CRM: Customer-Initiated Interactions

Most complex, multi-channel selling environments now include an online business model, allowing an enterprise to reach a worldwide audience, and potentially generate exponential company growth. Online selling environments can enable Leads & Opportunities to create and shop for products, view and compare quotes, place orders, receive and pay invoices, and dispute charges.

E-Commerce – an important component of the domain Customer-Initiated Interactions – can also quickly complicate a service provider’s systems environments and processes – new systems, new integrations, new customer touch points, and on and on.

Self-Care portals aim to take the load off an organization’s Customer Service Representatives (CSR) by allowing customers to manage accounts and purchases on their own. Customers have the flexibility to place orders and update account information in real time, with these changes and orders being passed to other systems efficiently and accurately in a monetized ecosystem. Successful self-care systems also reduce trouble tickets and issue escalation with FAQs and customer-facing knowledge to promote issue resolution without the need for a customer to speak with a CSR.

For most service providers, conducting e-Commerce selling, electronic bill presentation and payment (EBPP) allows bills to be generated, delivered, and paid online. E-bills can expedite the quote-to-cash process by getting bills to customers more quickly and allowing customers to pay instantly, electronically. However, electronic payment collection requires both legal and industry compliance, and can cause quite a headache for internal control and compliance staff, and external auditors.

Customer Relationship Management, or CRM, is perhaps the most consistently misused term in our industry. The ‘Customer Relationship’ that is being managed by a software category is an exceedingly broad term that must be narrowed in order to make sure we are comparing similar software. ATG breaks CRM into four distinct categories, based on the channel that is being used to manage the customer relationship. The categories are:

Sales Force Automation (SFA)

The tools used by Sales teams to managed sales people, prospects, and opportunities.

Customer Success | Call Center

The tools used by Customer Service agents (historically in a Call Center environment) to manage customers.

Customer-Initiated Interactions

The tools used by a service provider’s customers to manage their own services or accounts.

Partner Relationship Mgmt.

Tools used by a service provider’s Partner to manage customers.

Customer-Initiated Interactions Components

CRM - Customer-Initiated Interactions

Shop

Allowing customers to Shop online requires e-Commerce platforms to model a company’s product catalog in a way that is desirable to end-customers. Online storefronts must be able to both inform the customer about products, services, and bundles, as well as accept orders and payment securely. From a systems’ perspective, online shops might house some product information locally in a company’s Content Management System (CMS), with other content being pulled from external systems serving as the source of record (i.e., pricing information).

Additionally, the online channel must be tightly woven with Salesforce Automation, Business Intelligence and Marketing Automation to put a company’s goods and services in front of the right prospects, direct them to the correct landing page, and quickly and efficiently tell the site visitor why these products and services best fit their needs.

In the online selling world, everyone on the internet that sees a banner ad, a search result, a review, or a blog post about a company is a Lead. Every visitor to the web site is an Opportunity. Having the right message, the right processes, and the right technology to make it easy and comfortable for a shopper to select your company’s offerings is the primary step to acquiring and retaining online customers.

Cart

When online shoppers add products to the Cart (or bag or basket), a very important step has been realized in the online shopping continuum. It is the visitor’s first real “YES” decision. They’ve metaphorically already taken a shoe and a sock off by coming to the web site – now they’re sticking a toe in the water by adding a product or service to the cart. It’s a small commitment – the shopper hasn’t reached for their wallet yet – but a commitment nonetheless.

Shoppers can add and remove products to and from the cart without consequence, as well as change quantities, discover additional “add to cart for better price” discounts, and create their own bundles in many cases. Typically, as physical inventory is added to or removed from the cart, a good Service Delivery system will reserve and unreserved that inventory in real time, with a timer on how long that inventory can be held in cart before automatically removed and made available to the general internet public again. This is important to note for any just-in-time physical inventory companies that fulfill their own orders.

The Cart page of a website is a key conversion point in the online buying process. Getting the shopper to press the Buy button requires a precise recipe of trust, emotion, and common sense. The potential customer must believe in both the product or service they are purchasing, and the company from whom they are buying, regardless of whether the transaction is B2C or B2B. They must also feel that the product or service solves a problem or meets a need, and that the offer is fair.

