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The second part of the Front Office report:

http://www.siliconinvestor.com/stocktalk/msg.gsp?msgid=15703906

--Mike Buckley
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Mike,

I have just finished each word of your front office report.
Excellent!
Question, have you tracked any other games?

Dennis
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Dennis:

Your question is probably the single most intelligent post I have read over the past month.

Paul
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Sprry, Dennis, but tracking and reporting on the Front Office Game for three years has been tough enough. I don't follow any other "games" so to speak.

By the way, when I referred several times to the four years the game has been in progress, you should be aware that it has only been three years. I tried counting without using my fingers and it didn't work.

--Mike Buckley
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Mike,

And your reply is the most uplifting word/comment I have received in a very long while.
Thank you.

Dennis
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Sorry Mike & Paul,

The last post was to be addressed to Paul.

Dennis
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You are welcome. I hope Mike picks up some of the reflected glory. [-(

Paul
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The last post was to be addressed to Paul.

I thought it was unduly complimentary of my post admitting that I can't count to three on my own. :)

--Mike Buckley

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Mike and Paul,

I / You just got to love it.

What a wonderfull community.

I just posted a letter of introduction on the l'union.

Dennis
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Mike,

Enjoyed your discussion of ERM software. I have a few questions. I agree that ERM is an important emerging application. I believe that what you (and perhaps Siebel) define as ERM is the equivalent of that which Broadvision has been labeling B2E (business to employee) software.

BVSN has done substantial work in this arena. Recently, they signed a huge deal with Bank of America to develop a B2E system which BofA intends to market as a client service with the intent to sell more of its own products and services. This is not the only substantial B2E deal which BVSN has closed.

Assuming that ERM is the same as B2E (looks like it to me), what is the fundamental difference between ERM and eCRM? I don't see it. Why can't a strong B2B or B2C platform or application suite vendor easily tailor its system to ERM? Seems a very similar application dealing with the same issues -- basically, the same technology.

I am not touting BVSN. Ever since learning about eCRM software and applying GG tenets I have felt all along that, as application software, eCRM [ala BVSN] is no more than a potential royalty game. I recall doing some research in TMF and discovering a message on this board regarding the eCRM market by one of the authors of GG saying exactly the same.

However, the application server business is something entirely different. As an investor I am trying to simplify and focus on potential de facto standards. I have read every discussion of BEAS on this board. My belief is that the application server is the category of internet software which has the greatest odds to become a true operating system for the internet and, therefore, a de facto standard.

Despite the fact that ERM may be a hot emerging application, it is my belief that the big winner in the internet software market will probably be the winner of the application server game that has engendered so much discussion on this board. If the application server game gives us the next Microsoft, I would expect most of the internet application software vendors (including ERM vendors) will spoon feed said winner. Another scenario might be that, once total application server market domination is established, said winner will come to own most of the application software vendors.

Okay Mike, I seem to recall when the BEAS discussion last peaked you admitted early on you were not all that familiar with BEAS (please correct me if I am wrong). However, for you and the board at large, it seems to me that any discussion of the concept of an ERM (or eCRM or B2B or B2C) software vendor as a gorilla candidate is diametrically opposed to the concept that the application server gorilla will emerge the next big winner.

Not to say that your well thought out delineation of the ERM market is not extremely valuable. Might be right on target for all I know.

Let me simplify in a few short words: If BEAS, for example, establishes itself as the operating system for internet applications will they not come to own the lion's share of ERM profits? If ERM is a significant emerging market, shouldn't we bet on the application server gorilla over the application served?

Thanks to all from a faithful daily (barring weekends) reader of this board,


Chris
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Chris,

Thanks for the feedback about ERM. I'm learning about this on the fly so I'd appreciate any help I can get.

I believe that what you (and perhaps Siebel) define as ERM is the equivalent of that which Broadvision has been labeling B2E (business to employee) software.

Understanding that ERM is about hiring, training, managing and retaining employees, when I reviewed descriptions of all of Broadvision's products at their website I didn't see anything about that. We've been discussing on the SI thread that the closest thing to ERM is probably HR, PeopleSoft's strength. It's similar to HR with a slant focused on making sure all employees' personal objectives are in lockstep with the company objectives, as opposed to the traditional HR approach that is for the most part limited to the back-office accounting headaches of the company's human assets. In other words, HR functionality will always be needed and the idea is that ERM increases productivity and reduces cost.

Assuming that ERM is the same as B2E (looks like it to me), what is the fundamental difference between ERM and eCRM?

When I see your references to eCRM, B2E, B2B, B2C and the like, honestly, my eyes glaze over. That's because those terms mean so many things to so many different organizations and people that I truly don't pretend to understand where the lines of separation are. As an investor, one reason I'm partial to Siebel is because their product lines are fairly easy to define: customer service, sales force automation, field service, and now, employee relations (hiring, training, managing, and retaining employees.) If you can show me a product by any company that addresses those specific areas, we know it's a competitor. Without those specifics, I'm clueless.

Why can't a strong B2B or B2C platform or application suite vendor easily tailor its system to ERM?

