*Acxiom, Optima Form Alliance

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Acxiom Corp., Little Rock, AR, a customer data integration system vendor, said yesterday it has formed a strategic alliance with Optima Technologies, Marietta, GA. The partnership will allow Optima's ExSellence Suite of e-customer relationship management tools to include Acxiom's AbiliTec CDI software and InfoBase data.

AbiliTec is Acxiom's CDI software that enables customer relationship management systems to create a comprehensive view of the customer across the business enterprise. This single view combines disparate information from multiple customer contact points such as catalog sales, Web pages and traditional stores.

Linked to Acxiom's knowledge base of business and consumer names and addresses, AbiliTec can handle large-scale databases of hundreds of millions of customer records, providing enhanced relationship management, greater accuracy in database marketing and constant data enhancement.

"Acxiom's … CDI software gives ExSellence users even more power and flexibility in understanding and satisfying their customers," said Pete Dios, Optima president/CEO. "The addition of AbiliTec and InfoBase to our existing components gives our clients near instantaneous access to cleaner, more complete data on prospects and customers. That translates into lower marketing costs and more sales."

Optima provides ExSellence solution suites in building-block form, allowing each client to provide its users with the functions and data they need to perform their jobs. This alliance with Acxiom will add two additional blocks to the ExSellence component library: one that provides customer data integration, and another that uses external demographic data to fill in the gaps where internal data is unavailable.

ExSellence supports sales, marketing and customer-service efforts across the enterprise. Sales representatives use ExSellence to improve their performance; managers use the product to keep a close eye on customer relationship activities; and the marketing department uses it to track leads, manage marketing campaigns and fulfill literature requests, among other tasks. ExSellence offers blocks in business intelligence, customer care, e-commerce, contact management, sales management, marketing and expense reporting. Each building block is easily customized.

"Our partnership allows Optima to offer real-time access to Acxiom's breakthrough AbiliTec software and our renowned InfoBase data for its e-CRM solutions," said Stephen Brighton, Acxiom's strategic alliances group leader.

"In less than a second, the Acxiom products can allow ExSellence to identify and verify visitors while filling in the gaps of their customer data. In effect, ExSellence will be offering the most complete view of the customer available, creating a mutually fulfilling experience between clients and their visitors."

Industry analysts agree that AbiliTec and ExSellence are a potent combination for CDI.

"The currency of the digital marketplace is intelligence, but it's hard to leverage the cumulative knowledge collected by disparate systems," said Aaron Zornes, executive vice president and director of application delivery strategies at the META Group, Stamford, CT. "A real-time, panoramic, single customer view is the holy grail of CRM -- everyone is searching for it."

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