When the above obstacles, and potentially many others, are overcome, the order is nearly assured. Unless something in the payment or delivery process causes friction, the web site’s system should begin lighting up the Service Delivery, Credit Card Processing, Marketing Automation, Invoice Finishing & Delivery, Order/Contract Management, Revenue Recognition/FMS, and Billing & Collections Engine domains.

Quote

For products with negotiable prices or discounted bundle options, quoting logic is necessary. Quotes provide customers a way to evaluate different pricing options based on product configuration. Generating accurate, real-time quotes requires systems to account for product attributes, discounts, applicable promotions, and bundling business rules systematically, without CSR intervention.

In an online negotiated selling environment, often the customer selects the products and services of interest, fills out an online contact form, and is contacted by a company sales representative. Injecting the proposal into a CPQ system to automate approval and up-sell/cross-sell is a better means to closing service-seeking proposals with business rules to determine best pricing based on a number of segmentation attributes.

Generally speaking, shipping freight costs on physical inventory, should be provided as well as any taxes and fees. Best practices in online selling require transparency throughout the selling process to reduce returns and customer churn.

Order

E-commerce and retail order management systems help merchants improve order processing, track inventory, partners and online selling marketplaces, and much more. Typical online Orders are placed directly online but can also be consummated via a call center, a chat window, email, or even a fax machine.

They key is to gather all the needed data to process the order, verify that the data is correct and above reproach, then communicate with the customer every step of the way via triggered events. When the order is placed, it should be confirmed to the customer as received. When the order is approved, it is communicated to the customer. When the order has processed and is ready to ship or provision, communicate. When the order ships or the service is provisioned, communicate. Seven to ten days later, touch base with the customer to make sure all met or exceeded their expectations.

The entire order process – and the systems that run those processes – should continuously be monitored to improve the customer experience. Most people that shop online do so because it is the path of least resistance. The baseline expectation of today’s shopper is “I push the BUY button, you take my money, you get me my stuff in a few days.” Exceeding those expectations at this point in the customer lifecycle will allow some all-important equity with the customer to be earned for the future.

Content Management System (CMS)

Content Management Systems (CMS) are applications used to create and distribute content in a centralized location. Entire websites are built and maintained on CMS, with the flexibility to store text, images, videos, data, etc. Content management systems have a wide variety of features customers leverage to boost their online presence such as Search Engine Optimization (SEO) services, additional modules and plugins, content templates, user management tools, and audit logs.

The best content management systems do two things: allow a company to easily mix, and match the content for both products and services to create bundles that are easy to understand and have a great value story, a don’t just piece-meal together a slew of SKUs onto a web page with promotional price.

The other task a good CMS does easily is generate on-the-fly landing pages for products, services, and bundles – targeting visitors based on demographics, incoming links, visitor status (new/returning), and a bevy of other segmentation provided by Marketing or Business Intelligence.

Branding

Every company strives to keep their Brand image across all selling channels and marketing activities. e-Commerce is a way to enhance brand image and awareness to potential customers, with thoughtful planning needed as enhanced visibility also creates risk of misaligned brand imaging.

Customers moving from generating paper bills on-premise to EBPP-generated statements also strive to keep consistent, effective branding. Logos, bill presentation, marketing materials, promotions, and so on, cast a much wider net brought online, and must be constantly evaluated for any negative branding effects.

Online visitors who may be unfamiliar with your brand should be presented with a number of trust factors early in the shopping experience. Testimonials, ratings and reviews, badges and awards, and data security call-outs should all become part of your online brand as well.

Product Catalog

An online Product Catalog is yet another instance of an organization’s offerings. Online catalog instances differ from instances in billing, provisioning, and selling catalogs as they often include enticing product descriptions and images.

CMS platforms may interact with other systems in a company’s ecosystem, and monetized environments streamline these integrations. Sourcing product data from separate catalogs helps ensure a single source of truth for data remains, even though it may be modeled in multiple systems/interfaces.

