SAN MATEO (03/17/2000) - E.piphany Inc.'s $3.1 billion acquisition of Octane Software last week will strengthen E.piphany's hand in its competition with Siebel Systems, and will raise the stakes for the CRM (customer relationship management) space by marrying multichannel customer links to analytics, industry observers said.
Once the acquisition is complete, the combined workforce of 500 will be taking full aim at Siebel, Primus, and the recently merged Kana Communications and Silknet Software, said Roger Siboni, president and CEO of E.piphany. Siebel will be the main competitor, because it will be the only player with the breadth to match E.piphany's, Siboni said.
"We do remain focused on the ultimate competitor," Siboni said. "It is between us and Siebel."
The acquisition has been driven by brick-and-mortar and dot-com companies that are in "a phenomenal rush" to the Web for e-commerce and CRM, Siboni said.
The Octane acquisition fills a gap in E.piphany's service offerings, Siboni said. "Where E.piphany stops, Octane starts," he said, referring to E.piphany's analytical products applied to the multiple-channel, Web-based CRM services of Octane.
The acquisition will command Siebel's attention, said Bob Chatham, an analyst at Forrester Research in Cambridge, Mass. "This forces Siebel to act -- they can't just ignore this move -- allowing a competitor to emerge," Chatham said.
The acquisition also underscores how Siebel underestimates the importance of the Internet to CRM, which might prove to be Siebel's biggest potential pitfall, he said. The newly combined E.piphany will have "a decent size war chest to play with," Chatham added.
The E.piphany-Octane acquisition might prove to be a stronger marriage than the recent $4.2 billion merger between Kana and Silknet, Chatham said. "It's a weak image of that vision," Chatham said of Kana-Silknet, arguing that E.piphany has stronger analytical capabilities. "[But] I wouldn't discount Kana-Silknet -- they're the tactical competitor right now," he said.
One shortfall for E.piphany is the missing piece for field sales force integration, which they can integrate via APIs, Chatham said.
Octane Software, in San Mateo, Calif., is at www.octane.com. E.piphany, also in San Mateo, is at www.epiphany.com.
Complementary CRM couple
Octane Software has a Web-based dowry.
* Contact tracking
* Customer information management
* E-mail management
* Call control
* Customer service request, lead, and product trackingE.piphany's E.4 System is made up of the following.
* Data mining
* Real-time personalization for Web sites and other channels* Customer targeting via behavior* Analytic applications that integrate reporting, OLAP (online analytical processing), data mining, and campaign management into one application.