NCR Unveils CRM Software

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NCR Corp., Dayton, OH, unveiled a new software product last week that allows marketing analysts to mine back-office databases for clues to serving customers.

NCR said the software, called InteractionPlus, allows businesses to pipe customer transaction data stored on NCR's back-office Teradata databases -- or other major data warehouses -- to front-office systems used by analysts to manage customer relationships.

Businesses, for example, can capture customer transaction data from various touch points, and then put all of this information into a customer data repository, which allows users to analyze the data in near-time: two to five minutes. Then they can deliver enhanced services back through those same customer touch points.

The touch points can include kiosks -- the freestanding terminal located in retail stores, airports and stadiums -- to NCR Teradata data warehouses, call centers and the Internet.

"Data warehouses traditionally are not used in a real-time environment. They are used for decision support, which tends to be an off-line environment, and, as a result, the information from the warehouse is not going to be very current," said Martin Sinnott, director of marking strategy, customer interaction solutions group at NCR. "InteractionPlus, however, is a real-time environment that responds to customers coming in on the different customers interaction channels."

Sinnott said the system can be used on an hourly basis, fine-tuning your campaigns, checking to see how well the campaign is working, and making adjustments on the campaign in near-time results.

InteractionPlus is part of NCR's overall Customer Interaction Solutions suite and consists of two modules: The customer information manager module, which integrates the information collected across multiple interaction channels, and the customer personalization manager module, which personalizes responses to customers across channels based on segmentation criteria and previous customer interactions. InteractionPlus feeds the data gathered via the various customer touch points to a customer-centric Teradata data warehouse for analysis of customer behavior and predictive modeling of future buying habits. It then feeds the results of that analysis back to the customer touch points.

The product, which when purchased with a Teradata data warehouse running on a Windows NT server, costs about $1 million, includes professional and support services. The product will target the retail, financial utility, communications, insurance and transportation industries.

InteractionPlus expands NCR's reach into the fragmented market for customer relationship management software, where it competes as well as partners with companies like Siebel Systems Inc., Vantive and IBM's CorePoint.

Patricia Seybold, CEO of the Patricia Seybold Group, Boston, said the NCR announcement is important to the CRM space.

"NCR's experience in both capturing data and customer touch points and in analyzing that information for customer insight using its Teradata warehouses makes NCR a valuable resource for companies looking to implement CRM solutions," said Seybold. "Now, with the announcement of InteractionPlus, companies can take action on these customer interactions, resulting in closed loop marketing initiatives."

"NCR understands the importance of maximizing interactions with customers to increase profitability and raise the level of customer satisfaction and loyalty," said Mark Hurd, senior vice president of NCR's national accounts solutions group. "With the introduction of InteractionPlus, businesses will have everything they need to optimize customer relationships by extending valuable customer knowledge to the front line where consumers interact with the business."

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