Bundling

Bundling has become a very important tool for company’s to increase customer spend, raise margins, and maintain competitiveness. While most visible in the telecommunications/entertainment industry, nearly all verticals use some sort of bundling strategy today.

Bundles can be a combination of products, services, extended warranties, and discounted and/or free delivery and installation. Strategies employed include dollars-off and percentage-off discounting, buy-this-get-that, and tiered savings based on customer spend. Some companies also use their customer-loyalty programs as an extension to entice potential buyers with additional benefits.

Online channels often require additional “triggers” to offer bundles. Inventory availability, geographic eligibility, even method of payment may be factors that allow or forbid displaying bundles online.

For billing and financial management processes, the online invoicing system should break out the individual pieces of a bundle and assign them a cost and a sale price so the correct General Ledger accounts can be updated and individual line item revenue recognized when the item-specific trigger has been flipped.

Present Invoice

Present Invoice is exactly what it sounds like – invoicing the customer for goods and services. Paperless, electronic invoicing is a huge cost-saver for companies, and a godsend for forests everywhere.

Self-care applications allow companies and their suppliers to create invoices and exchange billing, approval, and payment information without having to collect physical checks. Customers can pay, or even dispute, their invoices directly online, as well as get a history of all financial transactions made. A sound self-help portal online allows a company to reduce or redirect human resources from its call center environment, and, all else being equal, improve their customer satisfaction performance.

Dispute

Dispute is typically considered a billing issue. Credit card chargebacks, late fees, overcharges, duplicate charges, and courtesy concessions all fall under the dispute umbrella.

Disputes almost always need some form of human intervention to gather relevant details and placate the customer. Online self-help applications can gather the initial data, but follow-up needs to be immediate via a phone call, a chat session, or an email. And any action taken on the company’s part, needs to include an automated response to the customer to assure them the issue has been resolved to their satisfaction.

Trouble Ticket

Trouble Ticketing is closely related to Disputes, but casts a wider net. Trouble tickets are electronic records of customer issues, with all relevant data attached, that can span selling channels, products/services, and even include potential customers with no previous history.

A good trouble ticketing system includes a business rules engine that can change the status of a ticket, add pertinent data from a Knowledge Management system, and track the lifecycle of the entire case. Status changes should trigger automated communications with the customer and the account manager.

A holistic view of Trouble Ticket performance should be available via a dashboard, and the service incidences should forever be associated to the customer account to track their effect on churn, future spend, and lifetime value.

Payment

Payments represent customers paying for the invoice or services that they received from a service provider. They can be one-time, upfront payments for a physical good, or they can occur on a periodic basis for a recurring or subscription based service. Recurring or subscription payments occur most often monthly; however, quarterly or annually are other common practices, and subsequently payment intervals.

Payments come in a variety of forms, most commonly:

Credit Card Payment

Very typical in B2C and B2SMB industries, a credit or debit card is kept on file in a PCI compliant manner and recurring payments are processed on a periodic basis. Credit Card rejects for a variety of reasons are common and should be monitored carefully and proactively.

Still prevalent across all industries, most major service providers work with a Lockbox service provided by major banks to manage incoming check payments.

Automated Clearing House (ACH) is a form of electronic payments that are processed directly from the payer’s financial institution to the service provider’s.

Emerging payment methods including PayPal, Bitcoin, Apple Pay, Google Wallet, baseball cards, and beaver pelts.

Trial

Trialing is an important tool for service-provider enterprises. In a typical scenario, a customer is allowed to use a product or service for a limited time at no cost to test drive an offering before making a decision to purchase or subscribe. There are several ways that companies offer a Trial to its customers.

The most common method is for the company to collect the user’s payment information, authorize (not charge) the credit card, then begin charging the customer when the trial period has ended and the customer has not taken the proper steps to cancel. It has become common practice in most verticals to notify the customer that their trial period is nearing expiration, and offer them instructions on how to cancel.

It is a best practice to monitor customer usage during the trial period and periodically contact them for any questions or concerns.

