E.piphany, which now prefers to drop the dot from its official name, was famed for trying to put the ‘e’ into eCRM, and thereby snatch the online CRM prize from under the nose of market goliath Siebel. To a certain degree it succeeded: it built a business on marketing, call centre and customer analytic applications that peaked at $125 million in annual revenues but has since fallen by $79 million with Vodafone, Virgin Holidays, HBOS and Barclays all signing up as users.
But in August, after seven years of consecutive losses (including a $2.6 billion hit in 2001), it finally gave up the fight and fell into the arms of legacy business applications home, SSA Global, for an astonishing $329 million in stock.
SSA, which floated on Nasdaq in May after having distanced itself from its previous incarnation, has added a host of struggling enterprise applications vendors to its portfolio in recent years, including Marcam, Baan, Infinium and interBiz.
E.piphany was not the only dot-com era hopeful to throw in the towel in August: the last of the scores of standalone portal software vendors that emerged around the turn of the century, Plumtree Software, was also removed from the fray by application and process integration maker BEA Systems for approximately $200 million.
The purchase was driven largely by the strategic importance of portals within an SOA architecture, and the neutrality of Plumtree’s cross-platform technology (it is capable of running in both Java-based J2EE environments and Microsoft .Net portals while BEA has traditionally leaned heavily toward Java).
Plumtree has struggled to gain momentum after customers’ initial enthusiasm for portals in the late 1990s turned into an appreciation that portal functionality would become an intrinsic part of most software suites – from business intelligence products to ERP suites.
Some analysts question how much Plumtree’s technology will add to the BEA stack. Plumtree’s portals are oriented towards content sharing, while BEA’s portal offering is geared more towards process integration.