Analytics Surges to the Fore

New tools help businesses tailor customer marketing.

The Web personalization craze may have come and gone, but the needs of enterprises to better serve and wring more revenues from customers have never gone away. Two developers are rolling out analytical software to help enterprises craft tailored marketing offers while limiting integration legwork.

Black Pearl Inc. will announce this week its B4 suite, which assesses opportunities and risks in the financial services sector and provides advice on addressing customer issues and needs before they arise. At the same time, SPSS Inc. is launching Version 2.0 of its PredictiveMarketing software, which helps marketers gauge the right offer to make to customers.

Black Pearls B4, which offers integrated analytic, rules, predictive and business process modeling capabilities, includes a semantic layer for managing customer relationships, investment portfolios, orders and security. It also supports bidirectional integration using a host of techniques that include ODBC, Java Database Connectivity, Web services, Java APIs, messaging techniques and XML. Intelligent agents in this release monitor business activity and execute appropriate responses, according to officials in San Francisco.

B4 monitors such scenarios as portfolio imbalance, goal attainment, maturing positions, critical news, customer defection and regulatory compliance, company officials said.

Black Pearl technology is a part of The Concord Equity Group LLCs financial advisory consulting software platform. Users of the platform, such as trust officers at banks, can tap into the tools dashboard interface to see a snapshot of customer accounts that need attention. The tool also provides recommendations as to what course of action to take, said Lee Argush, managing director of Concord, in Matewan, N.J.

"[Black Pearl] allows us to focus more on our core business, which is providing advisory consulting services," said Argush.

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"The coding and logic [for alerting and monitoring] is becoming more English-like" in B4, Argush said. "The main area of benefit is the ability to take an idea, such as tax-related issues or clients close to defection, and generate an alert for it."

Meanwhile, SPSS PredictiveMarketing 2.0 applies the Chicago-based companys predictive analytics to marketing campaigns to determine the right campaign, channel and timing of campaign for each customer. Using the software, marketers can select campaigns based on the desired result, such as maximum return on investment or any combination of user-defined criteria, and coordinate campaigns across multiple channels, according to SPSS.

The upgrade includes predictive analytics technology from DataDistilleries BV, which SPSS acquired last November.

The software combines predictive analytics for anticipating how each customer will respond to campaigns and marketing channels and which campaigns will generate the most customer revenue. It also features business logic that adds company-specific information, such as restrictions on channel load, budget and customer contacts, and "do not call" or "do not e-mail" lists, SPSS officials said.