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Talisma eyes growth from education

January 21, 2005 13:06 IST

If you thought CRM was all about managing customers better, think again. Bangalore-based Talisma Corporation, an $18 million CRM (customer relationship management) product company, is focussing on an unlikely sector to propel growth -- the higher education market.

Talisma, which is a complete CRM product company, was hived off from Aditi Technologies in April 2000. It is especially bullish about its prospects in the higher education space and has top universities such as Wharton, Florida State University and UNL as clients.

Says, Ananthraman Iyer, chief technology officer at Talisma, "The higher education space is a key area for Talisma in the US. This is because there are a whole lot of students applying to various universities and foreign universities want students to come in from abroad as those students simply mean more revenue. Therefore every student is treated like a customer and any e-mail or phone call is dealt with extremely professionally."

"These universities are both Tier 1 and Tier 2. For example, even Tier 1 universities send their scouting teams to India to pick up the best students in any field and take them in on the basis of academic excellence, sports quota's etc," Iyer points out.

In the higher education vertical abroad, the student is a life-long client.

For instance, the alumnus of a university follows, say, the basketball team of the alma mater closely and the team's performance could result in more money into the university from that alumnus.

CRM according to Iyer helps universities keep track of interactions with this life long client- their feedback, concerns, interests and even future opportunities in the case of future generations of the client becoming eligible for the university.

Talisma has grown organically and inorganically since it was founded and in early September 2004, Talisma acquired eAssist- a California based customer interaction management solutions company. eAssist though a competitor was acquired by Talisma mainly because of synergies in the product roadmap between Talisma and eAssist.

"The products complemented each other; therefore we decided to merge the two companies to deliver a better solution to our clients and servicing them better. This acquisition has also shortened our time to market to a large extent. Our time to market has been reduced by approximately 12-14 months; we will now be able to offer our first integrated product offering by mid Q2 05," Iyer says.

"With the addition of eAssist, Talisma's revenues for this year were $18 million and we expect to record revenues of $25 million by the end of December 2005," Iyer says.

Sanjay Krishnan in Hyderabad