Retailer hopes for Oracle-Siebel integration

The closing of Oracle's purchase of Siebel Systems, expected later this month, could prove to be a boon for Select Comfort.

The Minneapolis-based mattress retailer, an Oracle ERP shop, will be rolling out Siebel's business intelligence software next week and hopes that Siebel's new owner will move quickly to integrate Siebel's BI tool with its own ERP applications, said Select Comfort CIO Mike Thyken.

The Siebel tools that Select Comfort plans to use are designed to deliver alerts and dashboard capabilities to show how the company's 400 stores are performing in real time.

Although Select Comfort purchased the Siebel software before the vendors agreed to the acquisition, Thyken called the merger "a perfect fit from our standpoint."

The mattress company, an Oracle customer since 1998, uses that vendor's E-Business Suite 11i financial, human resources and manufacturing applications. Now Select Comfort plans to deploy Siebel Business Analytics to some 2,500 users companywide by 2008. The retailer expects that 1,300 employees will be using the software by the end of this year.

David Dobrin, an analyst at B2B Analysts, said Select Comfort will likely have to wait a while for a strong link between the products. Integration "will take years and years, and probably Oracle will have to do a major revision to [its] data systems," he said.

Consolidated system

The Siebel system that Select Comfort is rolling out will take multichannel internal and partner customer information feeds via XML, flat-file and electronic data interchange formats, Thyken said.

The consolidated data will be used to study trends involving customer activity, he said. Moreover, the application will let nontechnical users analyze data by store or geographical region, he added.

Currently, Select Comfort uses a Cognos-based customer data warehousing system; that will be phased out in favor of the Siebel software, which Thyken described as more intuitive.

When the system is fully installed, the retailer will be able to aggregate customer activity data with human resources and plant operations and other data. Thyken did not disclose the cost of the installation.

Until Oracle offers tight integration between its own ERP applications and Siebel's software, Select Comfort will rely on Informatica's extract, transform and load technology for data-sharing between the applications.

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