Siebel Buys Paragren, Helps Bell Canada

Bell Canada received a bit of good news last week when it learned that it won't have to take on the task of integrating its sales force automation and marketing-campaign management applications next year.

Instead, most of that integration work will be done by developer Siebel Systems Inc., which bought campaign management developer Paragren Technologies Inc. last week.

Siebel said the companies' products will be combined in Siebel's customer relationship management (CRM) suite in a release due out this summer.

Some customers, including Finnish mobile telecommunications company Sonera Corp., have already integrated core applications from the two companies to build a CRM suite that includes sales, service and marketing functions.

With the Paragren acquisition, Siebel, based in San Mateo, Calif., solidified its top spot among CRM vendors, said Judy Hodges, a CRM analyst at International Data Corp. in Framingham, Mass.

Siebel has gobbled its way to its position in the market by buying other companies such as call center management developer Scopus Technology Inc., which it purchased in 1998. Paragren, based in Reston, Va., is a leader in the campaign management niche, and it has partnered with Siebel in the past, Hodges said.

Montreal-based Bell Canada decided in 1998 to purchase Siebel's sales force automation tools and Paragren's One-to-One campaign management tool for its face-to-face sales force, said Allana Brown, an associate director of information technology at Bell Canada.

After completing the implementation late last year, Bell Canada decided to integrate the two products to funnel data gathered from the Siebel application into Paragren's for further refinement. The news that Siebel will do the integration is "extremely appealing," said Brown. "That way, your own IT shop isn't hindered."

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