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April 4, 1996


By CBR Staff Writer

Although Web and three-tier application development technologies are hogging the software development spotlight, customer support technology continues to be one of the hottest software properties around. Recently-quoted San Jose, California-based Clarify Corp claims its installed base roughly doubled over the last 12 months to 26,000 users at 120 customer sites. It is now offering a new Microsoft Corp Visual Basic-like ClearBasic module in its ClearCustomise tools line and which it says will enable in-house developers and systems integrators to customize applications with new modules and functions. ClearBasic provides access to the Clarify application infrastructure, which means developers do not have to write external programs or launch stored procedures, the company claims. It can query and display information from multiple databases and is expected to result in shorter application development cycles and reduced maintenance time and costs. ClearBasic includes a Visual Basic-like scripting language, a system-independent interpreter and a customisation environment which is accessed through the ClearCustomise user interface editor. Clarify says ClearBasic code can request and manipulate whole objects such as customer cases or product configurations, where other systems require users to write low- level SQL scripts to interact with each table that comprises those objects. Other ClearCustomise tools include the user interface and data dictionary editors. A ClearBasic tool kit will be priced from $10,000 per concurrent user license in May. The user interface editor that provides the ClearBasic customization environment costs from $5,000. Clarify is also moving deeper into the logistics market with new Order Operations and Spares Manager modules for tracking orders and managing service inventory in its ClearLogistics line, which includes Field Operations for managing field service engineers, their schedules and costs. It expects to compete head-on with logistics products from firms such as Metrix SA and Pacific Data Products Inc. Order Operations is from $17,500 on the server, $2,000 for each concurrent licensee. Spares Manager costs from $67,500 on the server, $6,250 for each concurrent user license. The company says the ClearHelpDesk internal help desk product that it recently carved out of its core ClearSupport software now accounts for around 30% of its business (CI No 2,739). It is looking to add new European and Asian outlets.

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