Epicor: Nothing But .NET

By Heather Baldwin

Epicor just released Clientele Customer Support 8.0, the first CRM application completely built and designed on the Microsoft .NET Platform. The .NET architecture enables business to take advantage of all extensible markup language (XML) capabilities, including access to critical information anytime, anywhere and from virtually any device. In essence, the new Clientele release provides the same functionality in use today at thousands of Clientele customer sites, but it has been completely rebuilt using the Microsoft .NET Platform.

There are two features of this application that should interest salespeople. First, whether you are accessing the application in a connected or disconnected mode your user interface remains the same, says Greg Horton, Epicor’s director of marketing for the clientele group. Second, it will replace a relatively lightweight customer self-service portal with one containing much more functionality. The Customer Self-Service Portal, a companion to Clientele Customer Support 8.0, enables customers to view call logs about themselves, add a new call to ask for help, search the knowledge base to try to answer their own questions, handle warranties and maintenance contracts, look at return material authorizations and track the status of their requests. Epicor plans to add a product registration capability, too.

The look of the portal has changed, as well. The old version “was basically single screens with a row of buttons for different functions, and each button took you to a different page,” says Horton. “The new version will be customizable so I can configure my screen to show the information I’m interested in.”

The base price of Clientele Customer Support 8.0 is $1,500 per seat. Horton said Epicor will be shifting to a named-user licensing structure, which will enable named users to connect and disconnect at will and view multiple modules, regardless of their roles. “If you want a user to view both modules – sales and support – you pay more right now,” says Horton. “We’ll be eliminating the marriage penalty so there’s no additional cost for a salesperson to view support information.” The philosophy behind the shift, said Horton, is that Epicor believes users in certain roles should be able to edit certain types of data, but everyone should be able to view all the available information about a customer. Epicor will be targeting its new product to the lower end of the market – companies with less than $50 million in revenue and fewer than 250 employees.