Amdocs to Embed IBM’s DB2, Optim in CRM App

Amdocs and IBM have entered into an original equipment manufacturer agreement in which Amdocs will embed the IBM DB2 Data Server and the IBM Optim Data Growth application in its CRM product line. It is the first OEM agreement IBM has inked involving Optim, Steve Tallant, senior manager of product line management with IBM, told CRM Buyer.

The Optim product line entered IBM’s fold last year with Big Blue’s acquisition of Princeton Softech, a privately held company headquartered in Princeton, N.J., that provides software for application-aware database archiving, test data management and data masking.

The product allows users to segregate historical data from current data and then, based on both standard and user-defined business rules, gives users highly-tuned control over which data is archived.

Optimizing Operations

Marrying Amdocs’ CRM application — its Amdocs CES 7.5 — to Optim is expected to provide users with optimal performance management, Scott Kolman, director of product marketing and customer management for Amdocs, told CRM Buyer.

In every application-middleware integration scenario, there are risks to the operating environment, he said, not to mention higher-than-expected operational costs. “Having our application run on these servers reduces those risks considerably.”

This OEM differs from other application-data base tie ups, Tallant added, because of the data-archiving value add that Optim offers. Traditionally database managers have approached data storage as a purge task, he noted. “This product set allows users to look up data, report on it, perhaps recycle it back into active mode if need be, or archive it again.”

A typical use case might be in a contact center, where reps must field all kinds of requests, many of which date back some years, Kolman added.

BT is one early adopter of the joint product development. “In adopting Amdocs CRM as a strategic solution for BT’s internal service management operations, usage will increase across our enterprise, as will the need to archive historical Amdocs CRM data,” said Rob Parker, program manager at BT. “IBM’s Optim is an integral component for archiving Amdocs CRM data that has high transaction rates and data retention requirements, allowing us to significantly reduce hardware expenditures and meet Amdocs CRM performance and availability service level agreements.”

Increased Synergy

This OEM is likely to be replicated with other vendors, Sheryl Kingstone, a Yankee Group analyst, told CRM Buyer. “The future for these vendors is all about the platform and its interoperability,” she noted, a point that was driven home when Oracle acquired BEA.

That acquisition “opened up an avenue for IBM to focus on a new relationship with Amdocs,” she added. Historically, Oracle’s Siebel has been IBM’s main application partner, with other providers taking a more one-off role in development. That is changing, Kingstone noted, with Amdocs a prime example. “They are becoming much more synergistic with each other.”

Last January, Amdocs and IBM agreed to jointly develop sub-solutions that address specific business problems of service providers. Then, in February of 2007, the duo announced they would start targeting their joint product development efforts specifically at service providers in the telecommunications industry.

Road Map to Integration

The deal concluded, Amdocs and IBM are now developing a road map to integrate Amdocs CRM with IBM’s DB2 and the Optim Data Growth products.

This integration will include:

  • Advanced CRM database compression and archiving tools that reduce storage hardware costs and maximize system performance;
  • Automated data recovery utilities;
  • Real-time user access to archived customer data; and
  • Integrated data governance, regulatory compliance and other audit tools.

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