Accrue Software: Trying to Refocus

By Mel Duvall Print this article Print

Dossier: Accrue is trying to survive a crash that took out a big chunk of the Web-analytics competition. In its corner: a long track record and loyal customer base.

Eight Web analytics software companies died last year, and Accrue Software is battling to avoid a similar fate. Accrue replaced most of its senior management and has worked for much of the past year to slow its cash burn-rate. It suffered a $211 million loss in 2001, and slashed staff. In May, the company's stock was moved from the main Nasdaq trading board to the Nasdaq Small Cap Market.

PDF DownloadAccrue's biggest assets: It's been in the Web analytics business longer than most of its competitors, and has a loyal customer base.

Companies with extremely high Web site traffic use Accrue software, and, as a result, its trademark G2 platform sells for about two to three times that of offerings from similar competitors. Marquee customers include Dell Computer and Citibank.

Peter Morris, vice president of Internet channel delivery and operations for CIBC, decided to stick by Accrue because of its long-standing relationship. Morris says even though CIBC is generally satisfied with Accrue—satisfied enough to make an expensive upgrade to the G2 platform last fall—there is room for improvement.

After cutting its workforce down from 140 employees a year ago to 60, shortcomings in customer support have been reported.

Earlier this year, CIBC tried to string Web log results together from multiple servers to gain a more complete customer picture, but encountered technical challenges. It tried to solve the problem remotely with Accrue because the vendor does not have support staff in Toronto. After the problem was unresolved for nearly a month, Accrue sent a person to Toronto and fixed the problem in half a day.

But not all customers are willing to stick by Accrue. Buy.com, which has been using Accrue's Hit List software for several years, says the fact that Accrue was looking to abandon the lower-end product resulted in a noticeable drop in customer support. Ian Hurlock Jones, Buy.com's vice president of information technology, felt pressure to upgrade to the G2 platform. "We weren't ready for it," he says. Buy.com decided instead to build its own Web analytics platform. "Had the support been there, we might not have gone that way," he says.

Accrue Software
48634 Milmont Drive, Fremont, CA 94538
(510) 580-4500

Ticker: ACRU
Exchange: NASDAQ
Employees: 60

Jonathan D. Becher
Interim President, CEO
Named interim president and chief executive in April, after former CEO Jeffrey Walker resigned. Prior to joining Accrue, Becher was CEO of NeoVista Software, which was acquired by Accrue in 2000.

John D'Albis
Chief Technology Officer
D'Albis has been with Accrue since 2000, when he became chief architect as a result of Accrue's acquisition of Pilot Software. He was named Accrue's CTO in October 2001, but in June was reappointed as CTO of Pilot Software, a newly formed unit that will once again develop and market the Pilot Software suite of business intelligence offerings.

Key Products
Four key product lines, including its flagship Web analytics suite, Accrue G2. The company also offers a scaled-down version of G2, called Accrue Insight. Insight had been the company's core offering until earlier this year. Two other products, Pilot Suite, a business intelligence platform, and Pilot Hit List, are being spun off into a new company.

Reference Checks

Eastman Kodak
Terry Lund
Director, Site Operations
(585) 724-4000
Project: The $14 billion imaging company uses Accrue to track customer behavior and trends across multiple business units.

Seattle Times
Donna Zielinski
Director, Online Technology
Project: The newspaper's Web site tracks customer visits with Accrue Software. It wants to understand what content readers are most interested in and how they use the content.

Dow Jones & Co.
Todd Larsen
General Manager, Consumer Electronic Publishing
(212) 416-2000
Project: The publishing company uses Accrue's software to track visitors on its various Internet properties, including The Wall Street Journal.

Peter Morris
VP, Internet Channel Delivery and Operations
Project: The Canadian bank uses Accrue's software to track customers using its Web site and online banking services. It wants to determine how to make customers more active users of its online services.

Gary Beberman
Director, Technical Research
(212) 494-1602
Project: The department store's Web site is using Accrue's software to better determine how to put the right product in front of the right customer.

Michael Wilkes
(415) 581-5300
Project: The digital design firm has built Accrue's software into Web sites it has developed for clients such as Blockbuster.com and Western Union.

Executives listed here are all users of Accrue Software. Their willingness to discuss their experience has been confirmed by Baseline.

This article was originally published on 2002-08-13
Contributing Editor
Mel Duvall is a veteran business and technology journalist, having written for a variety of daily newspapers and magazines for 17 years. Most recently he was the Business Commerce Editor for Interactive Week, and previously served as a senior business writer for The Financial Post.

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