Unica Debuts Integrated Product Suite for CRM

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Customer relationship management vendor Unica Corp., Lincoln, MA, will debut this week an integrated product suite designed for companies seeking to implement one-to-one marketing and to leverage customer interactions across multiple data sources and touch points.

The suite, Affinium, brings together Affinium Model, Unica's data mining and predictive modeling software; Affinium Campaign, for automated, cross-channel campaign management; Affinium Interact, for creating personalized, permission-based e-mail communications; and a new module, Affinium Report, an open business intelligence reporting framework and Web portal designed for marketing professionals. Some of these features had been marketed previously as stand-alone products.

The key to Unica's ability to integrate multiple channels -- such as customer call centers, data warehouses and Web sites -- is its Universal Dynamic Interconnect, or UDI, an architectural layer that enables Unica Affinium to access database and flat files concurrently, as well as to share data with all customer touch-point systems. This ability, according to Unica, eliminates the need for a company to build an application-specific data mart, which is a time-consuming and expensive requirement for a company implementing a customer relationship management system.

Analysts think that allowing the system to work without having to build a data mart gives it a competitive edge.

"Most [CRM] vendors assume that a company already has a data mart in place, where data can be retrieved and used in their CRM programs," said Scott Nelson, vice president, Gartner Group Inc., Stamford, CT. "But many companies have data scattered around their companies, and as a result have to build a data mart to bring all of this data together. UDI's open architecture, however, allows companies to get at that data without having to build a data mart specifically for CRM."

Nelson said this unique structure also allows companies to work with dynamic data and with more data in general.

"With scattered data, it's usually easier for companies to get to only one source of data ... but as a result, they work with less data," he said. "This system allows them to get the data they need from any number of sources."

Affinium runs in both Windows NT and Unix environments and is scalable to multiple servers. Affinium is already available.
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