Amdocs (NYSE: DOX) has unveiled the first upgrade of ClarifyCRM, the once-leading CRM application that it purchased from Nortel (NYSE: NT) last November for US$200 million.
ClarifyCRM 11 offers some major developments, vice president of marketing and strategy Peter Hurst told CRM Buyer Magazine, including the ability to run thin and thick clients concurrently, a process manager module and an XML-based integration gateway.
The coexistence capability means that users can manage both browser-based and client-server applications through the same database, making it far easer to migrate and upgrade at their own pace, he said.
Processes That Flow Out
For example, EADS Telecom’s systems integration division, Cogent, is leveraging this dual-use feature to enable the UK Ministry of Defense to retain its client-server support application for its high-security communications personnel, while deploying the new browser-based applications to more than 15,000 other communications workers.
The process manager, built with customer British Telecom (NYSE: BTY), provides workflow capabilities that allow users to define and manage processes that affect their customers, employees and external systems. “This is the module that manages the processes that flow out of the customer interaction,” Hurst said. It can, for example, automate certain transactions or company protocols, such as problem resolution.
“We have taken a number of major steps forward with this application,” he noted.
In truth, this release is not a major departure in terms of features or functionality, although it is the first with browser-based architecture, Yankee Group analyst David Hawley told CRM Buyer.
“What we are seeing with ClarifyCRM 11 are mainly functionality upgrades. But it is still a significant release for Amdocs because it shows its commitment to ClarifyCRM,” he said. When Amdocs — whose strength lies primarily in telecom billing — purchased the onetime leading CRM vendor, there were questions about whether it would devote the proper resources to the CRM application, Hawley noted.
He also pointed out that Amdocs has bundled its own CRM functionality, including order management and analytics tools, into this release — effectively moving ClarifyCRM away from transaction mode. This was a good move by Amdocs, he said, because analytics systems have done well in times of economic retraction.
Broadening the Base
After Nortel purchased ClarifyCRM in 1999 for $2.1 billion, it did not invest sufficiently in the application. Clarify dropped in market share from number two — just behind Siebel — to number 11 within two years.
However, Joanie Rufo, research director at AMR Research, noted that Clarify is much more critical to Amdocs as it repositions the program for the broader market.
It will not be easy, she said, given Amdocs’ close alignment with the communications industry. “It will take real effort and initiative, from a sales and marketing perspective, for Clarify to execute.”