Epicor has released its first major overhaul of its CRM application since the company shifted its product line to the .NET platform. At that time, in 2002, Epicor introduced new CRM functionality that played upon the benefits of moving away from a client-server environment. This release focuses more on integration with third-party productivity applications as well as connectivity with such functions as computer telephony.
Epicor Clientele CRM.NET 8.5 “is most significant development we have made in last five years in terms of dealing with challenges and opportunities that have arisen in the CRM market,” James Norwood, vice president of product marketing for Epicor, told CRM Buyer.
The investments the company made in its revamped app have been done with an eye toward pushing the application to touch as many users and end recipients as possible. “We wanted to extend the value of a CRM application to the broadest possible community of stakeholders,” Norwood said.
The company has integrated outside functionality of many familiar applications, such as Microsoft Sharepoint and Office — specifically Outlook — into Clientele CRM.NET 8.5.
Epicor Service Connect is a new business integration platform in this release that functions as a central integration point for secure workflow configurations within Epicor as well as external connectivity to Epicor and third-party applications. It provides, for instance, both inbound and outbound business document integration. It also enables users to automate tasks and processes within the application.
Epicor provides an example of Service Connect’s functionality: the setup of Server Event Listeners, which wait for a specified event to occur, such as when a sales quote is updated, and then send the data set of the transaction — the updated quote — to an automated Service Connect workflow, such as a sales quote approval process.
This release also includes a new Self-Service content pack for Epicor Portal, which is based on Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services, or Microsoft Office SharePoint Portal Server 2003. The content pack, essentially prepackaged content, may be extended using the Epicor Portal Explorer, which has full role-based access to CRM data via XML schema.
Epicor Information Worker is the cross-product line for Microsoft Office, which makes certain information available in the productivity suite through either online or disconnected access.
For example, users can download sales and contact history as well as daily activities from the Outlook Calendar, then capture customer interaction details within Outlook prior to synchronizing the information back to the main system.