BACKGROUND: With an installed base of over two million users, Visio Corp. is the leading supplier of enterprise diagramming and technical drawing software. Named in June, 1998 by Business Week as one of the 100 hot growth companies in the U.S., Visio boasts yearly revenues of over $100 million.

PLATFORMS: Visio runs Epiphany's solution on an HP Netserver LXPro dual-processor with 512MB RAM and 36GB drive space running NT 4.0.

PROBLEM SOLVED: Visio wanted a system that would give the company central access to sales and customer information with the ultimate goal of better understanding and managing the customer life cycle. The starting point was a reporting capability. This would give company executives easy, immediate access to data from an SAP system that centralized product sales and revenue information. This system enabled Visio to consolidate bookings, billings, sell through and related information; but the information was neither easily, nor readily accessible. Visio executives wanted to be able to understand who sold what products, to whom and when. Our CEO wanted to be able to track business in a timely, comprehensive way. The company needed a holistic view of its corporate customers so it could build profiles of their needs and purchase habits and identify future sales opportunities.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: Epiphany's Web-based enterprise relationship management (ERM) software allows companies to extract information from more than 20 different business applications both internal and external. Epiphany applications then provide the flexibility and ability to drill down on that information and use it to better understand customers and build unbreakable, lifelong relationships. Epiphany's applications allow that information to be accessed through any standard Web browser and users can view individual cuts on the information through a point-and-click interface.

STRENGTHS: Epiphany's software is robust, Web-based, can be rapidly deployed, is easy to use and scales to meet enterprise needs. Epiphany's packaged solution replaces piece-part, custom solutions. At Visio, the Epiphany system went live in a mere eight weeks. The system was so popular and effective that it became mission critical within a week of going on-line. People were effusive about having real-time data to work with on their desktop. Being Web- and browser-based, the only training users needed was to know what URL to use. Epiphany is going to be our worldwide data warehouse with every system feeding into it to help us understand and monitor the customer life cycle.

WEAKNESSES: The only major weakness we found was that Epiphany does not yet do nested drill-down reports which apparently will be coming out later this year.

SELECTION CRITERIA: The key criteria for Visio were finding an enterprise-strength solution that could be up and running rapidly, giving our business staff instant, easy information access without extensive training and ensuring rapid, accurate delivery of sales and customer data from SAP. We looked at several solutions, but Epiphany stood out. SAP's own reporting tools were difficult to configure for our business but Epiphany had a complete end-to-end solution.

DELIVERABLES: We had three key deliverables, the first being information extraction and integration. We wanted to access and integrate sales reporting information from our SAP system, sell-through information from a legacy database to extract and integrate general ledger information. Second, we wanted to make that information available in a timely and easy-to-use manner; and third we had the goal of building a solution that would ultimately allow us to better understand, monitor and maximize our customer life cycle through excellent enterprise relationship management.

VENDOR SUPPORT: Epiphany was excellent to work with. They had a beta up and running within three weeks. We work directly with Epiphany's customer support group and have excellent and highly reliable support.

DOCUMENTATION: An incredible strength of the Epiphany solution is the fact that it is enterprise-strength software that requires little or no training. Access is through a standard browser so anyone who uses a browser is immediately at home with the system. Epiphany has extensive on-line help. Customers can also create and integrate an in-house glossary of terms that are specific to their own needs, which is a very welcome feature.

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