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CRM app for professional service firms adds new tools for sharing "relationship intelligence"

Oak Brook, IL  July 17, 2002  Interface Software, a provider of client relationship management (CRM) solutions for professional services firms, has rolled out the latest release of its "relationship intelligence" system.

Interface said that InterAction 5 helps relationship-based organizations overcome the cultural, process and technological challenges associated with CRM implementations.

"The needs of relationship-based organizations differ from traditional products-based companies," said Denis Pombriant, vice president and managing director for Aberdeen Group's CRM Research Group. "Professionals must be able to track and manage the complex network of connections between people, companies, relationships, experience and expertise that form the basis of business referrals, cross selling opportunities and new business generation."

Because the focus of professional users is delivery of services and not selling, a CRM application for these users must deliver content immediately, intuitively and with little learning curve, Pombriant said, adding that, in his opinion, InterAction 5 delivers on these needs.

The latest version of the software adds new data quality and change management tools intended to cut the time and expense associated with ensuring the accuracy and integrity of data on an ongoing basis. In addition, a new projects architecture is designed to streamline operations, allowing firms to better track and manage their internal expertise and experience and making it easier to uncover new revenue opportunities and cross-sell and up-sell services.

Given the highly sensitive and private nature of certain business relationships, lawyers, accountants, consultants, financial advisors and other professionals can be hesitant to share their relationship intelligence with a centralized knowledge base. InterAction 5's new architecture embraces this cultural reality by giving the professional user control over whether and to what extent information is shared with the firm's wide database.

At the same time, the new release will capture data passively using customizable system defaults, eliminating the need for professionals to perform extra steps to publish their relationship intelligence to the centralized knowledge base. As a result, Interfaces said InterAction 5 eliminates the risk to professionals of sharing information and simultaneously promotes firm-wide participation, thus removing an impediment to successful CRM implementation.

Doug Caddell, chief information officer for Foley & Lardner, a law firm with nearly 1,000 lawyers practicing in 16 markets, said that InterAction 5 would improve his firm's ability to deliver relationship intelligence to its professionals. "It will enable them to share critical information about people, companies and relationships without sacrificing control over their data," Caddell said.

The application's revised user interface employs a dashboard-style design that "pushes" essential relationship intelligence directly to the professional, a feature that Interface said eliminates the need for user training in order to derive value from the system.

InterAction 5 will be available in the third quarter of 2002.