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E.piphany offers more CRM advice

E.piphany today unveiled Lead Advisor and Insight Advisor to run alongside its Interaction Advisor product. The new releases are aimed at retail finance and communications.

E.piphany Inc. today introduced two new products designed to provide analytics not only for the San Mateo, Calif., company's CRM system, but its competitors as well.

The two new offerings, Insight Advisor and Lead Advisor, as well as enhancements to Interaction Advisor, will be generally available Nov. 19. Designed to work alone or together, the applications aim to provide the elusive "360-degree view" of the customer.

Insight Advisor is designed to provide customer-facing employees a view of a customer's relationship across departments, products and channels. The application helps organizations provide a consistent message across channels while also tapping into legacy systems, said Jon Miller, senior director of analytics and marketing.

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Lead Advisor streamlines the hand-off of potential leads from one business area to another. For example, a call center agent with a customer interested in a company's product could route that information to the proper sales rep. The tool can then qualify and prioritize leads, getting them to the right sales team without losing them in an organization's scattered IT system.

At the same time, E.piphany's Interaction Advisor, which provides real-time analytics for up-sell and cross-sell opportunities, has been enhanced with a new user interface and integrated best practices.

Bell Canada International Inc., in Montreal, has used Interaction Advisor for its inbound contact center operations for more than two years, helping agents make the right offer at the right time. With four lines of business -- wireline and wireless phone, satellite and Internet -- Bell Canada has struggled, as has most of the communications industry, with maintaining a consistent view of the customer across the business.

"Trying to convert ourselves from four business lines to one face for the customer is a significant business challenge and an opportunity for us," said Ken Cox, senior director of customer insight. "The tack that E.piphany is taking I think is a good one. It's a business problem I've spent a lot of time with."

Bell Canada has been able to tie Interaction Advisor into its call center application, which is not an E.piphany product, and sees value in extending Advisor products into other areas, he said.

All three Advisors are designed to work alongside a customer's existing systems.

"Traditional solutions are rip, replace and replicate but lack analytics," Miller said. "Our intent is to augment the existing system, rather than replace it. If the right thing is to replace a system we can do that and have. Where we are unique is in the fact that we don't need to own the desktop."

E.piphany is taking this approach one step further with the release of Value Packs for Siebel and PeopleSoft. The Value Packs provide prebuilt integration with E.piphany's customers that allow users to run E.piphany analytics on a Siebel or PeopleSoft desktop. For example, a company running multiple Siebel Systems could tie them, and others, together with the Value Pack, Miller said. The Value Packs are designed to integrate with older versions of Siebel and PeopleSoft.

"I think that's a smart approach," said Elana Anderson, senior analyst with Cambridge, Mass.-based Forrester Research Inc. "A company might not be ready to swap out an entire service desktop from Siebel or PeopleSoft but might need some intelligence. As E.piphany develops that relationship and customers look to upgrade, they'll now do that either with the current vendor or E.piphany."

E.piphany has created the new applications for the communications and retail finance industry, two historically strong verticals for the company, Miller said. More vertical offerings will be added as the company sees an opportunity, he added.

Yet the verticals and new analytics push prompts another question of E.piphany. It is not appearing on the short lists of organizations looking at campaign management applications, Anderson said. She said her colleagues have said the same thing about E.piphany on service side lists. So is it a CRM suite vendor or not?

"E.piphany has a much bigger challenge," Anderson said. "Their numbers really aren't that great. They need to re-message who they are. I'm a big fan of the Advisor product line from a decision making, marketing, real-time perspective. I think it's a best-of-breed product."

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