CRM solution integrates ops and analysis

Despite a large number of failed customer relationship management (CRM) projects, there is now a greater understanding of what makes the "best CRM projects succeed", according to Rod Bryan, lead partner CRM practice for PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).

The keys include alignment with business objectives, cultural change and identifying appropriate technology, Bryan said. While he labelled as an "exciting move" a new player in the CRM market that is offering an integrated analytical and operational CRM solution, he was noncommittal about whether the approach was superior.

E.piphany, through its E.5 launched last week, offers innovation in the way it addresses CRM, Bryan said.

The solution is Web-based and offers real-time reports via any customer touch point such as phone, Web, e-mail, fax, Wireless Application Protocol and SMS (Short Message Service).

Mike Ikotin, managing director for E.piphany said there are two camps among current CRM vendors. "Most are operational CRM vendors, which is defined as data access automation. They get access to customer data and give a view of the customer; they are reactive.

"There is another camp that does analytical CRM, which is the ability to report, data mine and then do campaign management to select and market to your best target customers."PwC's Bryan said CRM means many things to many organisations. "While for some organisations singular vendor responsiblility for analytical and operational are more effective, there will be some instances where it is not."Unlike most CRM solutions, E.piphany's offering does not include a sale-force automation tool.

Ikotin said sales force automation is "disconnected client sales", adding that E.piphany did not intend to support or use that method because there is a "proven history that sales force automation is nowhere near as successful as vendors would like you to believe".

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