Fremont, CA January 21, 2002 Aftermind, a new company providing software to support after-sale service, today launched its flagship solutions, aiming to help companies manage their installed user bases and support contracts more efficiently.
Support Contract Manager and Installed Base Manager enable manufacturers to aggregate product and customer registrations from multiple channels, as well as product-specific information, and manage that information centrally. The Java-based software extract relevant product data from disparate sources within organizations (such as enterprise resource planning, supply chain management and customer relationship management applications) to provide after-sale stakeholders with a single-point of access, according to the solution provider.
Aftermind's CEO, Rohan Mahadevan, said in an interview that the software, deployable in four to six weeks, can help enterprises reduce unentitled claim costs, that is, instances when service inadvertently is provided to customers whose service contracts have expired. The software can also assist in boosting service renewal rates and in optimizing self-service capabilities for business partners and end users.
Mahadevan asserted in the interview that the software could deliver a return on investment in six to eight months.
The solution provider's initial target markets include manufacturers of networking and industrial equipment, test and measurement devices, IT products and consumer appliances and electronics. To date, Aftermind has announced GE Appliances, a division of General Electric, as a customer.
The new software addresses what Aftermind sees as an unfilled niche in the service and support chain. The premise for the software company's strategy is that manufacturers face revenue losses due to market pressures from product commoditization and competitive pricing. At the same time, they are experiencing an increase in after-sale support costs due to the fragmented and inefficient handling of basic after-sale activities, such as product registration, sales and management of associated service contracts, parts and accessories, and entitlement. Product line managers relying on a mix of legacy systems and manual processes have difficulty getting an accurate accounting of the after-sale costs associated with each product they sell. As result, "the after-sale is viewed more as a cost-center than a profit-center," Mahadevan said.
Steve Bonadio, senior program director for application delivery strategies at technology consultancy META Group, agreed that effectively managing and optimizing after-sale service processes and activities is critical for discrete product manufacturers seeking to reduce costs, increase service revenues and improve customer relationships. "Manufacturers must begin embracing best practices for service management and implement flexible, process-centric applications to support their after-sale service strategies," Bonadio said.
Aftermind said its software attacks this problem by providing a central repository for after-sale information. Primary users of the applications would include managers of customer service and support, sales and marketing, as well as third party service partners and distribution channels.
The new applications use J2EE technology and XML interfaces to connect to enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM) applications such as Baan, SAP, Siebel, Vantive and Clarify, as well as homegrown or legacy systems. Aftermind provides application programming interfaces (APIs) for third-party integration and plans to offer certified adapters with future product releases.
"Software companies like Aftermind best service the industry with modular applications that are pre-integrated and standards-based," said Mary Wardley, director of e-commerce software and CRM applications for technology research firm IDC. "This minimizes concerns about integration within the enterprise. It also offers optimum flexibility, scalability and extensibility so companies can rapidly expand their after-sale infrastructure as needed."
Software license fees for Aftermind Support Contract Manager and Aftermind Installed Base Manager start at $70,000, and $50,000, respectively. The software company has tapped professional services to assist with installation, configuration and customization.
Three-year-old Aftermind is privately held, having closed a round of financing in October 2001.