There you go with those B2Bs and B2Cs again. :) Seriously, any of those companies and many more types of companies can easily do that. Software applications are rarely the domain of high barriers to entry. ERM's barrier is probably about as low as any enterprise-wide app.

I have felt all along that, as application software, eCRM [ala BVSN] is no more than a potential royalty game. I recall doing some research in TMF and discovering a message on this board regarding the eCRM market by one of the authors of GG saying exactly the same.

Frankly, that makes no sense to me at all. Broadvision is clearly using a proprietary, open technology that appears to have a high switching cost though I understand its switching costs less clearly. If the author was Geoff Moore, remember that he's made several very wrong calls in the past though I'd think that Broadvision's product line would be the sort of stuff he's most familiar with.

Despite the fact that ERM may be a hot emerging application, it is my belief that the big winner in the internet software market will probably be the winner of the application server game that has engendered so much discussion on this board. If the application server game gives us the next Microsoft, ...

I don't disagree there. You won't find me saying that ERM will produce the next Microsoft, mostly because ERM is just one app and the next Microsoft will assuredly have an enabling software at the core of its business model.

Also understand that I would never recommend an investment in Siebel because of its entry into the ERM software market. The product category probably hasn't gotten to the chasm, much less crossed it. On the other hand, Siebel shareholders (I'm in that camp) have reason to be at least a little bit optimistic in the least about Siebel's opportunity to leverage its Gorilla strength in such a highly related and potentially large market. And for all Gorilla Gamers, regardless of whether or not they own shares of Siebel, it should be very educational to watch this play out in real time.

To reiterate, let me know if you believe Broadvision's product line caters to the automation of directly hiring, training, managing and retaining employees. Any help in that area you can provide is appreciated!

--Mike Buckley











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Mike,


I believe the following link:

http://www.broadvision.com/OneToOne/SessionMgr/news/news_detail.jsp?BV_SessionID=NNNN0603492679.0988127447NNNN&BV_EngineID=calkkcjmkkkbfdmckgcfhhclf.0&oid=537074414&channelName=Press+Releases&channelRuleset=News+Channels&programName=All+News&programRuleset=Press+Releases+Programs

should clarify the BVSN/BAC ERM initiative I mentioned. Sounds like an exact match to ERM.

Yes, I thought about more clearly defining what I meant by B2B (my mistake in not doing so :-) ), et al, but I hoped specifying internet platforms and internet application suites might have been enough. I wasn't referring to I2 or Epiphany, but to eCRM systems such as BVSN, Vignette, ATG, and the ilk -- systems that provide personalization, automated customer service, seamless access to back end systems, content management, automated logical e-Mail, transaction processing and all the other stuff required for an industrial strength web site.

These products are difficult to define. In fact, I have yet to meet a BVSN employee who can succinctly describe what their products do (from one week to the next they seem to come up with different buzzwords for the same products). I like to call it eCRM but BVSN reps cringe whenever I call it this. I ask, "then what is it?" and I get "an application suite for the internet" or somesuch gobbledygook.

BVSN reps I have spoken to do not see SEBL as a player in eCRM space (yet). They see SEBL as more of a call center/customer service/sales automation system. They (BVSN, VIGN and ATG reps)claim they rarely compete with SEBL in the eCRM arena. However, SEBL is supposedly making inroads and I would certainly not consider them a business partner (despite BVSN claims to the contrary). Here is a relvant post: http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=14159517
To Tinkershaw's final question: No, I don't know of any business taken away from BVSN by SEBL (I have asked similar questions umpteen times on the BVSN board). The effect SEBL's eCRM efforts have had thus far are related to the partnership. SEBL eyes BVSN as a competitor and will not "bring them in on any deals." On the other hand, I have yet to hear of any SEBL deals closed in partnership with BVSN.

I don't believe the BVSN/BAC ERM initiative has been delivered yet. Also, I recall reading of additional BVSN deals signed which were aimed at delivering B2E solutions. Not sure if any have been implemented yet.

The statement I referred to from a GG author was posted last January (I believe) not by Moore. Might have been Johnson. I searched but couldn't find it. Probably not available anymore (okay, and maybe no longer relevant). I believe the writer may have been referring to the middleware discussion on page 135. Of course in addition to eCRM the application server might also be defined as middleware, however, it appears the category has "broken free" and can now be defined as enabling software.

If BEAS ends up the big winner in the application server game, I wonder how it will affect related application gorillas such as SEBL? Maybe a gigantic, dominant BEAS would end up bundling all the internet application software into its offering ala Microsoft. Am I thinking too far ahead? Probably yes from a SEBL investor point-of-view, at least.

Forgive my rambling. I suppose my point must be:

- I agree that ERM is a significant emerging application
- I see it as another reason to play the Application Server game
- I marvel at the number of investors on the company boards playing the eCRM game with investments in SEBL, BVSN, VIGN, ARTG with nary a mention of BEAS


My objective is to learn and clarify. Thanks for your thoughts.



Best,

Chris

I pulled out of eCRM game [as defined above], own stock in BEAS. My wife left a job at BVSN. She is not with BEAS. She has gone with a large ISP so we have some good contacts and insight all over the place.
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Sorry about the appearance of last post.

