Xchange Inc. next week will unveil Xchange 8, the latest version of its marketing analytics software. Enhancements include support for more platforms; better integration with internal customer-relationship management applications, Web sites, and partner-relationship management applications; and analytics to help determine customers' value in real time.
Value in Play analytics pulls data from disparate applications such as sales-force automation, call-center, ATM, and online customer-service apps to determine the value of any customer. The software calculates the cost of interacting with the customer and subtracts that from the amount of money the customer has spent on products. The software may recommend cross-selling a certain product based on past purchasing habits and specific inquiries made to the call center. Or the software may recommend attrition of an unprofitable customer.
The new eMessaging ASP application lets sales staff communicate with customers. The software also includes a new user interface with workflow wizards that can be customized to fit a company's needs, as well as enhanced Java 2 Enterprise Edition support that lets IT departments more easily integrate Xchange software with existing business-intelligence and data-mining tools and other legacy applications. It supports both IBM MQ Series and IBM WebSphere.
Analysts say real-time analytics give Xchange an advantage over CRM players such as E.piphany, Unica, and Chordiant. Traditionally, most marketing automation apps are based on data marts or data warehouses, which are unsuitable for a transactional or operational environment, Forrester Research analyst Eric Schmitt says. The Xchange Campaign product fits this description, but the Real Time product is quite different. It uses a J2EE/webMethods (Active Software) infrastructure to pull together customer information as needed, during the interaction. "It's pretty unique and sophisticated stuff," Schmitt says.
Xchange has struggled financially this year, but it recently landed new financing and hired a CEO and chief marketing officer. "These execs have focused on the sales and distribution aspect of the business, which is a good place to start," Schmitt says. "In terms of challenges, Xchange needs to complete the integration of the Real Time and Campaign products as soon as possible. It needs to continue to land enough customers for the Campaign/Analytics products to keep the business afloat until end-user awareness of and demand for the more complex Real Time product heats up."
The new suite will ship by the end of the year with enhancements scheduled throughout 2002. Pricing starts at $475,000 plus consulting fees.