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Siebel kicks off 7.7 with analytics

The first group of apps in the new version includes an enterprise business intelligence platform, a strategic global partnership with IBM and new customer analytics applications.

SAN DIEGO -- Already the market leader in CRM analytics revenue by some reports, Siebel Systems Inc. on Wednesday announced several major enhancements to its analytics offering.

Siebel Analytics 7.7, the first group of applications to be rolled out as part of the new version, includes an enterprise business intelligence platform, a strategic global partnership with IBM and new customer analytic applications. The product was unveiled at the company's User Week conference, which started Tuesday and ends today.

Siebel has already partnered with IBM to create and sell a new hosted CRM offering, Siebel CRM OnDemand. Through the analytics partnership, the two will collaborate on industry-specific solutions and on an integrated platform that includes IBM's WebSphere, DB2 and AIX, as well as the company's OnDemand computing model. Industry-specific BI solutions are currently available for retail banking, insurance and consumer packaged goods.

The applications include a new family of customer analytic capabilities that enable intelligent customer interaction enriched with third-party data to provide information such as churn prediction and other predictive properties, said Larry Barbetta, group vice president and general manager of Siebel analytics.

A particular point of pride at User Week was the guided analytics. The application will guide users unsure of how to find the right information to the proper data.

"It in effect takes the expertise of the best salesperson and enables everyone in the organization," Barbetta said.

The new customer analytic applications also offer fact-based selling, mobile-user capabilities and customer-segmentation functions to target more effective customer-acquisition programs and industry-specific data models.

The Enterprise Analytic Platform is directed at the company's blue-chip customers, according to Barbetta.

"One of the things we're seeing is that companies invested enormous amounts of money in operations," Barbetta said. "We're seeing a shift in emphasis toward insight-driven systems now. What's important is bringing that information together. That's easy to say and hard to do."

Barbetta eschews BI that focuses on report writing, saying: "I don't think the world needs another billion reports." Instead, Siebel hopes the enterprise platform puts it firmly up against pure-play BI vendors such as Business Objects SA and MicroStrategy Inc. Backed by a BI sales force, much of Siebel's analytics growth has come from existing customers.

At least one analyst thinks Siebel is on the right track.

"It's taken a while, but I think they've done some nice things," said Denis Pombriant, CRM research director for Boston-based Aberdeen Group. "The alliances signal the maturation of the company and this space."

Siebel Analytics 7.7 will ship later this year.


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