SSA Global's Road Map: Compliance and an Epiphany
At its Global Client Forum in Orlando this week SSA Global stressed its strategy for the future: The focus will be on delivering industry-specific applications and helping customers with compliance issues. The company also revealed plans for integrating with Epiphany and its commitment to a service-oriented architecture (SOA). "Epiphany is a recognized leader in CRM software [and] has outstanding technology. Its customer relationship backbone is widely viewed as a leader of delivering SOA to customers," CTO Cory Eaves told roughly 1,000 forum attendees.
Eaves pointed out that analysts have ranked Epiphany as a leading visionary, competing with Oracle and Siebel Systems. Where the company has lagged is in its ability to execute, an area in which Eaves said SSA can help. Known primarily for its marketing tools particularly Interaction Advisor, Eaves also applauded Epiphany's sales and services solutions, which SSA Global plans to make part of its own applications. Epiphany has more than 200 customers, including one-third of the Fortune 100, and has many of the same customers in common with SSA. He cautioned that the Epiphany acquisition, announced in August, is subject to regulatory requirements. The companies expect, however, to close the deal later this month, at which time more details regarding product rollout and timing can be revealed.
SSA's large list of manufacturing clients are poised to win from this deal, says Dennis Ruffing, CRM solution manager. "It's amazing how many of Epiphany's applications are things my customers have asked me for over the past few years," he says. "Epiphany helps a marketer analyze and segment a customer base and it lets someone who's not a tech OLAP guru say 'Let me segment and see,' and once you see, put that information to work."
Manufacturers are looking for ways to understand their install base, but the challenge is the amount of time it takes to deliver and support products for the right customers, according to Ruffing. Many large companies have several sales people working with one customer, helping them with their individual needs. Using strong marketing tools will allow call center agents, for example, to be pinged when a customer calls to check an order status and remind him that his warranty is scheduled for an upgrade or that his payment is late. "It's shockingly intelligent," Ruffing says.
SSA Global executives also stressed their commitment to lifetime support for the combined products following its latest acquisition. The company launched SSA Open Architecture 5.1 on Tuesday, and plans to move to annual release cycles with model year destinations instead of release numbers, Eaves said. "[SSA is] making sure we're building applications that fit together and are flexible, helping companies leverage existing assets and layer on top of that for more flexibility and compliance."
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Manufacturing is expected to see the largest gain; money will be spent in areas that include online sales/e-commerce, Web self-service, and IT outsourcing.