EDS Targets Holiday E-Commerce with Solutions, Alliances

Gearing up for what most analysts have predicted to be record-shattering
e-commerce sales for the holidays, Electronic Data Systems Tuesday waged a
full-on treatment of digital Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
services — inking seven strategic alliances to power them.


Rolling out the solutions from the Electronic Commerce World Conference in
Orlando, Fla., EDS said it is looking to corner mammoth sales in a sector
that IDC claims is a $35 billion market.


The crux of the seven solutions include turnkey and outsourced services that
empower companies to manage sustained approach to business, centered around
the all-important customer.


And EDS made sure it got the right help with market leaders Lucent’s
enterprise spinoff Avaya, ServiceWare Technologies Inc., Siebel Systems
Inc., McHugh Inc., NCR Corp., Retek Inc. and Servicesoft Inc.


The breakdown of the partnerships is as follows:

  • Avaya — EDS will use Avaya’s CentreVu™ Internet Solutions and CRM
    Central 2000 software to streamline and intelligently manage incoming and
    outgoing customer contacts over multiple communications channels, including
    fax, phone, Web and e-mail

  • ServiceWare — EDS will integrate ServiceWare’s Web-based eService
    Suite(C) into client customer interaction center and CRM programs

  • Siebel — Siebel will provide desktop and front office CRM solutions
    encompassing call center, sales and field service automation,
    marketing automation, and applications for dot-com, e-channel, and
    industry-specific engagements

  • McHugh — EDS will incorporate the McHugh multi-client warehouse
    management system for real-time inventory tracking and reverse logistics in
    the company’s warehousing facilities in Fairfield, Ohio; Des Moines, Iowa;
    and Clarion, Iowa
  • NCR Corp. — EDS will offer NCR’s data warehousing capabilities to CRM
    clients
  • Retek Inc. — Retek will provide EDS clients with real-time, online
    order management systems and web-enabled product
    fulfillment tools
  • Servicesoft Inc. — EDS will incorporate the Servicesoft 2001
    integrated suite of Internet customer service solutions into its clients’
    customer interaction center and CRM programs


“Once a CRM vision is established, core components like contact management
and sales force automation are implemented first, with a strategy for
augmenting the solution over time,” said Mark Coggin, vice president with
META Group Consulting.


“In order to cope with this stepwise lifecycle, firms looking to implement
CRM must engage a strategic services partner who has strengths along the
entire CRM lifecycle — from vision and strategy, through integration and
implementation, to operation and outsourcing of specific CRM-related
business processes.”


Yankee Group Program Manager of Customer Resource Management Sheryl Kingstone told InternetNews.com Tuesday that EDS’ solution appears to be a robust package — good enough, even to compete with rivals Andersne Consulting and IBM.


“They’ve partnered with some good companies,” Kingstone said. “There is a lot of competition and they don’t want to give it to IBM and Andersen consulting.”


After 35 years in the business, EDS seems to be well aware of that fact.


Apparently liking EDS’ strategy, Goldman Sachs’ Tuesday decided to add the
stock to its “U.S. recommended for purchase list,” trumping its previous
“market outperformer” rating. The firm offered no further details about the
reasons for the upgrade. However this didn’t seem to help the perennial
firm’s stock much — midday trading saw shares of EDS down
slightly under 1 percent.

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