E.piphany continues to roll out its E.6 suite, this week shipping the customer service module. Service 6.0 is a hybrid offering, incorporating contact center serviceand sales capabilities. It includes self-service options, such as e-mail response, and an analytics component called E.piphany Insight for Service.
The application is based on E.piphany’s J2EE (Java 2 Enterprise Edition) foundation, an architecture that has been noted by the industry for its open standards and easy customization through metadata. Service 6, for example, ties the contact center into other CRM applications, back-office systems and analytics, making it easy for customer service reps to access data from different applications, according to CEO Roger Siboni.
“Legacy call centers have created silos of data that prohibit the sharing of customer information between systems,” he said. “We have believed for some time that the world will be moving to open-based technology, both because of the configuration options Web services offers and the ability to have a more open and flexible back end to accommodate different data environments,” he told CRM Buyer Magazine.
Upon its release a few months ago, E.6 prompted predictions of a shakeup among leading CRM vendors, including Siebel, SAP, Oracle and PeopleSoft. “With its analytics functions pervasive across the entire suite, E.6 puts E.piphany within striking distance of the top tier,” Kevin Scott, senior analyst with AMR Research, told CRM Buyer.
Like the vendor’s previous versions, E.6’s best value-added offering can be found in its analytics capabilities, he said. Indeed, E.piphany has long been regarded as a front-runner in this space. But, Scott added, E.piphany may well want to emphasize other features “as it tries to get out of the analytics mode and become a larger suite player.”
Scott cited an intelligent dialogs feature for scripting agent interactions that “handles … a lot more intelligently than some of the products out there.”
While Gartner and other consulting firms laud E.piphany’s technology as innovative, the vendor’s financials have taken a turn for the worse — along with the rest of the industry. Shortly after the release of 6.0, the company announced staff cutbacks, albeit in the least productive divisions, according to Denis Pombriant, vice president and managing director of Aberdeen’s CRM practice.
At the time, E.piphany claimed that the cutbacks would not affect R&D or product development — which so far has proven to be true. Future product releases will remain on schedule, including a service product rollout in the summer, spokesperson Kim Stocks told CRM Buyer.