CRM pioneer Clarify, a division of Amdocs, believes the latest incarnation of its product suite has two capabilities that differentiate it from its pure-play competitors. They are a product — Process Manager — and “coexistence architecture,” which enables customers to use both thick and thin clients in their contact centers.The ClarifyCRM portfolio is divided into three broad areas, which offer functions similar to those of its competitors: Service and Support, Sales and Ordering and Marketing and Analytics.
Within Service and Support, Clarify’s traditional strengths are in trouble ticketing and case management applications in a multitier support operation.
Sales and Ordering focuses on sales force automation, with account and territory management. In addition, there are order management applications, such as order capture and order configuration.
Marketing and Analytics encompasses campaign management as well as reporting management and data mining.
To differentiate itself from competitors, Clarify developed Process Manager with a customer, British Telecom. With Process Manager, businesses can automate the end-to-end processes that reach their customers, employees and external systems. In a nutshell, that means that Process Manager takes into account all of a business’ processes — on order fulfillment, for example — and integrates the information with all third-party systems and software that the company uses.
Thick and Thin
As another differentiator, Clarify also has developed an architecture that enables coexistence between thin and thick clients. Industry-wide, CRM suites are moving to browser-based thin clients, but many existing customers have huge investments in Windows-based thick clients.
Because not all customers are ready for total thin-client architecture, Clarifyenables them to migrate at their own pace. “There is no knife-edge drop-off. We offer a low-risk seamless approach with coexistence,” Dror Pockard, president of ClarifyCRM, told CRM Buyer Magazine.
Clarify, Past and Present
Nowadays, Clarify is settling in as an independent division of Amdocs, a US$1.5 billion company that specializes in providing billing and order management systems to the communications industry.
Amdocs bought Clarify for a mere US$200 million in November 2001, after the CRM provider spent just a little over a year as a subsidiary of Nortel — which has paid $2.1 billion for it. Amdocs and Clarify personnel are integrating their respective software suites so they can offer close to one-stop shopping for the service provider vertical market.
Determined To Be a Player
Clarify made its name in the manufacturing, retail and financial services markets — it has 1,000 customers — and is determined to be a broad player as CRM evolves.
The company does have to overcome a couple of problems, though, said Joanie Rufo, research director at AMR Research. Amdocs is so closely aligned with the communications business that there could be a “brand recognition” issue with the broader market. “It will take real effort and initiative from a sales and marketing perspective for Clarify to execute,” she told CRM Buyer.
Also, Nortel did not invest enough in Clarify during their ill-fated union, but Rufo added that the division was much more critical to Amdocs, and the resources and funding were coming through to make Clarify competitive. “That close link to billing is important in a lot of industries,” she said.
Future in Communications
Notwithstanding its ambitions to be a broad-based vendor, Clarify is finding many of its new customers in the communications arena.
For instance, integrated communications provider NewSouth Communications licensed the eFrontOffice module because it gave the company a view of all customer correspondence across all of the field offices. “Every partner in the company who interacts with a customer has all the information they need, 24 hours a day,” said Rob Whritenour, vice president of IT and billing.