Broadbase Continues to Expand

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Broadbase Continues to Expand
L. Talarico - October 5, 2000

Event Summary

Broadbase Software Incorporated, a CRM vendor focused on the dot-com and Fortune 1000 markets, recently purchased Servicesoft Incorporated for $645M in stock. Broadbase's current suite of applications offers primarily analytics components including a personalization/recommendation engine, campaign management, and sales order tracking. Missing from Broadbase's offering are operational components geared towards service and support. The acquisition of Servicesoft will add web-based service and support functionality to broaden Broadbase's offering and remain competitive with E.piphany, their biggest direct competitor.

Both Broadbase and E.piphany have gone through an intense period of acquisitions and alliances since late last year to become the single vendor source for both analytic and operational CRM applications. Broadbase's recent activity includes:

  • December 15, 1999 - A week after plans to acquire marketing automation vendor Rubric are announced, Broadbase makes their E-business Suite 3.3 available. The suite incorporates Rubric's campaign management software with Broadbase's customer analytics software.

  • February 22, 2000 - Broadbase partners with Art Technology Group (ATG). The two companies plan to deliver e-business applications by combining Broadbase's customer analytics and ATG's personalization engine.

  • March 28, 2000 - Broadbase agrees to acquire Aperio, Incorporated. Aperio has expertise in designing and implementing marketing automation systems in Fortune 1000 companies.

  • July 7, 2000 - Broadbase agrees to acquire to incorporate's real-time personalization technology into Broadbase's suite of applications. The technology is designed to work via the web, WAP (Wireless Application Protocol) devices, e-mail, and call centers.

  • August 16, 2000 - Broadbase forms an alliance with Decisionism to provide analytics for B2B e-marketplaces. The analytics applications are designed for marketplace members to analyze transactions and supply chain efficiency.

  • September 6, 2000 - Broadbase forms an alliance with Ericsson that promises to bring CRM applications to telecommunications service providers. The focus of the agreement is to develop applications for mobile users.

  • September 18, 2000 - Broadbase acquires Servicesoft.

Market Impact

A look at the press release history for the past 12 months of top CRM vendors E.piphany, Siebel, Onyx, and Broadbase indicates significant consolidation in the CRM market, and TEC believes this is just the beginning. Many organizations prefer to purchase full CRM suites from a single vendor with the functionality of best of breed applications. The easiest way for large CRM vendors to do this is to form alliances or purchase the firms that provide the functionality demanded by the market, thereby incorporating best of breed technology into their own offerings. Such agreements are often necessary because the large CRM vendors are too resource constrained to develop these applications in-house within the timeframe that the market demands.

User Recommendations

Organizations using Broadbase or Servicesoft software should question the vendor's long-term plans for the product line. TEC believes that there is more synergy than overlap with these organizations' offerings, but both vendors have personalization engines and campaign management applications. Before implementing these products ask the vendor which applications are going to be supported over the next 12 months. Furthermore if the product line is going to be simplified, find answers to the following questions:

  • Which products are going to be supported in the future?

  • How do you plan to migrate users of the discontinued product to another product?

  • Will you still offer support and maintenance for the discontinued products, and if so for how long?

Determining the long-term strategy of any CRM vendor is also beneficial before making a purchase decision. Ask the vendor what their plans are for acquisition and product development. Overly aggressive plans may indicate that the vendor is not allocating enough resources to provide service and support for their existing customer base. Conversely, overly conservative product development plans will cause the vendor's product line to become obsolete, requiring your organization to find a new vendor in the future rather than install upgrades from the current vendor.

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