Exchange Applications Changes Name

SAN MATEO (04/03/2000) - Capping a yearlong transformation from a marketing-campaign-management software provider to online CRM (customer relationship management) player, Exchange Applications, has a new name, Xchange Inc., and has unveiled an online CRM package, Xchange 4.0.

Xchange foresees that dot-com and brick-and-mortar companies are going to need an electronic CRM suite that bridges the gap between traditional and online CRM, said Andy Frawley, chair and CEO of Xchange.

"We've seen a tremendous amount of investment in CRM via Broadvision, Siebel Systems, and kiosks, for example," Frawley said. "What's happened is that all of this technology has been deployed independently."

In two years, Frawley added, most of the brick-and-mortar companies that Xchange is targeting "are going to be click-and-mortars," doing business through the Web and conventionally. In contrast, the dot-com start-ups will begin to need offline support.

Like the former Exchange, the point solution CRM vendors are also likely to undergo major changes, either through acquisitions and mergers or through the creation of broader offerings that must accommodate e-CRM, said industry analysts.

Frawley said that Xchange wants to address the problems that companies have in bringing the growing variety of customer channels together. "There is a tremendous disparity between on- and off-line," he said. The solution is to facilitate two-way interactions either on or off-line.

The Xchange 4.0 suite consists of e-CRM campaign management, analytics, e-mail marketing, and Web personalization capabilities.

There are four product groupings under the Xchange 4.0 umbrella: Xchange Dialogue, Xchange Optimizer, Xchange Real Time, and Xchange Solution Services.

The Xchange Real-Time synchronization product line (formerly neXtricity) attempts to provide multiple channel links between online and offline services, Frawley said. The Xchange Real Time APIs provide connections for front-office applications. During the second half of this year, Xchange plans to offer APIs for the product lines from Broadvision, Quintus, Siebel Systems, and Vignette.

For example, if a customer responds to a Web site banner ad for a credit card with a 9.9 percent interest rate, the company's call-center application can be alerted to the inquiry. The alert would give the call center a heads up, and in preparing for the call, the customer service representative could gather information for the offer as seen on the Web site. The information gathered could lead to a new offer catering to current customer needs, and could be influenced by the customer information stored in a data warehouse.

"What we're trying to do is marry information from interactions to data warehouses to what's happening with the customer," Frawley said. Xchange offers data-warehouse links to the products from TeraData, Informix, Oracle, and Microsoft SQL Server. "[CRM] happens in all those places: data warehouse, in real-time, and what a customer might do," he said.

Also new is the Xchange Optimizer analytics modules developed jointly with MicroStrategy. The Optimizer product line will come with business-to-business e-commerce, and business-to-consumer offerings initially for vertical markets including financial services, retail, and telecommunications. By the end of the year, Xchange hopes to offer packages for approximately 20 vertical industries such as transportation, insurance, packaged goods, and dot-coms, said Frawley.

Xchange also will offer add-on service to the Optimizer product line, Optimizer Added Value, a customer-profile offering that combines ProfileServer from Engage Technologies with Xchange technologies. The combination is intended to help user companies mix local, anonymous user profiles with customer analytic information in order to help increase repeat usage of Web sites.

The previously known Valex and eXstatic offerings are now rebranded as part of the Xchange Dialogue group and geared for online or offline communication, Frawley said.

Xchange also is moving toward direct ASP (application service provider) hosting. "That's where we see the market going; we see most of the mid-market being served in this way," Frawley said.

Xchange Inc., in Boston, is at www.xchangeinc.com.

Eugene Grygo is an InfoWorld senior editor.

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