Siebel Systems move to acquire its own analytics company could lead other major software developers to take similar steps, creating ramifications throughout the business intelligence sector, analysts said.
Siebel announced at its annual users conference in Chicago last week that it will acquire privately held nQuire Software of Minnesota for an undisclosed sum. The company plans to incorporate nQuires suite of real-time business intelligence modules into the upcoming release of Siebel System 7, a Web-based version of the companys applications.
CEO Tom Siebel said the move will allow the company to fulfill its goal of providing "analytics everywhere" throughout its suite of customer relationship management, Web self-service and employee relationship management applications. "With the acquisition, we will fundamentally change organizations understanding and deployment of customer intelligence and market intelligence," Siebel said in announcing the purchase.
It is common for companies such as Siebel, PeopleSoft and SAP to partner with a range of business intelligence software vendors to make sense of the massive volumes of customer and partner data flowing into enterprise systems. However, Siebels decision to directly incorporate reporting tools into its applications by acquiring a single vendor could signal a fundamental shift away from partnering.
Other e-business application vendors are moving toward incorporating real-time business intelligence into their products. InterWorld, which is set this week to release the next version of its Commerce Exchange platform, 5.0, based on a Java 2 Enterprise Edition framework, has also built business intelligence tools directly into the product rather than offer them as add-on modules. To do this, InterWorld has allied with Actuate.
Jeff Comport, Gartner application architecture analyst, said it will be difficult for other software makers to resist the urge to acquire or form a closer relationship with a single vendor. "You can only sit on the fence for so long," he said.
At the same time, Comport said, the trend is not all bad news for business intelligence vendors. Companies will still need tools that can combine and analyze data across multiple corporate enterprise systems. For example, some companies need to combine financial information from an SAP system with customer data from a Siebel system and, perhaps, supply chain information from an i2 Technologies or a Manugistics Group system.
"There is an edge, a boundary to any one of these systems, so there will continue to be a need to do some analysis across these independent suites," Comport added. "Sure, its going to cut into the [business intelligence] market, but it doesnt destroy the market."