Targeting one buyer--or a million: Page 2

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Webhousing wares

Accrue Software Inc.
Offers the family of clickstream and data analysis products as well as the NeoVista datamining engines for the retail market.

Broadbase Software Inc.
Delivers a suite of customer-centric analytical and marketing solutions. Acquisition of Rubric Inc. adds campaign management capabilities.

Chutney Systems LLC
Dubbing its solution Real-Time Interactive Management, the company markets four applications that do everything from real-time customer profiling and dynamic page generation to ad hoc reporting.

E.piphany Inc.
E.piphany E.4 offers customer identification, segmentation, and analysis, and full campaign management, including targeting, planning, e-mail execution, and closed-loop results analysis.

IBM Corp.'s SurfAid Analytics
An outsourcing service that applies datamining to Web site log data to deliver insight into customer site activity and preferences.

NetAcumen Inc.
Delivered as an ASP service, WebVision tracks and analyzes customer behavior based on Web site activity and also has the ability to integrate commercial demographic, psychographic, and consumer data.

net.Genesis Corp.
The net.Analysis clickstream tool investigates visitor behavior, dynamic site content, and advertising clickthroughs.

Oracle Corp.
An updated suite of enterprise data warehouses is Web-enabled to support datamining, OLAP, and data administration functions for Webhousing.

SAS Institute Inc.
Offers datamining, OLAP, and other functions for Webhousing as part of its SAS Solution for E-Intelligence.

WebSideStory Inc.
Offers HitBox, a Web audience analysis service; HitBox.com, a Webmaster resource center and community of independent Web sites; and StatMarket.com, a source of data on Internet user trends.
"With e-commerce, you need to be talking about a warehouse that's customer-centric as opposed to traditional management information warehouses, which store information on the performance of a company and summarize it so people can see trends," explains John McIntyre, director of global marketing at SAS Institute Inc., in Raleigh, N.C. "A customer-centric look is more likely to be augmented with external data. And to really personalize your relationship with customers, you need to take information from all points of contact that a company has with the customer to get the richest profile."

SAS and many of the traditional data warehousing vendors, like Oracle Corp., see Webhousing as a natural extension of their product lines. For example, SAS is positioning its existing suite of tools, augmented by new additions, as a way for companies to produce reports, do analysis on their Web traffic, and develop rich customer profiles. SAS is also introducing what it calls Knowledge Solution add-ons to its Enterprise Miner datamining tool for specific functions like cross-selling, available since January 2000, and fraud detection and churn, which will be available in the first quarter of 2000.

Oracle also insists that Web business intelligence has to be part of an overall enterprise data warehouse effort to give companies a holistic view of their customers, according to Jagdish Mirani, senior director for Oracle's Data Warehouse Program Office in Redwood Shores, Calif. The company's Intelligent WebHouse, as it's calling its end-to-end solution, comprises existing products, including Oracle Reports, the Darwin datamining tool, the Express multidimensional database, and the Discoverer, for ad hoc analysis. In March 2000, Oracle released Oracle Warehouse Builder, a lifecycle management tool for integrating data from enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, Web sites, and external data sources into a single warehouse.

Along with traditional players, there are many newcomers to this Webhousing space (see "Webhousing wares"). Most of the upstarts--for example, net.Genesis, in Cambridge, Mass., and Accure Software Inc., in Fremont, Calif.--are focused on clickstream analysis tools, while others like E.piphany Inc., of San Mateo, Calif., and Menlo Park, Calif.-based Broadbase Software Inc. deliver marketing campaign solutions. While clickstream tools basically analyze Web log data, detailing how customers move through a site, marketing campaign solutions offer a robust suite of tools for things like customer identification and analysis and real-time personalization capabilities to aid in one-to-one marketing.

Enterprise data warehouse vendors and many consultants contend that the clickstream category of tools doesn't provide sufficient customer information upon which to do comprehensive personalization and profiling. "Web log data is not suited for customer relationship management," says Augie MacCurrach, principal of technology at DiaLogos Inc., an e-business consulting firm in Boston. "It was originally built to help developers test whether a site was workingthere's no standard definition for what a unique user is or what a unique session is."

Clickstream's payoff

While they might not be a total solution, a growing number of companies view clickstream tools as a worthwhile first step. Since its site went live in June 1999, Foofoo.com has not just redefined and refined its product mix based on results from net.Analysis, but it also uses the clickstream tool to generate reports for its content partners. This helps them better target the site's editorial content to readers' needs, Hawken says. With net.Analysis, Foofoo.com is also able to track the effectiveness of e-mail campaigns and banner advertising, allowing them to make more effective use of marketing dollars, not to mention testing ads before making a major investment.

Hawken acknowledges, however, that there's much more work to be done to get a complete view of the customer. Later in 2000, Foofoo.com plans to use extensions to net.Analysis to tie the Web log data to its catalog and shopper demographic information stored in its production SQL Server 7.0 databases. "We definitely want to extend the tool, but the data we're getting out of the box is more than enough to make key business decisions before we get into more in-depth data Webhousing," he explains.

At della.com, a Della and James Inc. site that bills itself as a gift registry or wish-list aggregator, Accrue's clickstream and datamining tools are just one piece of an overall customer marketing database that the firm is building. Currently, della.com feeds sales order data from its ERP systems and Web logs into a separate customer data warehouse. There it employs E.piphany's marketing analysis suite to drill down and uncover customer trends, according to Dan McNamara, director of relationship marketing for the San Francisco-based company.

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