Siebel Offers Stand-Alone Bi

Platform customers can study more data.

Siebel Systems Inc. is adding another arrow to its CRM quiver: a stand-alone business intelligence platform.

Customers of the new Siebel Enterprise Analytic Platform 7.7 will be able to analyze not only customer data, as was previously possible, but also a variety of enterprise information.

The product, which the San Mateo, Calif., company introduced at its Siebel User Week show here last week, is an extension of the Siebel Customer Analytic Applications and incorporates technology Siebel acquired from nQuire Inc. in late 2001.

Siebel is already the leader in customer analytics with $130 million in sales last year, according to International Data Corp., of Framingham, Mass. Yet according to Siebel officials, 70 percent of Siebel analytics customers are using the technology to analyze non-Siebel data.

"Analytics is a big business for us," said company Chairman and CEO Tom Siebel to the Siebel faithful here as he laid out the new platform.

Siebel Enterprise Analytic Platform 7.7 includes Siebel Analytics Server for calculation and integration, logical business model and metadata management, and caching. Other components include the Intelligent Interaction Management module for data mining; Interactive Dashboard, which provides a portal interface to the data; Siebel Answers for ad hoc querying; and Siebel Delivers for sending alerts of changes in data.

In addition, Siebel announced that IBM will certify consultants from its Business Consulting Services unit to deploy and support Siebel Customer Analytic Applications and the new platform. Both companies will also collaborate in the development of BI solutions and infrastructure optimization efforts across IBM software and hardware.

Siebels new analytics platform will face entrenched vendors such as Cognos Inc., Business Objects S.A. and MicroStrategy Inc.

EMI Industries Inc., of Tampa, Fla., uses Crystal Decisions Inc.s Crystal Enterprise to push data from its Siebel CRM (customer relationship management) system to customers. EMI Vice President David Hahmann said he needs to evaluate what capabilities Siebel Enterprise Analytic Platform could give his company, but he is generally impressed.

Before the nQuire technology was acquired by Siebel, it was sold as a stand-alone platform and had an advantage over other BI offerings in that it could aggregate data from multiple sources without requiring middleware, said Mark Smith, an analyst at Ventana Research, of Belmont, Calif. Siebel adds to the value nQuire already offered, Smith said. "Siebel has a strong business applications focus; they understand business problems," Smith said. "The question is whether they can use that leverage they have with business users and convince the CIO that they have the right applications and the right BI platform."