback from 5.0 users, according to Rob Tuttle, director of solutions marketing for Teradata. From a technical perspective 5.1 introduces a move to Windows Services, which Tuttle says will allow users "to integrate [TCRM] better with other applications." The upgraded release also provides improved marketing campaign controls, better data synchronization on both the front and back ends, and the ability to track the activity of current users. TCRM also plays up tighter information-gathering capabilities in self-service interactions, such as those on the Web or at ATMs and kiosks. "The wealth of knowledge that comes from Web transactions is an untapped gold mine of customer data," Tuttle says. He says that by uniting data from these customer touch points TCRM users can personalize the content and marketing pitches delivered during that interaction. Also, he adds, 5.1 tackles the traditional challenge that Web-derived data has always been difficult to manage or arrange into useful formats. On the marketing side, TCRM 5.1 introduces a thorough integration with the capabilities of Aprimo, a marketing resource management vendor. The workflow for a single campaign might now go back and forth between TCRM and Aprimo several times over the course of a single project, without any data reentry or reconfiguration. The new release also incorporates the campaign performance reporting capabilities, built on MicroStrategy templates, that Teradata introduced several months ago, as well as two modules that are due out later this fall: campaign analyzer (to assess the potential ROI of a given campaign) and campaign optimizer (to help select the appropriate segmentation, channel, and message). According to Ron Wignes, director of product management at Teradata's CRM division, the two most significant improvements in 5.1 are the Windows Services integration capabilities and the fact that large companies can now filter down to track the activity of individual users. Elana Anderson, senior analyst at Forrester Research, says that all told, the new release isn't much of a leap. "I don't look at 5.1 as a major diversion from 5.0," she says. "They've addressed the loudest demands from their user groups." Usability had been a core issue with these users, she says, and 5.1 shows that Teradata "has been taking pains to smooth the [task of] upgrading." Anderson says she expects 6.0 to be "a big release." Even Tuttle agrees that the current upgrade offer isn't revolutionary. "This is a point release, so there's nothing huge in terms of new [overall] capabilities," he said during his presentation. "But [this] helps it integrate better into the enterprise." He added that Teradata has included several new scripts and tools in the 5.1 release "to make it easier to move from earlier versions to the newest release." In fact, Wignes says the move to 5.1 is relatively seamless for users of TCRM 4.2 and 5.0, but that older TCRM users will have to undergo "a two-step process" to make the leap to the newest release. Luckily, he says, "there are very few companies still on 4.1." Tuttle says the new functionality improvements are available individually and as part of a full upgrade. Teradata made several related announcements at the Partners event. They include the availability of an upgraded version of Warehouse 8.0, its core data warehousing product; the first public recognition by Wal-Mart that Teradata Warehouse underpins Wal-Mart's business activities (notably, its Retail Link supply chain system); and a specialized version of TCRM crafted for the gaming industry. Last week the company also announced it had enhanced its agreement with Siebel Systems to more tightly integrate the two companies' analytics tools. Related articles: New Alliances and New Products at Siebel's User Week
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