E.piphany starts taking orders on Tuesday for E.6, the latest version of its suite of customer relationship management (CRM) tools. The company believes E.6's sophisticated onboard analytics offer a competitive advantage over rival systems. At a product demonstration in London last week, E.piphany showed off E.6's new 'ActivePath' feature -- a system for improving the contextual presentation of customer data when preparing for a sales meeting with a client. Another feature that E.piphany will push is the 'Dialogs' function, which the company describes as "a multi-channel interaction management system for marketing, sales and service." E.piphany chief executive Roger Siboni said, "E.6 starts by delivering rich intelligence about each and every customer, then uses that intelligence to optimise the customer relationship across all front office systems and touch points." ActivePath and Dialogs technology will be present at launch in the sales module of E.6 -- dubbed Sales 6 -- and will be implemented throughout the entire suite eventually. E.piphany claims 140 new features for E.6, many of them defined by user feeback; however, it is the analytics-driven 'smart CRM' that gets the main emphasis in its product demonstration. This is no surprise, since CRM users are increasingly demanding smarter output from CRM systems -- including the ability to analyse and profile customers, and to make suggestions in real-time while a customer is online and in contact. The market-leading vendor, Siebel, last year moved to strengthen its own analytics functionality with the acquisition of the data-mining specialist, SPSS. The real win from CRM systems with strong analytics may come from deploying them in online self-service offerings. If an automated Web or phone-based CRM tool can analyse session behaviour and then -- on the basis of profiling and real-time analytics -- make appropriate suggestions to users, the potential for boosting customer satisfaction levels, throughput, and/or sales is strong. Gartner has graded the performance of CRM suites function by function, using its "Magic Quadrant"' chart system. E.piphany's vice president for product marketing, Brad Wilson, refers to this report to underline his company's strength in analytics -- where E.piphany has the strongest showing among vendors in the important "Analytics" and "Campaign Management" categories. Gartner is due to revise this chart shortly. (At least two vendors, E.piphany and Siebel, have introduced major upgrades to their software since the comparison was published six months ago.) E.piphany is aiming to grow its presence in Europe and has parachuted in some leading executives from the North America headquarters. Brad Wilson, vice president of product marketing and platform partners, will work out of the UK office. "We are very well known in the Bay Area. But we need to build up the awareness in Europe," he said. Frank Barker was appointed senior vice president and general manager for Europe, the Middle East and Africe in September of last year. E.piphany already has a number of large European companies on its customer list, including France Telecom, BMW, Unilever and Vodafone.