|Business Management: Customer Relationship Management
||Applix iCRM 8.2
||RightNow Technologies Inc.
||RightNow Web eService Center 5.0
The two most important things on most companies collective minds right now are how to retain customers and how to acquire new ones.
CRM applications attempt to help companies track, attract, manage, interact with and support customers, as well as ensure that customers are satisfied.
Customer relationship management is often used as a label for a type of product, but CRM encompasses many different kinds of products and disciplines. The products entered into this category included traditional CRM applications, call center management packages and fulfillment solutions.
The judges based their decisions for the finalists on how well the entrants could be integrated into existing enterprise architectures, the ability for the packages to provide analytical detail of customer interactions, the capability of the packages reporting mechanisms and how soon corporations could benefit from implementation. Its an admittedly tough category to judge because CRM packages often require changes across business processes, typically take weeks to implement and are highly customizable by nature.
The finalists in this category all have excellent capabilities for integrating into existing enterprise infrastructures. Applixs iCRMwhich comprises modules for help desk, analytics, service and support, and marketing and sales automationincludes an XML-compliant developer tool. RightNow Web eService Center 5.0 enables companies to set up customer service centers within their infrastructure. The product integrates with phone systems, e-mail and chat, and lets companies post a central knowledge base of facts and data to help desk workers.
Of all the contestants, though, E.piphany best demonstrated how its solution enables companies to utilize customer-driven data in all its forms to improve services provided to those customers. The judges specifically focused on E.piphanys trend-setting analytical capabilities, which show rich and detailed information. E.piphany tends to be more expensive than its competition, but it is more modular and comprehensive. Thats why Burlington Coat Factory Warehouse Corp., Hard Rock Cafe International Inc. and Hilton Hotels Corp. chose E.piphany, and thats why the eWeek judges and Corporate Partners did as well. John Taschek