• November 11, 2003
  • By David Myron, Editorial Director, CRM and Speech Technology magazines and SmartCustomerService.com

Automating the Channel

Demand chain management is proving to be big business for Comergent. The company, which in June completed its best fiscal year to date with product sales up 65 percent over last year, today started shipping its Comergent E-Business System, version 6.4. Designed to trim the costs of traditional selling processes and improve the way enterprises and their customers and partners do business, Comergent's demand chain management solutions automate the business processes within the order transaction lifecycle. Automating business processes can be the biggest challenge for Comergent's mostly manufacturer and distribution customers, according to Tom Mescall, senior vice president of marketing and product strategy. That's why Comergent is offering new functionality and enhancements across the order transaction lifecycle. Available in January 2004, the Comergent E-Business System, version 6.4, will include additional features like C3 Proposals application, Order Process Modeler, Service products, Unstructured Order Capture, and Attribute-based Pricing capabilities, as well as configuration enhancements and expanded search capabilities. The C3 Proposals application enables a company's sales staff and selling partners to create tailored proposals for customers. This includes the ability to add pricing markups and discounts, as well as a forum to sell third-party products. Additionally, sales personnel and partners can track varying customer interactions surrounding their respective proposals. Additional service products provide detailed service information that integrates with all Comergent's demand chain management applications. Service products can be mapped to manufactured products and to make customers aware of service options and renewals like contract renewals. Mark Gaydos, vice president of product marketing, is most impressed by the service products upgrades and C3 proposals application for their "power to drive incremental revenue, and stop anything from slipping through the cracks." Order Process Modeler enables business analysts to define business processes for a wide variety of order states. Order process changes in response to customer needs can be made faster and easier than previous versions, according to the company. Unstructured Order Capture enables enterprises to receive and interpret orders that do not follow a preestablished structure, including spreadsheets, documents, or other electronic formats. Future orders with this format can then be processed automatically, and order processors can review the results before they are submitted. This reduces errors, because employees no longer have to manually enter data into the system, according to Mescall. Another upgrade to the latest version includes Attribute-base Pricing, which enables organizations to change pricing based on specific attributes of a product or service, such as discounting slow moving products. The Comergent E-Business System product line starts at a base price of $100,000.
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