SPSS's NetGenesis: Taking Intelligence Online

By Mel Duvall Print this article Print

Dossier: SPSS acquired NetGenesis with an eye toward combining NetGenesis' Web analytics software with its own CRM offerings. What do customers make of the match?

In 2001, SPSS acquired NetGenesis of Cambridge, Mass., with the intention of weaving NetGenesis' Web analytics software into SPSS's customer relationship management software. The thinking was that companies will want to track all customers, whether they arrive by foot, phone or the Web.

PDF DownloadBill Carson, vice president of application solutions for 1-800-FLOWERS, says his company has used NetGenesis' software for about three years to track buying patterns at its Web site. When it came time to upgrade Web analytics technology this year, he stuck with NetGenesis because he was happy with the service and liked SPSS's integration strategy.

"What we'd really like to be able to do is combine our key clickstream data with our overall customer data warehouse," says Carson, whose company has about $495 million in annual sales split evenly between phone and Web orders. However, 1-800-FLOWERS would need to get customer adapters built to make that happen, rather than buy software from NetGenesis or other vendors.

1-800-FLOWERS used NetGenesis software to test two versions of a calendar on its Web site. One featured a standard pull-down box for a delivery date, the other used a more advanced visual calendar that displayed the earliest date that an order could be delivered.

"The (visual) calendar won hands down," says Carson. By letting customers see early on whether a delivery would arrive in time, the site dramatically reduced the number of abandoned shopping carts. "That's the kind of thing we want the software to tell us."

Larry Gentry, an executive at Countrywide Home Loans, thinks it should be easier to integrate Web data with other corporate data. The company did about $13.6 billion in loan funding last year, with almost $5.9 billion coming from e-commerce channels. "Our business channels want to compare branch statistics against online statistics," he says. "They want to know, for example, how many people walked into a branch and walked out with a loan versus online visitors. Doing that today requires proprietary connections. It's not as easy as it should be."

233 S. Wacker Drive, Chicago, IL 60606
(312) 651-3000

Ticker: SPSS
Exchange: NASDAQ
Employees: 1,385

Jack Noonan
Noonan became president and CEO of SPSS in January 1992. Before that, he was president and CEO of database developer Microrim, and previously served in senior positions with Amdahl, Candle and IBM.

Susan Phelan
Division President, CustomerCentric Solutions
Phelan is responsible for SPSS's CustomerCentric Solutions division, which includes its NetGenesis Web analytics product line, and its Customer-Centric CRM software. She is working to more closely align the two product families. She joined SPSS in 1980 as a sales representative and product specialist.

SPSS's key Web analytics offerings are NetGenesis and NetGenesis Enterprise, which SPSS acquired in October 2001. The company offers a wide range of business intelligence, CRM, and Web analytics products divided into five families: CustomerCentric Solutions, ShowCase, SPSS Business Intelligence, SPSS Enabling Technologies and SPSS MR.

Reference Checks

Todd & Holland Tea Merchants
Bill Todd
President, Owner
Project: Purveyor of fine teas uses NetGenesis to track its customers' purchasing patterns.

Bill Carson
VP, Application Solutions
(516) 237-6000
Project: Flower dealer uses NetGenesis to analyze purchasing trends, determine how to improve Web site operation, and find out why customers abandon shopping carts.

Countrywide Home Loans
Larry Gentry
First VP, E-Business Technologies
(818) 871-4000
Project: Uses NetGenesis to track customers on 60 e-commerce units ranging from sites for home loans, to insurance, investing and corporate clients.

David Wang
Group Leader, Site Analysis
(312) 696-6063
Project: Invest-ment research firm uses NetGenesis to help analysts determine the issues and investments that most interest its customers.

Stanford Linear Accelerator Center
Ruth McDunn
Manager, Web Information
Project: Security issues have prompted the center to ask more questions about Web site visitors and the information they seek. Net-Genesis is used to gather intelligence.

Follet Higher Education
Sheridan Lodico
Specialist, Internet Information
Project: The operator of 1,000 online college bookstores uses NetGenesis.

Executives listed here are all users of SPSS's NetGenesis analytics 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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