IBM, Siperian, Initiate, Oracle-Siebel lead customer hub space: Forrester

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A combination of best-in-class capabilities in data acquisition, data cleansing, data deduplication, hierarchy management, integration and synchronization, data models and management and architecture have made IBM, Siperian, Initiate, and Oracle-Siebel leaders in the customer hub space.

This information was gleaned from the " The Forrester Wave: Customer Hubs, Q4 2006" report, published by Cambridge, MA-based Forrester Research in late December.

" Many vendors assume that they have solutions that meet the requirements to become a true customer hub. However, only a limited number of vendors have the capability to deliver a complete solution," said Forrester principal analyst Ray Wang, author of the report.

"They strike the right balance between infrastructure and customer focus and intelligent consumption and transactional maintenance, " he said.

The study referred to packaged customer hub systems as moving beyond traditional customer data integration to combine data cleansing, data matching and data management with integrated stewardship and administration.

For the report, Forrester evaluated customer hub vendors across 134 criteria in a demo-based product evaluation. The criteria were grouped into three categories: current offering, strategy and market presence.

Forrester used a combination of vendor surveys, product demonstrations and customer reference calls to assess the strengths and weaknesses of each solution.

The market researcher also included eight vendors and nine solutions in the assessment: D&B, IBM, Initiate Systems, Oracle/Oracle-Siebel, Purisma, SAP, Siperian and VisionWare.

Each of these vendors has at least five live customers and 10 referenceable customers; a complete, packaged customer hub solution; a licensed customer hub software offering; and a strong following among Forrester clients.

The report also found that VisionWare, Purisma, Oracle, and SAP deliver support for highly focused scenarios and that D&B remains a contender as it evolves from trusted content provider to differentiate into a customer hub.

Mr. Wang said that the use of customer hubs by marketers will continue in the near future.

"While customer hub penetration rates are still in the low-single-digits and currently used in specific industries such as high-tech, finance and public sectors, we believe customer hubs will continue to grow and be used by a wide variety of industries," he said.

"In the past, [marketers have] done things backwards, such as implementing CRM systems first and then adding business intelligence and then finally cleaning their data," he said.

"But companies are realizing that they should clean and standardize their data first and then build a transaction system that will give them a 360-degree view of the customer. This is what customer hubs allow."

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