Onyx Updates Customer and Partner Portals

Onyx Software Corp. Wednesday started shipping updated versions of its customer and partner portals that have been rebuilt on XML standards, allowing them to be integrated with other open-standards applications. Onyx Customer Portal 4.0 and Onyx Partner Portal 4.0 are two of the three integrated portal solutions offered as part of Onyx Enterprise CRM. Onyx Employee Portal 4.0 rounds out the Web-based CRM suite, which integrates sales, marketing, and service operations to manage customer and partner relationships. Using all three components offers an integrated view of all interactions with customers, Onyx says, regardless of where those interactions start: across multiple departments within the company, via partners who help bring the company's products to market, or with customers. Onyx officials say that by allowing businesses to extend their CRM solution to partners and customers, the effect is closer collaboration with customers and partners, which reduces costs and cycle time associated with these transactions. The Onyx Partner Portal is aimed at businesses that use indirect channels. The product sports new pre- and post-sales support to manage the full partner lifecycle. Partners have access to critical customer information required to service and close mutual business through a customizable Web interface. The Web portal is designed to increase partner adoption and eliminate training time by providing a seamless interface for partners to efficiently interact. According to Karen Smith, research director with Aberdeen Group, in Boston, delivery of the Onyx Partner Portal is the realization of part of Onyx's plan. "They've been talking about the Partner Portal for a long time," she says. "The fact that it's finally here and ready to be delivered is the company's plan coming to fruition." Smith called the fact that both Onyx Customer Portal and Onyx Partner Portal are built on XML very significant. "It's an important tool and users are looking to products based on open standards," she says. Version 4.0 of the Onyx Customer Portal offers more direct customer interactions. New features are aimed at increasing marketing effectiveness and online service efficiency. The newly released version includes new features like Web-based lead capture and profiling, online catalog, permission email marketing, literature fulfillment, Web self-help, online surveys, online service requests, and product registration. FSC Securities, a division of SunAmerica Co., began using the customer portal in 1999 to streamline support of its 2,300 broker/dealers around the country. Brokers use the system to automate basic tasks like updating customer account information and tracking claim checks. Today more than one third of all service requests originate on the Web using using Onyx's customer portal, FSC officials say. The new functions of version 4.0 are expected to help FSC increase its interaction and service to customers.
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