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Edocs premieres new online account management and billing software

Electronic account management and billing software company edocs, Inc. has launched its latest account management software package, eaSuite, which combines edocs's eaDirect and eaMarket with two new components, eaPay and eaPost. Aimed at the telecommunications, financial services, utility and retail industries, the new suite moves beyond edocs's previous electronic bill presentation and payment integration into a full account management package that can assist companies in retaining their loyal customers and building existing relationships.

Traditionally, the telecom, financial services and utility sectors have had a limited Web presence, other than the fact that they have a site, said Mark Delfeld, industry marketing manager of financial services for edocs. "We're their first step into the e-commerce world because the account information itself is the way [customers] view providers," he said. With e-billing and electronic account management, customers are engaged in an ongoing dialog with these companies, thereby allowing the companies to better know their customers.

"Many times, the best customer of a retailer is the credit card customer," Delfeld said. With online bill paying and account management, retailers can bring their credit card customers online and also suggest products based on their purchasing history, through the eaMarket product from edocs.

EaMarket is the suite's personalization component that allows companies to set up personalized profiles based on transaction details. Companies then have the option to set up targeted messages to the consumer, using their Web site or other channels.

The eaSuite also includes edocs's core infrastructure, eaDirect, which previously was known as BillDirect. EaDirect allows companies to integrate existing data and Web-enable bills and statements. "Part of the naming is that we're more than just bills," Delfeld said.

The two new components to eaSuite are eaPay and eaPost. EaPay allows customers to initiate and track payment online payments through their current bank, credit card or processors like CheckFree and CyberCash. Meanwhile, eaPost provides consumers with an "All Portals Addressable" access to account information. Essentially, eaPost collects bills from different sources and displays summaries on sites such as Paytrust, Cyberbills, CheckFree and Palm and brings customers back to the originating site of the bill, such as Sprint.

Having an online account platform is essential in the current market, according to Delfeld. "The vast majority of firms are investing heavily in the online account platform... if [your company] does not have a robust online account platform, other competitors with similar services can differentiate themselves by putting in [their own] online account platform," he said.

"We offer the capability to work with tools to analyze clickstream data... we think we're providing the path for some huge companies to compete with online [businesses and] allowing firms to capitalize on current relationships," Delfeld said.

The eaMarket component does allow companies to analyze clickstream data as well as other sources of data that the companies have already built up. The same data that companies have stored about their customers runs through the personalization engine in eaMarket, allowing companies to integrate their different data stores.

Wireless support is already offered for eaSuite, according to Delfeld, and is part of the platform.

The eaSuite runs on Windows NT and Sun Solaris, and edocs currently has partners outsourcing eaDirect in an ASP model. Pricing begins in the low six figures as a starting point, although exact costs were not given. It is also available worldwide.

For more information, visit the edocs Web site.

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