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8/26/2004
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Siebel Ready To Spotlight Analysis Software

The company will highlight its data-analysis capabilities at a conference in October.

Facing competitive pressures on several fronts, Siebel Systems Inc. has its eye on a market it thinks is ripe with opportunity: Business-intelligence software.

The maker of customer-relationship-management software has for the past few years offered an assortment of software that crunches data for sales and marketing workers. Now, Siebel says it sees those products as an entry point into the market for business-intelligence software. The company will emphasize those capabilities at a conference in Los Angeles in October. About 10% of Siebel's CRM customers have purchased the company's analytical software, says marketing VP Paul Rodwick. But he says the company hasn't put enough marketing might behind making sure customers know about the technology and its value.

The effort to tap a new market comes at a crucial juncture for Siebel. Microsoft, Oracle, Salesforce.com, and SAP are encroaching on its leadership in the CRM market. New CEO Mike Lawrie, who replaced founder Tom Siebel in that role in May, is still settling in. And investors are looking for the company to rebound from an earnings shortfall for its second quarter ended June 30.

As part of its recovery strategy, Siebel has decided to spotlight its line of analytics products. Software buyers will see the clearest indication of that strategy yet at the business-intelligence event in October. Says Rodwick, "People don't know to come to Siebel for pure business-intelligence systems, independent of Siebel CRM."

Beagle Research Group analyst Denis Pombriant says moving more aggressively into business intelligence is a sensible move for Siebel because its systems collect so much data about customers. Siebel's ability to slice that data puts it in a unique position, he says, adding that the company is wise to resist pressure to branch into markets such as enterprise resource planning. Says Pombriant, "Everybody thinks the Swiss Army Knife is cool, but when was the last time you saw someone using the fork? There are better forks."

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