Pitney Bowes Makes CRM Move

Enterprises that haven't gotten the expected results from their CRM implementations may soon get a boost from an unlikely source: Pitney Bowes.

Enterprises that havent gotten the expected results from their CRM implementations may soon get a boost from an unlikely source: Pitney Bowes Inc., a company best known for its office postage meters and other mailing equipment.

Pitney Bowes, a $4.6 billion company that has more than 2 million customers worldwide, has been executing a plan that will enable it to improve customer interactions through better data integration solutions.

A big part of that strategy has included building up the Stamford, Conn., companys technology portfolio. The result has been the July acquisition of document management software developer Group 1 Software Inc. (Last year, Group 1 bought data integration and warehousing software developer Sagent Technology Inc.)

Pitney Bowes followed up the Group 1 announcement with its acquisition of the eCartography data analysis and profiling tool from AMB Dataminers Inc. earlier this month.

The company plans to release in January the first deliverable from these efforts when it puts together a technology stack from the technology it has acquired; quarterly updates are to follow.

In so doing, Pitney Bowes hopes to become a dominant player in a nascent branch of the CRM (customer relationship management) industry known as CCM (customer communications management). With its CCM approach, Pitney Bowes will help companies derive more value out of their customer communications, such as in the billing and call center areas.

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Through data integration, the company plans to offer technology to embed marketing offers with bills—both paper and electronic—and track customers responses to those offers. The same could be done through the customer service channel, including customer self-service applications, company officials said.

"Were like BASF. We dont make CRM; we make CRM better. Were not a CRM company but an enabler," said Bernard Gracy, vice president of business integration for document messaging at Pitney Bowes.

Vertical industries Pitney Bowes initially will target include financial services, health care, telephone companies, utilities and government and will rely on partnerships with CRM companies to get its technology into these areas.

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