The next method of trialing works similarly to the first, but the company does not collect payment information, but instead follows up with the trialing customer at scheduled intervals to close the deal on the product as well as up-sell and cross-sell. This method will usually generate many more opportunities, but a lower conversion rate to the product or service being trialed. Leads that participate in a trial in which they provide a credit card have made a conscious commitment to the product by volunteering their payment information, so it’s an easy, more convenient yes for the customer.

The third type of trial is common among email service providers. Many that target SMBs offer their product free until the user hits a certain threshold, be it contacts or mailings. Their pricing plans beyond the free threshold are typically reasonably priced and movement through the pricing striations becomes automated based on the customer’s usage of their service.

Regardless of which type of trialing is used, the opportunity becomes a customer when they sign up, and with that the Monetization Ecosystem is set in motion. Full account details,  fulfillment and provisioning, usage, zero-dollar invoicing – all of the company’s domains that would touch a typical order are triggered. Business Intelligence is gathered and employed. Marketing Automation loads the appropriate fodder, and Sales and Customer Service agents are deployed.

It’s time to build a customer.

Authorization

A good rule of thumb is generally, the amount of required proof to gain access to something is proportionate to the value of what is being sought. Security of systems resources generally follows a three-step process of identification, authentication, and authorization. Authorization is the process of giving someone permission to do or have something.

Entitlement

Entitlement is relatively new to the billing domain. Entitlement, in a billing context, is where the billing system is responsible for being the source of record for communicating whether a customer is entitled to use the service in the manner they are attempting – and whether there is a billable impact to what they are trying to do.

For example, if a monetization strategy is to allow a customer up to 10 downloads of a ringtone before they are charged $.50 per download, then the billing system may be invoked to quickly process a ringtone request and let the customer know that there may be a billing impact to this activity. This is a relatively new requirement for a billing engine, but it is an important part of maintaining a positive customer experience in usage based monetization models.

Up-Sell/Cross-Sell

This process is the central method for increasing Average Revenue Per User (ARPU), which is an essential growth metric for most service providers.

Up-selling is the process of selling more of a particular service. For example, moving from 6 MB for $25/mo to 18 MB for $45/mo internet speed is a typical up-sell.

Cross-sell is when a customer purchases a separate product or service from what they had originally. For example, if the customer originally had internet service, but expanded to include phone and cable, that is an example of ‘cross-sell’.

The combination of up-sell and cross-sell is the primary method of driving more revenue within an existing customer base. Another common phrase is walletshare. Many service providers have a goal of increasing the walletshare from their customer base, which is often done through up-sell/cross-sell measures. The concept of ‘bundling’ or ‘packaging’ is a method for accelerating up-sell/cross-sell.

Up-sell/cross-sell can be done at time of customer creation, or over the course of the life of the customer. In the context of a call center, many agents are compensated specifically for upsell/cross-sell as they perform their typical customer care. “Thank you for you updating your credit card information, did you happen to notice that we have expanded our internet offerings in your neighborhood and are offering a special 3-month free during the summer?”

Create & Maintain Account

Self-care applications allow customers to Create & Maintain Accounts. The use of self-care interfaces reduces the workload for account executives and CSRs as customers can now handle registration, updates, and cancellations.

When accounts are created through an e-Commerce/self-care application, it is more than likely that data will make its way to another system. Monetized ecosystems pass account information at the point of registration to additional systems (CRM, billing, provisioning, etc.) where data can be maintained and secured.

Create & Maintain Service

Much like product creation, new services should live in the Billing & Rating catalog with supporting data residing in the other systems’ databases. For products and services made available online, the Content Management System is synced with the Billing/Rating and Provisioning/Fulfillment catalogs to provide a stylized, customer-facing look at the service being provided.

Services can be built using flat-rate or unit pricing, and can either be a one-time charge such as a connection fee, or a recurring source of revenue as with cellular service. A consistently communicated message, both with the sales team and the customer, must make the distinction whether the service being provided is a single charge, or a service being given at a unit rate (hourly labor charge, mileage, or GBs of data, for instance).

Knowledge Management

Knowledge Management is generally defined as strategies and processes designed to identify, capture, structure, value, leverage, and share an organization’s intellectual assets to enhance its performance and competitiveness.

