CRM platform will bring enterprise-wide integration

Organizations need to tie their CRM and business processes together without building huge data warehouses, according to Ross Sedgewick.

Sedgewick, director of marketing for Markham, Ont.-based Delano Technology Corp., said companies need to make the internal organization event driven.

“There is a different way than going down the epic implementation path,” he said.

Delano’s e-business Interaction Suite, along with its Velocity Marketing and Discovery Suite, can enable an organization to make enterprise-wide changes and decisions, Sedgewick said.

He explained that the e-business Interaction Suite is Delano’s platform product, which will integrate with an organization’s legacy or database system. Velocity Marketing sits on top of that and the Discovery Suite integrates to the e-business suite.

Discovery Suite adapts analytical applications and allows customers to build applications, load data, cleanse, manage, analyse, mine present and deploy data. Velocity Marketing is a Web-based integrated e-marketing suite, which enables automated form generation, e-surveys and e-newsletters,

The e-business Interaction Suite features an application builder, server and administrator. Sedgewick explained that each application is event-driven and the suite also helps an organization to leverage multi-channel communications.

“The unique piece is that the foundation was built first. So, we can solve problems on that,” he said. “How do you communicate inventory levels to partners? From information in a legacy system, how do you automatically post product announcement to customers through wireless channels?”

He continued that Delano’s approach was to build a component-based platform where users can latch on to those databases and use drag-and-drop programming.

These products also allow organizations to take off-line and on-line information and use analytic software to sift through gigabytes of data interaction history profiling that a company accumulates, according to Sedgewick.

“(Companies can) analyse that and develop more effective marketing,” he said.

That was one function that was important to the United Way of Greater Toronto (UWGT), according to Philip King vice-president of e-business for the UWGT, seconded form A.T. Kearney.

“We wanted to provide donors more personalized specific information than we had been doing with paper,” he said.

King noted that Delano’s solution was very in line with those ideas.

“We were trying to do mail-out campaigns to thank donors and follow those up. We used Delano to manage that communication, as well and customize the Web environment that leads people to donate,” he said.

The strongest tool for the UWGT was the e-business Interaction Suite. King said they were able to custom-build campaigns on the e-business suite and then Velocity provided the software to get those campaigns out.

He said they are using Delano’s products to push campaign designs out into the business processes.

UWGT has a legacy system that takes care of accounting and other business processes. King said the e-business suite integrated with their system really well.

“We wanted to do all this CRM, and the other system wasn’t built for that, now we have integrated both together. Delano interfaced with our system no problem,” he said.

One thing he would like to see in the future is tighter integration between the e-business and Discovery suites. “Right now there is some integration, but there is room for it to be tighter.”

According to Dana Gardner it may take more than stronger integration to get the market to take notice of Delano’s offerings.

Gardner, research director with Boston-based Aberdeen Group, suggested a cultural shift will be needed for companies to see the benefit of suite CRM applications.

“It makes good sense logically,” he said. “But unfortunately, it’s not how organizations behave when they have budgets and deadlines. It’s a challenge for Delano to convey the overall benefits of the platform, given that people are used to working in silos.”

He added that people are used to working with different components spread out around a company, and they may not have the inclination to change to a more integrated approach, regardless of the benefits.

“We are in a period of time where marketing budgets have been sliced, so in a business cycle this might not be the time to try to re-architect the way the system handles things,” Gardner said.

He did stress that the idea behind Delano’s solution is sound.

“The approach of having that application server-based system, where you have the flexibility to coordinate things through a central server and make an easy tool for people to be able to do CRM activities, that makes good sense,” Gardner said.

He noted this is a case of looking to a platform to gain control of products, versus the right hand not knowing what the left hand is doing.