Single-channel applications becoming obsolete, tech market specialist concludes

by Canadian Shipper

As the market continues to bring once-high riding tech companies back down to earth, or in many cases, bury them six feet under, market specialist AMR Research has come up with its own hit list of areas sure see a further demise in players.

"More than anything else, users have come to their senses and realized that more than 80% of customer support interaction is still over the phone, that orders come via Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) or phone, and that the Internet is an extension, not replacement to traditional forms of customer interaction," comments AMR’s Rod Johnson.

He projects the demise of the many vendors in the following areas without a major shift in strategy:

 Partner Relationship ManagementJohnson says AMR Research remains a big believer in PRM strategies because of the clear opportunity for significant Return on Investment (ROI). However, companies sell only partially through indirect channel partners. "Users don’t need two lead management systems, two portals, two order management systems, and two returns systems. Users need a dedicated partner relationship strategy, but there is lots of reuse of core information and application across channels," he says. Early PRM vendors, like Allegis, OnDemand, ChannelWave, PartnerWare, Click Commerce, and Entigo, must move to the multichannel world. Click Commerce is already heading this way by creating among other things machine-to-machine integration and a light version of Sales Force Automation (SFA), but the others must redefine roles to include support for direct sales or service.

 Personalization Engines–Personalization is not something just applicable to interaction over the Web; it’s relevant to all information and applications that touch any internal or external users. "The problem for BroadVision and ATG, the leaders in Web-based personalization market, is that Customer Relationship Management (CRM) vendors, including E.piphany and Siebel, are adding support for personalization vendors throughout their applications and in every customer interaction," Johnson says. "Vendors that focus purely on the Web portion of the personalization are at a distinct disadvantage."

 E-Mail Response Management–An application to support only one communication method in one channel is clearly not a viable market for standalone vendors, according to Johnson.

 Web-Based Order Management–The fates of all the Web-based order management application vendors, such as SpaceWorks, NetSales, and Order Fusion, easily support this analysis. Watch the death toll continue to rise.
 Web Self-Service–While the benefits of well-executed, self-service strategy are indisputable, the benefits are based on integration to knowledge management, escalation processes, supply chain information, and entitlements, Johnson argues. "Most self-service vendors pitch FAQs, e-mail avoidance, and auto responses, rather than integration into a broader customer context. So eGain, RightNow Technologies, Kana, Banter, and AskJeeves must deepen and extend their support to broaden appeal."

Have your say

We won't publish or share your data