There are two critical aspects to a knowledge management system. First, an organization must capture and document an individual’s explicit and tacit knowledge. Second, it must disseminate the information out both internally and externally. The value of a good KMS is that information employees and customers have access to vetted data that is organized and easy-to-use.

Status

Status can mean a lot of things in the service provider space. You can have a status for a trouble ticket (high priority, to low priority), account (open or closed) or for a payment (approved, rejected, voided, etc.). Each status can have a different workflow attached to it. An example would be if your account status is past due, the system can lock you from certain functionality until your account status is back to current.


Detailed: People | Process | Technology

The Sales, Customer Service, and Product organizations rule the roost in the Customer-Initiated Interactions domain. Twenty-one of the 31 processes utilized by the domain are owned by one of these three groups.

Sales-People-IconCustomer-Service-People-IconProduct-People-IconFinance-People-IconFinance-Billing-People-IconIT-People-Icon

 

 

 

ATG maintains a set of 75 key business processes to support management of Customers and Revenue for Service Providers. Thirty-one of these processes originate, or are impacted by the Customer-Initiated Interactions domain. Below are the key processes that are touched in Customer-Initiated Interactions, categorized by the Organizational Unit that owns the process:


Sales Organization

Quote: Product Configuration – Configuration of feature and attributes of products and services prior to a sale.

Quote: Product/Service Pricing – Configuration of product and service prices available through quoting tool.

Quote: Product/Service Discount – Configuration of product and service discounts relating to certain criteria (e.g. volume discounts, geography).

Order Entry –  Creating a new service for a customer, including capturing the necessary information to provision and bill for the service effectively.

Renewal Processing – Methods used to renew a customers services, may be manual or automated.

Up-Sell Processing: Initial Order – Selling customer a better product or service than they originally expressed interest in, at the time of order.

Cross-Sell Processing: Initial Order – Selling a customer a separate product or service from what they had originally at the time of ordering.


Customer Service Organization

Customer Inquiry – The process of routing customer questions & concerns to the right solution and tracking the outcome.

Up-Sell Processing: Ongoing – The central method for increasing Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) and is the process of moving a customer to a better product or service throughout their lifetime with your company.

Cross-Sell Processing: Ongoing – The central method for increasing Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) and is the process of selling a separate product or service to a customer during the customers’ entire lifetime with your company.

Knowledge Management – The ability of a business to identify, create, and distribute information quickly across their customer base and the entire organization.

End Customer Account Maintenance – The methods by which a customer can manage their own account details via customer portal, website, etc.

End Customer Self Help – The way a customer can resolve problems on their own.

End Customer Self Help (Mobile) – The way a customer can resolve problems on their own via a mobile platform.


Finance Organization

Tax Processing – Methods used to streamline complicated taxation rules and regulations.


Finance – Billing Organization

Credit Card Processing – Methods to receive credit card payments including authorization, payment gateway, processing, interchange, and credit card success.

Payment Processing – The steps taken to process different payment methods from customers.


Product Organization

New Product Introduction Process – Configuring attributes and introducing a new product or service to the product catalog.

New Product Introduction Process (Mobile) – Configure attributes and introduce new products and services made available on mobile devices.

New Product Monetization Process – The configuration of pricing for a new product or service.

Bundled Product Introduction Process – Configuring and introduction of a bundled product or service to the product catalog.

Promotion & Discount Introduction – The configuration of promotions and discounts of new products or services.

Trial Processing – Configuration and management of products that do not bill at all during an agreed upon time frame, includes processes for provisioning and reporting

Entitlement Processing – Management of active products and services within a customer account.


I.T. Organization

Maintenance and Oversight of Monetization Ecosystem – processes around ensuring that all touch points and connections within the ecosystem are optimized to their fullest potential.

Vendor Management of Monetization Ecosystem – oversight and communication duties of ecosystem software components and their vendors, including management of vendor road map and change logs and general relationship nurturing.

Monitoring & Testing of Vendor Functional Releases – as ecosystem components release updates and patches, each is checked and tested to confirm all systems are working together as required by the business’ requirements.

