E.piphany Aims At Siebel’s Market

Company says its CRM software will give Siebel a run for its money

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It's not easy competing against the No. 1 player in anything, particularly when it's customer relationship management (CRM) market leader Siebel, whose nearly $2 billion in annual income, eight years in business and more than 140 products place the vendor in control of more than 70 percent of the CRM market.

However, some studies show that most of the CRM market remains wide open for other contending vendors, while companies try to dig themselves out of economic difficulties and evaluate their CRM plans.

E.piphany, a 4-year-old CRM company, is one of those players trying to make a dent in the CRM space. Although it currently owns less than 5 percent of the CRM market share, E.piphany CEO Roger Siboni says that he knows where he wants to take his company,and, more important, where he doesn't want to venture.

Siboni, a former partner for KPMG, has recently made alliances with such companies as EDS and Cisco, and has moved the company's CRM solutions from being transaction-based to customer-centric.

"We're fortunate that we're in one of the few spaces in software,or technology, for that matter,where people are still buying products and talking to you," Siboni says.

Revenue for E.piphany has grown from $120 million in 1999 to $135 million in 2000, half of which comes from channel sales. Still, Adam Honig, president of Akibia Consulting, a Boston-based CRM specialist firm, says it'll be a tough road for E.piphany to travel considering the competition.

"E.piphany has some good products, but we've seen them lose deal after deal to Siebel," he says. "The fact that Siebel has such a large install base and such a commanding market share in the CRM space is why they are invited into every bid."

The worldwide CRM market is growing and is forecast to reach $23 billion by 2003, according to Aberdeen Research; the market for CRM applications software and services, according to IDC, is expected to reach $68 billion in revenue this year and $162 billion by 2005. Cahners In-Stat Group projects that total worldwide CRM application revenue will hit $9.4 billion by the end of this year and will increase to $30.6 billion by 2005, with particular growth in the U.S. midmarket, as well as in Europe and Asia.

Lately, Siboni says he's been seeing a significant amount of activity from CIOs in E.piphany's customer base of Fortune 1000 companies.

"We tend to have two kinds of customers or potential customers; ones that have an immediate kind of problem,like whether they've got to have the lights on,or ones with some productivity issue within their sales force," Siboni says.

A whole new generation of CRM software is being developed by E.piphany to compete with Siebel, PeopleSoft, Oracle and other players currently in the CRM space.

Siboni says E.piphany has led the charge in this area, both in terms of establishing the vision and delivering the software that focuses much more on the customer.

"E.piphany has moved CRM from a transaction-based category of software to a whole customer-centric set of applications that operate across multiple channels," Siboni says.

It involves software, for example, that can tell a call-

center agent who the customer is, what the customer wants, what is already known about the customer, whether the customer has been to the Web site before and, if so, whether the customer tried to be self-serving and why that effort was or wasn't effective.

"We believe from the get-go we redefined the CRM landscape by moving it from a technology that was all about software that helps individuals dealing with customers to be more productive," Siboni says, "to software that actually interacts with customers in real-time, creating an enhanced experience with the enterprises that go with it."

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