Amdocs’ latest partner relationship management (PRM) application melds CRM and financial functions, with the goal of maximizing business partners’ profits. This integrated offering aims to better manage partner interactions as well as billing and revenue-settlement agreements between companies, according to the company.
Indeed, organizations need PRM applications that provide strong analytics as well as financial and operational capabilities, AMR Research senior analyst Louis Columbus told CRM Buyer. Amdocs is well positioned on this front, particularly in the telecom sector, he said.
While PRM 5 is primarily geared toward telecom customers, it also has broad appeal for a variety of verticals, according to Etty Yairi, Amdocs’ senior director of product management. The application is highly configurable so that complex partnership agreements can be easily changed, helping to lower the initial implementation cost, Yairi told CRM Buyer.
Flexible Business Models
Future versions of the PRM package will provide even greater flexibility for making changes, Yairi said, adding that staying flexible is key to PRM’s success. “You need the flexibility to support different types of business partnerships.”
PRM 5, for example, is designed to handle various business agreements, including those involving network, access and service providers; content and media providers; resellers; and sponsors and promoters.
The application also spans the entire lifecycle of partner settlement, from the business agreement through rating, invoicing, payment exchange and reconciliation. It incorporates self-care capabilities aimed at reducing support costs by providing information for improved self-administration, such as drill-down access to mid-cycle billing details, query-driven information, and agreement and revenue-settlement arrangements.
Amdocs is working on further enhancing its PRM product to provide support for recruiting new partners through self-registration, Yairi noted. Automating the process in this way will reduce the cost of partner recruitment and management and help companies reach many new partners.
The company also plans to upgrade its system to track milestones throughout the partnership lifecycle and to define templates that represent typical agreements. Another goal is to improve the systems’ query mechanism so that it can provide analysis on the event-transaction level.
“Better support and services provided to partners will increase partners’ satisfaction and help attract more partners,” Yairi said, enabling users to differentiate themselves by attracting more compelling brands and services.
PRM Grows Up
The PRM market has evolved from its traditional focus on lead management to a broader marketing approach, which includes partner lifecycle management, partner effectiveness, marketing program management, commerce/transactional management and service and support, according to Yankee Group senior analyst Sheryl Kingstone.
However, Kingstone told CRM Buyer, users still need to recognize PRM’s significance beyond just improving efficiencies. Instead, they need to use it more as a tool for increasing sales effectiveness and partner collaboration.
What is more, a lot of companies have begun to question whether traditional CRM vendors can offer what best-of-breed vendors provide, according to analysts. Therefore, companies shopping for a PRM application should thoroughly research the differences among vendors, Kingstone noted. They also need to decide which pain points and functions should be addressed, and they must understand the appropriate integration goals.
Although consolidation has thinned the ranks of pure-play PRM software providers, these companies offer good functionality and competitive prices, Kingstone added.
Amdocs’ PRM 5, for example, is priced by number of transactions. “If the volume is not high in the beginning, the license fee is not high,” Yairi said.
A typical implementation of PRM 5 takes about 12 weeks, she added.