Software upgrades from E.piphany Inc. and Siemens Information and Communication Networks Inc. aim to make the companies respective customer service applications easier to configure and integrate with other applications.
E.piphany this week is expected to begin shipping E.piphany Service 6.0, which completes the San Mateo, Calif., companys move to add J2EE (Java 2 Enterprise Edition) support to its line of customer relationship management software. Separately, Siemens ICN, of Boca Raton, Fla., last week announced Version 5.1 of its HiPath ProCenter contact center suite.
Both applications have an eye toward improving ease of use and integration. E.piphany Service 6.0 was redesigned in J2EE, joining E.piphany applications for sales and for marketing campaign management and analytics on that platform. It now shares the same user interface as those applications and can more easily share data with them as well as other applications written in J2EE or with Java APIs, officials said.
In addition, E.piphany Service 6.0 includes new WYSIWYG tools designed to ease application configuration and management for contact center application developers and designers, managers, and administrators.
End-user features include Intelligent Dialogs, for scripting customer interactions through a guided user interface and a business rules engine, called Intelligent Business Rules, designed to eliminate paper procedure manuals.
But for some users the most compelling feature of E.piphany Service 6.0 is its new J2EE architecture. Customer service representatives using Service 6.0 will have a single view of customers and be able to offer them cross-sell opportunities.
Kelly Maddern, senior director of IT and online at Hard Rock Cafe International Inc., said she expects customer service agents will be able to offer customers of the companys online store cross-sell opportunities once E.piphany Service is in place. Hard Rock uses the current version of the software plus E.piphanys marketing campaign management and analytics applications.
"We have a lot of different data sources," said Maddern, in Orlando, Fla. "The ability to put everything in one place for our customer service agents to deal with, rather than having to go back and forth between applications, will allow them to deal with customers in a more effective way."
Maddern said the J2EE architecture was key, as it will ease integration with other applications, such as the in-house-designed, point-of-sale software the Web site uses.
Meanwhile, Siemens in HiPath ProCenter 5.1, due next quarter, is adding new e-mail response management and Web chat applications after previously relying on other vendors to provide that technology. These applications have been fully integrated with the rest of the suite, Siemens officials said.
"If theyve really pulled everything in tightly, I would like that," said Sandy Johansen, senior director of customer care at AT&T Broadbands Head End in the Sky contact center, in Littleton, Colo.
This version also connects to other vendors PBX systems, not just Siemens own PBX product, as past versions did, something Johansen said would be particularly useful for companies that need to tie contact center applications to their partners or suppliers systems.