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--> E.piphany partners with IBM for CRM software suite... --> CRM spending will reach $19.6 billion by 2005, but remain flat in 2002, according to an Aberdeen Group study... --> ACORD and AgoraINS have launched the Life Reinsurance Transaction Implementation Pilot...

By Elizabeth Ann Peer

E.piphany Inc., a San Mateo, CA-based CRM software company, recently announced that IBM (Armonk, NY) would offer full integration services for the company's suite of CRM applications. The alliance between the two companies will provide CRM solutions to clients in a wide variety of industries including the insurance and retailing banking industries. The two companies hope to provide a total CRM solution by integrating E.piphany's CRM suite and IBM's middleware and hardware platforms, specifically IBM's J2EE-based WebSphere Application Server, AIX operating system, and DB2 database software platforms. E.piphany's marketing applications will be the first area of integration.

Boston-based Aberdeen Group, a market analysis and positioning services firm, has released a report focusing on current and future trends in the CRM area. The report, titled "Worldwide CRM Spending: Forecast and Analysis 2001-2005," indicates that spending in the global CRM sector will remain level during 2002 but will grow in following years to reach $19.6 billion by 2005. The recent economic downfall can explain the slowdown in CRM spending, the report says, but as spending increases in 2003 more markets outside of the United States will take advantage of CRM. The report specifies that future CRM growth will happen in midsize enterprises, and the creation of new CRM categories will be a factor.

META Group (Stamford, CT) has announced that PeopleSoft, Inc. (Pleasanton, CA) currently holds the top position on the META Group's METAspectrum for CRM. The METAspectrum for CRM evaluates forty critical vendor presence and performance criteria in order to provide the most up-to-date information about vendors and CRM trends for clients considering CRM solutions. PeopleSoft was recognized by the META Group for its enterprise strategy, availability of technology and integration capabilities. The application software company was able to achieve this lead due to its suite of products that allows businesses to connect their CRM processes with customer data in real time to learn the most about their customers' behavior.

AgoraINS, a Chicago-based insurance network solutions provider, has launched the Life Reinsurance Transaction Implementation Pilot to test a standard format for reinsurance transaction reporting. Life insurance carriers and reinsurers have formed an alliance with ACORD (Pearl River, NY) to create the pilot. This system uses ANSI/EDIFAC work, EDI technology and ACORD's standard message that takes advantage of XML technology. Data in any format can be taken by the clearinghouse and translated into the standard format by AgoraINS as a single stream. The stream can be distributed to reinsurers without the difficulty of multiple data streams being sent to multiple parties, leading this pilot to be a more cost-effective measure for all those involved, according to AgoraINS.

Cambridge, MA-based Pegasystems announced that HealthNow, doing business as BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York and BlueShield of Northeastern New York, has finished the first phase of the company's claim automation software. HealthNow has used the software to automate its claims processing procedures and in result has increased its operator's productivity. The healthcare company has also noticed an increased number of claims handled per hour, less overtime and more management control since the software was implemented almost four months ago.

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