Siebel makes claim to CRM analytics supremacy

Officials at Siebel are touting the company's rise in the CRM analytics arena, and they say they've got the numbers to prove it.

On the heels of its year-end financial report, Siebel Systems Inc. is touting itself as the No. 1 maker of CRM

analytical software.

The San Mateo, Calif.-based CRM market leader said it took in $157.4 million in analytics-related revenue in 2002, following the launch of Siebel Analytics 7 at the end of 2001. However, since analytics market stalwart SAS Institute Inc. in Cary, N.C., is privately held, head-to-head market share is very tough to estimate.

Criticized for its analytical functionality in the past, Siebel recast its capabilities by acquiring Web-based analytical software maker nQuire Software Inc. in November 2001.

Larry Barbetta, former chief executive at nQuire and current general manager of Siebel analytics, said Siebel believes "analytics can now serve as a Trojan horse, helping us sell CRM into new organizations." Siebel has followed the vertical industry approach it established for its CRM offerings with 20 market-specific analytics packages.

Barbetta admitted that Siebel Analytics 7 can seem pricier than competitors' offerings, but he said it's a complete package with a data warehouse and OLAP tools included. The Boeing Co., Cisco Systems Inc. and Ford Motor Co. are among Siebel's CRM analytics customers.

Industry watchers appear convinced Siebel is well-positioned to compete against enterprise resource planning (ERP) software makers for customers seeking an integrated analytics approach.

"[Siebel] knew analytics was seen as a shortcoming and, to their credit, they moved quickly to put together a much more competitive package," said Scott Nelson, vice president and research director at Gartner Inc., Stamford, Conn.

Nelson said there remain two distinct schools of thought among users, with a number still favoring best-of-breed analytics toolmakers such as SAS. Among ERP makers with "embedded" analytics, such as Oracle Corp., PeopleSoft Inc. and SAP AG, Nelson said no clear leader has emerged.

"That could be a good opportunity for Siebel," Nelson said.

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