The question hovering over last week's Siebel Systems Inc. user-group conference: Should customers buy more before they know how Siebel software figures in the plans of its acquirer, Oracle?
Siebel didn't answer directly. Instead, it tried to tempt IT execs with new technologies, two in particular. The first--a "component assembly workbench" to break Siebel's software into modular services that can be plugged into .Net or Java 2 Enterprise Edition environments--didn't turn many heads. But the second--advancements to its Siebel Analytics business intelligence--was intriguing to people such as Sheila Dunn, senior CRM director at UPS Inc.
Oracle covets business intelligence, Phillips says.
Siebel is touting new predictive-analytical tools designed to use past interactions with a customer to help service and salespeople better anticipate customer needs. That aligns with what UPS is trying to do in better predicting what customers will need based on the industry they're in and the historical data UPS has. "We're hoping that if we can identify what they need sooner, the sales cycle can be shorter," Dunn says.
Siebel is marketing the software as Real-Time Decisions, but it's questionable if it can really draw instantaneous models using data from multiple back-end systems, says Khy Chier, a senior manager at Capgemini. But even with some delay, Chier sees a significant advancement in operational business intelligence.
Will Oracle embrace Siebel Analytics after its $5.9 billion takeover? Oracle president Charles Phillips told the group business intelligence is an area Oracle covets, and Siebel's analytical apps were among the "hidden jewels" of the acquisition.
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