Cross-Training of Monetization Ecosystem Components – process for training organizational resources on the appropriate software systems.

Security Oversight of Monetization Ecosystem – process for maintaining and controlling access and permissions to ecosystem components.

Data Stewardship Across Monetization Ecosystem
– process of assigning ownership and sources of truth for data within the organization.


All Organizations

Daily, Periodic, or Ad Hoc Reporting (Extraction, Load, Report, Dashboard) – movement of data between domains to create single source of truth for reporting and dashboarding.


The Customer-Initiated Interactions domain is divided into two software categories – E-Commerce and Entitlement. Here’s a quick summary of each:

E-Commerce – Software solutions that provide a platform for online selling. Generally provide integrated multi-channel, multi-site selling and can manage small B2C up to large enterprise B2B direct-channel selling of products and services.

Entitlement – Entitlement software solutions are used by software manufacturers and sellers that need to monitor usage, licensing, security, installation, and monetization.

Each will be segmented in the Key Vendor section below.

E-Commerce Key Vendors

Founded: 2004
HQ: Burlington, MA
Company Type: Public
Website: www.demandware.com
Cloud/On-Premise: Cloud

Demandware specializes in E-commerce across all avenues of business. Demandware Commerce Cloud is this company’s key multi-tenant cloud solution offering.  From purchase to post-sale service, the Demandware Commerce Cloud offers streamlined retail operations including:

  • Digital commerce
  • Order management
  • Point-of-sale operations
  • Store operations
  • Predictive intelligence

In addition to Cloud Commerce, Demandware offers services in retail practice, customer success management, implementation services, education services, and support services.

Demandware tends to target enterprise level companies in a wide variety of specialties. These businesses usually have a prevalent online presence and range from clothing retailers to cosmetic companies.

Burton – retailer of snowboarding clothing and equipment

Callaway – producer of golf apparel and equipment

Godiva – gourmet Belgian chocolate company

GoPro – producer of cameras used in action sports

JoAnn – American fabric and craft store

Founded: 1994
HQ: Minnetonka, MN
Company Type: Privately Held
Website: www.digitalriver.com
Cloud/On-Premise: Cloud

Digital River specializes in global E-commerce as well as payment and marketing solutions. This company is a leading global provider of Commerce-as-a-Service solutions (CaaS). These solutions include multi-device shopper experience capability and complete order management using a scalable cloud-based SaaS E-commerce solution. Digital River’s offerings include:

  • Advanced reporting
  • Site development and hosting
  • Pricing and order management
  • Physical and digital fulfillment
  • Multi-lingual customer service
  • Merchandising
  • Subscription solutions and recurring billing
  • Global tax services

Digital River targets a variety of companies, from clothing retailers to software companies.  These companies range from local online companies to enterprise level businesses. Digital River’s customers typically have a prevalent online presence.

Adobe – global leader in digital solutions including marketing and media

Autodesk – developer of 3D design, engineering, and entertainment software

Logitech – producer and distributor of a variety of computer equipment and accessories

Pacsun – retailer of clothing and shoes

Spotify – commercial music and podcast streaming company

Founded: 2000
HQ: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Company Type: Privately Held
Website: http://elasticpath.com
Cloud/On-Premise: Cloud

Elastic Path specializes in E-commerce solutions across all platforms of business. These solutions offer omni-channel E-commerce on a multi-tenant cloud platform. Their key offerings include:

  • Java E-commerce Platform
  • Elastic Path Commerce Engine
  • Elastic Path Cortex – Commerce Broker API
  • Elastic Path Subscriptions

Elastic Path also offers integration with experience management platforms by Adobe, SiteCore, and Acquia, among others.

Elastic Path tends to target enterprise level companies in a wide variety of specialties. These enterprises range from educational businesses to media companies and tend to have a prevalent online presence.

