More ammunition is in the pipeline for companies that want to maximize their relationships with online customers, with a new suite of tools from Quadstone Inc. and a rash of acquisitions among developers that are pitching intelligent e-business.
Customer Conversion provides software for transforming and moving data from Web servers and other sources into a database, where it may be viewed, analyzed and distributed by other Customer Conversion tools. The application includes four components-cc:Transform, cc:Insight, cc:Mining and cc:Action.
The software, which supports Windows NT, Solaris and HP-UX, is available now. Pricing starts at $50,000.
Quadstone’s entry comes during a feeding frenzy of acquisitions. Since mid-November, industry watchers have observed six buyouts-some valued at more than $500 million-by developers looking to bolster e-business applications with data analysis software and third-party demographic data.
These newly wedded vendors claim their integrated offerings will help dot-coms close the loop on customer relationships by providing personalized marketing, which will fine-tune sales efforts by customer segmentation and profitability analysis derived from Web clickstream data.
“It’s a whole effort to add intelligence to an e-commerce system to be able to optimize your sales and marketing efforts,” said Joseph Marino, an analyst at Current Analysis Inc., in Sterling, Va.
The latest acquisition came on Jan. 17, when Net Perceptions Inc., a maker of software that provides personalized recommendations to consumers based on past activity, bought KD1 Inc., a data analysis vendor with a retail emphasis. The stock deal was valued at $126 million.
Net Perceptions is not alone in recognizing the synergies between e- commerce applications and data analysis: In mid-January, e-business software supplier Vignette Corp. said it would acquire data mining developer DataSage Inc. in a stock transaction valued at more than $500 million.
Also in mid-January, e-business analytic applications vendor Broadbase Software Inc. said it would acquire e-marketing automation vendor Rubric Inc. in a stock swap valued at $331 million. That came only several weeks after Broadbase competitor E.piphany Inc. acquired personalization software maker RightPoint Corp.
Sagent Technology Inc., a rival of Broadbase and E.piphany, took a somewhat different tack in December when it bought Qualitative Marketing Software Inc., a provider of consumer and demographic data and maker of a data cleansing tool.
Accrue Software Inc., a maker of systems to harvest and analyze clickstream data, deepened its lineup in November, buying data mining developer NeoVista Software Inc.
The market for such software is expected to be red-hot this year, as dot-coms begin to look for ways to analyze reams of clickstream data. For Seattle-based online drug store cvs.com, a subsidiary of CVS Pharmacy Inc., a means of analyzing Web logs was on the agenda as the company mapped out its e-business strategy last year.
“With an online presence, you have an additional source of data-the clickstream data-which is the equivalent of people walking through your stores,” said David Zook, manager of strategic alliances for cvs.com. “I want to integrate clickstream, transactional and demographic data into one comprehensive whole that will allow us to model customer behavior and to target campaigns and response rates to figure [return on investment] on our marketing investments.”
For that, cvs.com turned to Quadstone, based in Edinburgh, Scotland. Its Customer Conversion software proved during a proof of concept to be “extremely impressive,” Zook said.
“They took a slice of our data-Web logs, transactions, demographic data-and put it into their tool. We were able to slice and dice on command-it was absolutely breathtaking,” he said.