CATEGORY: CRM Analytics

REVIEWER: Pamela Maxwell, vice president of marketing for Interline Brands, Inc.

BACKGROUND: Interline Brands, Inc. is a $630+ million distributor of plumbing, electrical, hardware and other maintenance, repair and operations (MRO) products. We serve multiple markets through targeted brands and multiple channels.

PLATFORMS: NuEdge Suite runs on Windows NT. We'll soon upgrade to Windows 2000.

PROBLEM SOLVED: NuEdge Suite consolidates our customer profiles, including transaction histories, giving us a complete and extremely accurate profile of both their historic and most recent spending habits. NuEdge Suite lets us run unlimited ad hoc reports and frequent on-the-fly analyses based on changing day-to-day needs. This is an extremely valuable business tool; it's also cost-effective because it eliminates the need to constantly request data from the legacy application, which had previously burdened our IT programmers.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: The product functions very well for us; we have been using NuEdge Campaign Manager for approximately three years. NuEdge Suite allows us to thoroughly track campaigns and measure customer response and results, functions that would otherwise require extensive programming and cost, as well as delay. Overall, it provides the marketing and sales departments more autonomy and freedom to run the types of analyses we regularly need while eliminating costly requests for IT resources.

STRENGTHS: NuEdge Suite is a robust tool. Its strengths are: fast processing speed for routine queries, access to historical data, storing segments for tracking purposes, utilizing database within Excel via an add-in feature and exporting data to external software for further analysis.

WEAKNESSES: Weaknesses of the product are: rounding of sales figures in date-query function prohibits 100- percent accurate reporting; the inability to process and drill down to item- level detail when the database holds a vast amount of transaction-level information; and inability to use date-query function at customer-segment level.

SELECTION CRITERIA: We chose NuEdge Suite for its speed and cost efficiency, and NuEdge Campaign Manager was the only tool we found with the ability to run rapid queries on the fly. The system is also user- friendly, which was essential. The features and functionality of NuEdge Campaign Manager addressed all of our key criteria.

DELIVERABLES: We use the solution for many different reports and analyses, including customer migration and retention reports, warehouse shipping analyses and new region prospect reports. We also use NuEdge Suite to develop customer models and segments that track buying behaviors and improve prospecting. We export data to populate external reports and perform analysis outside of NuEdge Campaign Manager. Because it's easy to work with, we frequently provide data and reports to multiple departments for a variety of queries. We are eager to implement the next piece of our marketing database framework, NuEdge Customer Miner. It will give us new flexibility to examine SKU-level (i.e., transaction line-item) detail to analyze customer buying patterns and price elasticity, evaluate product profitability and model expected responses to offers. NuEdge Customer Miner will address essentially all the weaknesses of NuEdge Campaign Manager previously stated, as well as provide for all of our anticipated future analytical and reporting needs. The complete suite allows for integrated detailed data analysis and campaign management. As a result, we anticipate increased productivity from our analyst team as well as more detailed and meaningful analyses.

VENDOR SUPPORT: NuEdge Systems' support of our implementations and ongoing efforts has been excellent in recent years. As with many core applications, our initial implementation met many challenges, and the product was not fully operational when I joined the company in January of 2001. At that time, NuEdge Systems' management team immediately became involved, promptly resolved all our outstanding issues and has provided very good support for new projects and ongoing work, making the tool even more valuable to our organization. The best part of working with NuEdge Systems is its consulting support staff, which is dedicated to ensuring users get the maximum services from the software at reasonable rates.

DOCUMENTATION: The documentation provided on the original NuEdge Campaign Manager was limited, but the current training manual is very good. We could easily run the product at a core level with the documentation provided. In the future, we'd like to see NuEdge Systems create a user reference manual for on-the-spot resolution.

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