CRM Products Open Up

E.piphany, Remedy vary in paths to CRM interoperability.

CRM developers E.piphany Inc. and Remedy are each tackling the issue of interoperability among diverse applications, albeit with distinctly different approaches.

E.piphany next month will release Version 6.5 of its eponymous suite, offering new integration features with non-E.piphany applications, even though the product already provides sales, marketing and customer service capabilities. E.piphany officials said about 75 percent of the San Mateo, Calif., companys 450 customers run E.piphany in environments of mixed customer relationship management vendors.

Key to E.piphany 6.5 is the companys new Customer Relationship Backbone, an infrastructure layer of Java 2, Enterprise Edition services that works with existing enterprise application integration software. Customer Relationship Backbone supports data and business process integration across all CRM applications and adds E.piphanys real-time analytical capabilities to customer interactions.

Other features in Version 6.5 include a new Telesales application that supports Do Not Call Registry compliance for outbound telemarketing. A new Contact Center application supports blended sales and customer service capabilities, including opportunity and lead management, cross-selling, and scripts for interactive dialogues.

"For us, the unified sales and service is the big win," said Rebecca Watson, CIO at Atlanta-based LLC, which uses E.piphanys Service application and plans to deploy E.piphany Sales. "Our business relies upon sales and service to be an integrated team; there are tasks that must be completed by both in order to support our customers properly."

Meanwhile, Remedy this week is releasing Customer Support 5.0, the first upgrade of the companys customer service and support software since Remedy was purchased by BMC Software Inc. a year ago. With this release, the Mountain View, Calif., company is taking a different approach to integration. Version 5.0 includes a data extraction layer for connecting the software to data from other enterprise applications.

Another key feature in Customer Support 5.0 is a revamped user interface, making it easier to design and automate customer support and service center business processes. Version 5.0 also provides out-of-the-box service and support best practices.

In January, Remedy plans to ship updates to the other applications in its Customer Support and Service suite. In addition to Customer Support, the suite includes Remedy Quality Management, for managing product-defect issues; Remedy Service Level Agreements, for monitoring service levels and informing management when a service contract is at risk; and Remedy Citizen Response, a citizen service application designed for government service organizations.

Remedy is renewing its focus on customer service and support and not reviving the sales and marketing software it once developed when it was an independent company, officials said.