Pehong Chen, the visionary behind e-commerce software maker BroadVision Inc., understood early on that large businesses needed a way to make sense of all of their customer interactions—whether they occurred on the supply or the demand side, inside or outside the company. In other words, he understood that customer relationship management goes beyond customer service to take into account such mundane tasks as supply chain management and procurement. It's a holistic approach that the indefatigable Chen likes to speak about in terms of the "e-business ecosystem."
Name: Pehong Chen
Company: BroadVision Inc., Redwood City, Calif.
Mission: "We want to be a one-stop solution."
And it's the philosophy behind BroadVision's suite of personalized e-business software, which branches beyond mere information tracking to offer b-to-b applications, financial services and knowledge management. Such a breadth of applications has helped Chen outsmart many of his rivals, especially as enterprise customers increasingly seek out fewer vendors who can do more for them.
"[Our competitors] tend to focus on a solution for the staff in the front office, like the call center," Chen said. "What we want to offer is a step beyond that. We want the people we're serving, whether they're partners or customers, to gain operational efficiency through self-service. That's really a more compelling choice."
The approach seems to be working. Since Chen founded the company in 1995, Broad-Vision has garnered more than 1,100 clients worldwide, including the likes of Hewlett-Packard Co. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. Sales soared from $115.5 million in 1999 to $413.9 million in 2000.
—Phat X. Chiem