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

In Brief: The Garden picks CDs to take on daily creative leadership

Plus, Naked names two new leaders of its own and Digital Ethos comes to Canada.

The Garden promotes two creative directors

ACDs Lindsay Eady and Francheska Galloway-Davis have taken over responsibility for day-to-day creative leadership at The Garden after being promoted to creative director roles.

The pair will also help develop the agency’s creative talent, formalizing mentorship and leadership activities they have been doing since joining the agency four and three years ago, respectively. In addition to creating the agency’s internship program, the pair have worked on campaigns for Coinsquare, FitTrack and “The Coke Challenge” campaign for DanceSafe.

Eady and Galloway-Davis will continue to report to The Garden’s co-founder and chief creative officer Shane Ogilvie, who is stepping back from daily creative duties to a more high-level strategic role, allowing him to focus on client relationships and business growth.

Naked Creative Consultancy names new creative and strategy leadership

Toronto’s Naked Creative Consultancy has hired Yasmin Sahni as its new creative director. She is taking over creative leadership from David Kenyon, who has been in the role for 10 years and is moving into a new role as director of strategy, leading the discipline at the agency.

Sahni is coming off of three years as VP and ECD at GTB’s Toronto office, where she managed all the retail, social and service creative for Ford Canada. She previously managed both Vice Media and Vice’s in-house ad agency Virtue.

Peter Shier, president of Naked, says Sahni’s hiring adds to its creative bench and capabilities, as well as a track record of mentorship, a priority for the company. Meanwhile, Kenyon’s move to the strategy side, he says, makes sense because of his deep knowledge of its clients, which have included Ancestry and The Globe and Mail.

Digital Ethos opens a Toronto office

U.K. digital agency Digital Ethos is pursuing new growth opportunities in North America by opening a new office in Toronto.

Though it didn’t disclose them, the agency has begun serving a number of North American clients, and CEO/founder Luke Tobin says the “time was right to invest in a more formal and actual presence in the area.” whose services include design, SEO, pay-per-click, social media, influencer and PR,

This year, the agency’s growth has also allowed it to open an office in Hamburg, Germany, though it also has remote staff working in countries around the world.

Moray Hickes was the company’s first North American hire as VP of sales, tasked with business development in the region.