E.piphany's entire suite of CRM applications will be optimised for IBM's J2EE (Java 2 Enterprise Edition) WebSphere Application Server, AIX operating system and DB2 database platforms. The aim is to target financial services and telecoms markets.
Gartner research director Gareth Herschel hinted that the deal could indicate IBM's lack of confidence in its existing CRM partner, Siebel Systems, which is strong on call centre and field sales channel applications rather than marketing and analytics.
"Part of it is Siebel isn't J2EE," said Herschel. "Siebel has been struggling particularly in business-to-consumer industries. If Siebel gets knocked out of the deal then IBM risks getting knocked out of the deal."
However, Rob Saultz, vice-president of CRM solutions at IBM, insisted that the move was part of the company's strategy to partner with the best-of-breed software companies.
"This is not in any way, shape or form a lack of confidence in Siebel," Saultz said. "We're focusing on the [financial services and communications] marketplaces and looking to gain some traction there with a solution that includes E.piphany for our solution maps."
Herschel added that for E.piphany, the deal means a much-needed boost in credibility. The company has struggled for some time to boost revenue.