System links agents, data warehouse

Not that he's bragging or anything, but Norm Francis, president of Vancouver-based CRM software maker Pivotal Corp. calls the launch of his firm's eRelationship 2000 suite of business-to-business e-commerce solutions "a watershed event" in the rapidly changing world of e-business....

Not that he’s bragging or anything, but Norm Francis, president of Vancouver-based CRM software maker Pivotal Corp. calls the launch of his firm’s eRelationship 2000 suite of business-to-business e-commerce solutions "a watershed event" in the rapidly changing world of e-business.

"What it does is combine the technologies required to build successful e-business relationships," he says.

The product announcement draws on a technology alliance between Pivotal and automation specialists E.piphany and Interactive Intelligence to add support for customer analysis and multiple points of interaction.

ERelationship 2000 includes specialized "engines" for real-time intelligence, personalization and interaction. E.piphany’s core analytic software gathers customer data from various points of contact – such as sales and customer service functions – and then segments it. That data can then be used to tell businesses which customers are most important and how to tailor offers to specific customers. This information automatically pops up in a new user interface when an agent speaks to a customer.

"I think the Holy Grail today for e-business and marketers who want to lead the way in customer relations is in handling every phase in the closed-loop relationship," says Roger Siboni, president of E.piphany. "Right from initial contact, we have to respond to customer needs in real time, communicate with them and make sure that all people who ‘touch’ customers know that.

"This platform is really a breakthrough for those companies."

Adds Don Brown, president of Interactive Intelligence: "We understand the revenue-generation potential of the front-line employees who are interacting with customers and partners on a day-to-day basis. It’s ideal for fast-growing companies doing business on the Net."

However, E.piphany functions such as campaign management, outbound e-mail management, and personalization for Web sites were not included in the launch. Pivotal and E.piphany will sell those as additional products after eRelationship 2000 ships in the spring.

Not everyone is as impressed with eRelationship 2000 as the partners behind the project.

Erin Kinikin, a CRM analyst with the Giga Information Group in Santa Clara, Calif., says there is a good deal of promise in this announcement, "but much of the interaction with customers still requires a human to put it all together."

Even so, she says the integration of business intelligence solutions is a growing trend, especially in marketing.

"The challenge that we all have in the front office, and this is especially true with marketers, is integrating and combining the automation of front-office employees with data warehouse operations," she says. "What we’re seeing here is companies asking themselves what the key interaction points are with their customers, and how do we build on that."

Also in this report:

- The next generation of Net tools: Permission-based e-mail, online behaviour profiling, customized content delivery on the rise p.D12

- Why the current opt-in e-mail model won’t work: Three major problems – and a bunch of minor ones – to consider p.D15

- Direct Tech p.D18

Zulu grows its team and makes a slate of promotions

A director of interactive production for Zulubot is among dozens of new faces and roles at the agency, in response to recent wins.
Zulu Alpha Kilo_New Zuligans

Toronto indie shop Zulu Alpha Kilo had made several new hires and promotions on the heels of new business and also organic growth from existing clients.

Zulu could not officially announce the account wins at this time.

However, it can report that Ece Inan, most recently at Toronto design and tech shop Array of Stars, has been named the agency’s new director of interactive production for Zulubot, the agency’s production arm. In the new role, Inan will lead AR, VR, voice and other digital innovation projects.

Also on the production side, James Graham, who has spent the last 17 years with Grip, has joined the agency as its studio director.

Zulu has also made numerous additions on the client services side, led by Michael Brathwaite, also from Grip, as account director.

It’s also announced a spate of new account supervisors, including Hayley Blackmore (from G Adventures), Risa Kastelic (from BT/A), Kara Oddi (also from BT/A), Emily Anzarouth (also from Grip), Chris Rosario (from FCB/Six) and Sarah Shiff (from Rethink).

In addition to the new hires (pictured above), the agency has also announced several promotions: Alyssa Guttman moves from account director to group account director, while Nina Bhayana, Michelle Fournier, Jenn Gaidola-Sobral and Erin McManus have all been promoted to account director, and Haley Holm to account supervisor. On the strategy team, strategists Carly Miller and Spencer MacEachern have both been promoted to strategy director, while Shaunagh Farrelly, who has been with Zulu for two years in a client service role, moves into a new role as a digital strategist.

In December, the shop also announced that Stephanie Yung would be returning to the agency after a stint in New York as its head of design. Recent wins the agency has been able to announce including work as AOR for the Ottawa Senators, as well as a new arrangement with existing client Consonant Skincare, setting up an in-house team to support growth after taking an equity stake in the company.

Zulu president Mike Sutton says it’s wonderful, in a new year, to welcome new faces and energy to the team and says the agency is fortunate to have had so many people across the agency step up to support its clients.

“Simply put, they were rock stars, and the promotions are very well deserved,” Sutton says.