IBM's Corepoint Retreats as a Front-Office Application Vendor

EVENT: On 1 July 1999, IBM announced to employees, as confirmed by Gartner Group analysts, that Corepoint would cease to be a stand-alone business unit and be absorbed into IBM's Application Integration Middleware unit.

ANALYSIS: Corepoint, announced on 11 August 1998, was an attempt by IBM to pull together a variety of disparate products and form a cohesive software company focused on customer relationship management. Elements included telephony (e.g., Callpath ) and middleware (e.g., Message-Driven processor, or MDp) as well as front-office applications (e.g., Software Artistry). We previously said that speed, aggressiveness and true independence would determine the success of this organization. In Gartner Group's opinion, none of those traits had been demonstrated by Corepoint, to date.

The 1 July 1999 internal announcement significantly diminishes IBM's move into front-office applications (i.e., customer service, technology-enabled selling and technology-enabled marketing). Although we do not have exact details on the fate of Corepoint Contact Center, the uncertainty leads to a low probability of product viability, which increases risk significantly. Enterprises considering Corepoint Contact Center for telemarketing, telesales or customer service call center applications should consider this increased risk when comparing Corepoint to alternatives.

RECOMMENDATION: Enterprises that have already implemented Corepoint Contact Center - or Software Artistry's Expert Advisor as a customer service application - should expect IBM to continue to provide maintenance; however, they should start evaluating an eventual move to another application. Enterprises implementing Corepoint Contact Center should consider the uncertainty of Contact Center's future as part of project continuation decisions. Enterprises should consider negotiating written agreements for any promises by Corepoint or IBM before proceeding.

SERVICES: Customer Service and Support Strategies and Sales Leadership Strategies

ANALYSTS: Carter Lusher and Michael Maoz

( This news comment came from GartnerFlash).

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