The best CRM suite is...

Summary:What's the best customer relationship management suite? We put six of the top vendors to the test to find out in our no holds barred face-off.

Infor

With its 2006 acquisition of SSA Global, Infor Global Solutions brought CRM solution Epiphany into its suite of products. Designed for companies from around 500 users and up, and available as a hosted solution, SaaS or an on-premise deployment, Epiphany brings CRM functionality to a business' sales, marketing and service departments. Epiphany is available as a generic product or as a vertical solution to suit the needs of a specific industry, like banking, manufacturing and retail.

Epiphany has a particularly strong focus in inbound and outbound marketing. Epiphany Interaction Advisor is designed to take advantage of the fact that every customer interaction is a sales opportunity. Whether it's direct contact like a service call or product query, or indirect like e-billing or online self service, each interaction is an active touch point between company and customer, and the ability to capitalise on these moments in time can make a critical difference to profit margins.

Interaction Advisor (inbound marketing) analyses each interaction as it happens. Employees are presented with a range of campaign offerings to suggest to customers, based on a real-time assessment of the customer's geographic and demographic data. Each campaign is assigned an acceptance probability and an expected benefit to the company, and these values are constantly adjusted as Epiphany records acceptances or rejections.

This data also plugs in to the marketing feature set of Epiphany, specifically the cross-sell, up-sell and customer retention aspects of channel marketing. Marketing executives can mine back-end data to identify appropriate targets across a range of market segments, create new campaigns on the fly and deliver the campaign message at all the appropriate points of interaction — phone, email, online, ATM etc. Again, acceptance and rejection data are gathered in real time so that executives can accurately track campaign effectiveness. Call centre staff and account managers also have access to this information so that customers are constantly matched up to the most appropriate offers and products.

We particularly liked the highly-integrated nature of Epiphany's intelligent use of customer data. We're all used to seeing banner ads when logging into online banking, but the particular banner ad that you see is aimed especially at people of your demographic, and the next time you speak to someone from the company, they will know whether you clicked on the ad or not because the back-end system will take note of it, which is very impressive. It effectively makes every customer-facing employee an active participant in the sales force. Large enterprises looking to push sales while offering customers a relevant range of targeted products should seriously consider Infor.

Overall: 3.5/5
Product: Infor CRM Epiphany
Price: Available on request
Vendor: Infor
Phone: 1800 260 2640
Web: www.infor.com.au
Interoperability: 3.5/5 — Cross-platform back-end support
Future-proofing: 4/5 — major player in the CRM space behind Oracle and SAP
ROI: 4/5 — outstanding sales force automation
Service: 3/5 — Infor Global Support and online customer portal

Topics: SAP, Enterprise Software, Oracle, Software

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