McGraw-Hill Education – educational textbook and technology company

Virgin Media – mobile telephone, television, and broadband internet service provider

Time Inc. – American publishing company

Western Union – financial services and communications company

Founded: 1997
HQ: Munich, Germany
Company Type: Privately Held
Website: www.hybris.com
Cloud/On-Premise: Cloud

hybris, an SAP Company, offers enterprise software and on-demand solutions for multi-channel commerce, master data management, and order management. They aid businesses globally in selling goods, services, and digital content through every touch point, channel, and device. hybris’ key offering is OmniCommerce™, which gives businesses a single view of their customers, products, and orders as well as gives their customers a single view of the business. Their software is available on-premise, on-demand, and managed hosted, giving merchants maximum flexibility. Specialties include:

  • Omni-Commerce
  • Customer Data Management
  • Context Driven Marketing Tools
  • Unified Commerce Processes
  • Market Capitalization

Principal industry analyst firms have ranked hybris as a leader and have listed its commerce platform among the top two or three in the market.

hybris appears to target a large variety of companies that range from mid-sized to large businesses and enterprises.

Nikon – provider of digital imaging, precision optics, and photo imaging technology

Ted Baker – UK and US fashion retailer

Asics – designer and manufacturer of running shoes, athletic footwear, apparel, and accessories

Samsung – a technology company that spans many industries including semiconductors, skyscraper and plant construction, petrochemicals, fashion, medicine, finance, hotels, and more

Founded: 1996
HQ: New York, NY
Company Type: Public
Website: www.ibm.com
Cloud/On-Premise: Cloud

IBM WebSphere Commerce provides an e-commerce platform that delivers seamless and consistent omni-channel shopping experiences, including mobile, social, and in-store. WebSphere Commerce was founded in 1996 as Net.Commerce, in 2001 the company was renamed WebSphere Commerce Suite. WebSphere Commerce helps extend brands across customer touch points while engaging customers with immersive brand experiences through contextually relevant content, marketing, and promotions. IBM WebSphere Commerce product editions include:

  • Commerce on Cloud
  • WebSphere Commerce Express
  • WebSphere Commerce Enterprise
  • WebSphere Commerce Professional

These product editions range to cover various operating systems including Linux, Windows, Solaris (Sun Microsystems), AIX, and IBM i (formerly known as i5/OS®).

IBM WebSphere Commerce tends to target high-volume B2C and B2B companies that range from mid-sized to enterprise level businesses.

Nokia – world’s largest mobile phone manufacturer

IKEA – multinational group of companies that designs and sells ready-to-assemble furniture, appliances, small motor vehicles, and home accessories

Argos Retail Group – UK’s leading general merchandise retailer

Boots – UK’s leading health and beauty retailer

The North Face – company offering an extensive line of performance apparel, equipment, and footwear

Founded: 2002
HQ: New York, NY
Company Type: Privately Held
Website: www.crm.infor.com
Cloud/On-Premise: Cloud

Infor CRM, formerly known as Saleslogix CRM,  is a cloud-based software solution, which specializes in Sales and Marketing Automation. This CRM offering includes an integrated user interface through embedded Microsoft Outlook toolbars. With an emphasis on sales cycle management and opportunity development, this solution helps companies maximize profitability on potential leads and speed up sales cycles. Some other key features of Infor CRM are:

  • Advanced Marketing Campaign Management
  • Customer Service Management
  • In depth reporting and analytics

Infor CRM pairs its easy integration with Microsoft Outlook and Gmail to provide exceptional mobile and tablet functionality, as well as support, to help drive user productivity.

Infor tends to target SMBs within specific industries and niche micro-verticals such as equipment, manufacturing, healthcare, distribution, and public sector industries. Infor leverages its flexible software to customize and tailor a CRM solution in order to meet industry specific needs.

Quality Solutions Inc. – facilities Management Company

Big River Communications – commercial phone service Communications Company

Watlow – climate control manufacturer

Equifax – consumer credit reporting agency

Noble Systems Corporation – contact center technology service provider

Founded: 1997
HQ: Redwood Shores, CA
Company Type: Public
Website: www.oracle.com
Cloud/On-Premise: Cloud

Oracle ATG is a web commerce suite enabling users to deliver a personalized online buying experience for customers by presenting relevant content and merchandising, personalized searches, customized marketing programs, and tailored websites. Oracle’s Web Commerce solution also contains the following features:

  • B2B Module
  • Adaptive Scenario Engine
  • Unified Multi-Suite Architecture
  • Data Anywhere Architecture
  • ATG Commerce Reference Store

In addition to the web commerce suite, Oracle ATG provides Web Commerce Customer Service Support, Live Help on Demand, and Recommendations on Demand.

