Data Makes All the Difference
Analytics is expected to play a larger role for CRM leader Siebel.
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It's been a little over a year since Siebel Systems Inc. acquired nQuire Software Inc. to help beef up its analytics presence. At the time of the deal, Siebel chairman and CEO Tom Siebel said, "By embedding next generation analytics in every Siebel application, we will provide the right intelligence to the right person at the right time." Since its debut in late 1999, the nQuire Suite has been deployed at Global 2000 companies including CSX Transportation, McDonald's/Perseco, Simon Property Group, and Union Pacific Railroad. Renamed Siebel Analytics after the acquisition, the product is now sold as both a standalone product and with Siebel 7.5 and has become the third largest revenue-grossing product for the San Mateo, CA, company. It has also garnered more than 200 new customers over the past four quarters, and like Siebel's flagship CRM product comes in more than 20 vertical versions. Siebel claims the product optimizes customer acquisition and retention by providing users with a better understanding of customers, partners, and employees. "Analytics is one of the most important things happening in CRM this year," says Larry Barbetta, vice president and general manager of Siebel analytics. Barbetta is the former CEO and president of nQuire. Aberdeen Group Inc., an IT consultancy based in Boston, has also recognized the drive toward the analytical side of CRM, and as a result started tracking the analytics market last year. In 2001 corporations worldwide spent more than $4 billion on analytical CRM, which includes infrastructure, tools, and applications, according to Aberdeen Group. It expects that number to grow to nearly $11 billion by 2005. Following the trend of companies to collect huge amounts of data, the next logical step was to analyze that data. Analytics is considered to be an inexpensive way to quickly measure, evaluate, and improve all aspects of sales, marketing, and service operations across all channels. However, Barbetta says, there is a misconception about exactly what analytics can do for businesses and who should be using it. "This is useful for people, but it is not voodoo," he says. Analytics can offer views of the past and present, but it gets a little trickier to predict the future, he says. There are predictive analytics packages in the market, but it's now important to get a real-time view of the state of business and what's in the pipeline, then have humans take course-correcting actions on issues that will impact the future of business, Barbetta says. Barbetta also says that analytics, which has primarily been sold to into sales and marketing groups, is ready to branch out to service organizations and call centers. "Analytics is relatively inexpensive and pays for itself in a short amount of time," he says. "There isn't a customer out there that doesn't see it as a win all the way around."
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