Oracle ATG’s target market consists of small to large ecommerce developers, business owners, and online retail enthusiasts wanting to create a technical ecosystem around Oracle Endeca, while supporting business-to-consumer and business-to-business selling models.

Shenhua Group – China’s largest coal enterprise and distributor

Fox Head – international retailer of motocross race apparel and performance gear

Netshoes – sporting goods and leisure e-commerce site

Mr. Price – South African retail company selling fashionable clothing

Retail World AE – Greece and Cyprus-based retailer selling clothing, technology, communication, and entertainment products

 

Entitlement Key Vendors

Founded: 1987
HQ: Itasca, IL
Company Type: Privately Held
Website: www.flexerasoftware.com
Cloud/On-Premise: Cloud

Flexera Software is the leading provider of next-generation software licensing, compliance, security and installation solutions for application producers and enterprises. Our next-generation software licensing, compliance and installation solutions are essential to ensure continuous licensing compliance, optimized software investments and to future-proof businesses against the risks and costs of constantly changing technology.

Solutions for application producers (companies that develop software):

  • Monetize and protect software
  • Monetize the Internet of Things
  • Manage software entitlements
  • Electronically deliver and update software
  • Develop software installers

Solutions for Enterprises (companies that buy and use software):

  • Ensure compliance and optimize spend
  • Set up an enterprise app store
  • Assess application compatibility
  • Package and patch applications
  • Mitigate cyber-security risks

Flexera’s target market is any company that sells software solutions for download and installation, or any enterprise that buys and uses software in their monetization ecosystem.

Microsoft – software giant responsible for Windows, Office, and a host of other hugely popular applications and platforms.

NASA – US Space & Aviation government sector

Intel – Microprocessor manufacturer

Boeing – Aviation manufacturer based in Seattle area.

Founded: 2006
HQ: North Holland,  Netherlands
Company Type: Public
Website: www.gemalto.com
Cloud/On-Premise: Cloud

Gemalto is an international digital security company providing software applications, secure personal devices such as smart cards and tokens, and managed services. It is the world’s largest manufacturer of SIM cards.

Gemalto’s services include:

  • Payment & e-banking
  • Deploying citizen ID and eGov services
  • ID management services
  • Service, delivery, management, and consulting
  • Mobile services and out-sourcing

Gemalto enables its clients to offer trusted digital services for billions of individuals and things.

 

Gemalto’s target market consists of clients within the following verticals – Financial Services, Government, Mobile, Enterprise Security, Internet of Things, and Software Monetization.

Exostar – electronic pharmaceutical prescription provider

Baker Tilley – major US accounting firm

Pfizer – Global pharmaceutical giant

Seattle Children’s Hospital – One of the leading Pediatric Hospitals in the country

Founded: 2000
HQ: Lowell, MA
Company Type: Privately Held
Website: www.o-ms.com
Cloud/On-Premise: Cloud

OMS SafeHarbor’s Entitlement Management platform gives companies state of the art controls over the entitlement process for their software, licenses, and digital assets. Orders, subscriptions, support contracts, evaluation periods, bundled product and service agreements, are all being negotiated in finer and more precise details. Their platform calculates entitlement based on inputs from CRM systems, order management systems, ERP tools and application lifecycle management systems. The results are presented dynamically in a customer-facing Entitlement Center portal.

OMS SafeHarbor tends to target any company or enterprise that has software or technology licenses available for distribution.

Amazon Web Services – Provider of IaaS and PaaS

RackSpace – managed cloud computing company based in Texas

Akamai – content delivery network (CDN) and cloud services provider headquartered in Cambridge, MA

DynDNS – US DNS and domain provider

 
 

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