I tried but could not figure out how to
format. This never happened before
so I must have changed some setting.
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badineri

Its most likely the long url....you can break the url or repost referring folks to that post for the url.

omahafool

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Chris,

I tried accessing your BVSN link. i got a message telling me that the "session had expired" and that I should go to the home page. Can you try a more current URL?

I don't think you were rambling at all, so I'll address the whole BEAS perspective as I see it. Yes, if the BEAS platform is as successful at furthering the use of the Internet in business as Windows was in furthering the use of personal computers, BEAS could leverage the power of its position with application server software just as Microsoft leveraged the power of its position with operating software.

However, there is a big difference between now and then. When Windows was being initially adopted, apps were also being adopted for the first time. Today, when application servers are being initially adopted, many forms of applicatins software are already on Main Street. For the types of apps that are being developed concurrently with application server software, the application server Gorilla will presumably have a relatively easy time of doing what Softie did. There is the caveat, though, that the federal government and the customers and other members of the potential value chain are now onto the power of an enabling Gorilla and will probably attempt to resist it more than in Softie's heyday. (Personally, I don't think it matters how much they think they want to resist it. In the end, it's in their best interest that they go along for the ride and I also think they know that.)

For the apps that are already in the phase of mass adoption, BEAS has to deal with the high switching costs of those apps already adopted. BEAS also has to contend with the Siebels of the world adapting their apps to the new Internet platform and saying, "You loved our product when it worked under the old platform. You'll love it when you use it with the BEAS platform." And BEAS won't be in a position to deny the Siebels of the world access to their platform because they depend heavily on those members of the value chain.

As for your surprise that there's not a lot of discussion about BEAS on the software threads, I'd like to think that's because the software threads don't have the luxury of discussing businesses in total context, as opposed to Gorilla Gamers who enjoy that luxury every day.
(Though I'm still perplexed that BEAS hasn't been through the gamut of discussion on the SI thread that appeared on this thread.)

--Mike Buckley
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Chris,

Having read my previous post to you, I need to clarify my statement that "when Windows was being initially adopted, apps were also being adopted for the first time." I should have said that apps for the personal computer were also being adopted for the first time. I'm implying that adapting software apps to applications servers will probably be easier to do than making the changes that were necessary to transition from mainframe- and mini-computing to personal computing.

Being a carpetologist, I don't have any technical basis for coming to that conclusion. So, I could be very wrong. But there are other factors aside from the techinical issues that make me think future transitions of that nature will usually if not always be easier than past transitions.

--Mike Buckley
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Mike,

If you want to read the E2B article, please go to www.broadvision.com and search for Bank of America. The third result is the news item in question.

I have no doubt that, should BEAS achieve true gorilla status, Siebel will embrace it. I suppose my questions regarding Siebel are more along the lines of:

Do you agree that ERM is essentially an eCRM application where the employee becomes the customer?

Would you agree that an eCRM platform or suite as defined in my previous post (which I will reprint below without the long URL [thanks omahafool] for those who don't want to get cramps clicking through the original) should have what it takes to deliver an effective ERM solution?

If we see little evidence as yet that SEBL has established itself as a force in the eCRM market (please correct me if I am wrong here, I haven't paid as much attention to the SEBL board as I have the other eCRM companies due to the anecdotal evidence I mentioned before that they are not yet an eCRM player), and assuming the ERM is an eCRM application, then how can we expect SEBL to make a timely and significant impact in the ERM market?

Thanks for your thoughts,

Chris


Here's the old post cleaned up:

Mike,


I believe the following link:


Go to
www.broadvision.com
Search for Bank of America
Select the third result.

should clarify the BVSN/BAC ERM initiative I mentioned. Sounds like an exact match to ERM.

Yes, I thought about more clearly defining what I meant by B2B (my mistake in not doing so :-) ), et al, but I hoped specifying internet platforms and internet application suites might have been enough. I wasn't referring to I2 or Epiphany, but to eCRM systems such as BVSN, Vignette, ATG, and the ilk -- systems that provide personalization, automated customer service, seamless access to back end systems, content management, automated logical e-Mail, transaction processing and all the other stuff required for an industrial strength web site.

These products are difficult to define. In fact, I have yet to meet a BVSN employee who can succinctly describe what their products do (from one week to the next they seem to come up with different buzzwords for the same products). I like to call it eCRM but BVSN reps cringe whenever I call it this. I ask, "then what is it?" and I get "an application suite for the internet" or somesuch gobbledygook.

BVSN reps I have spoken to do not see SEBL as a player in eCRM space (yet). They see SEBL as more of a call center/customer service/sales automation system. They (BVSN, VIGN and ATG reps)claim they rarely compete with SEBL in the eCRM arena. However, SEBL is supposedly making inroads and I would certainly not consider them a business partner (despite BVSN claims to the contrary). Here is a relvant post: http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=14159517
To Tinkershaw's final question: No, I don't know of any business taken away from BVSN by SEBL (I have asked similar questions umpteen times on the BVSN board). The effect SEBL's eCRM efforts have had thus far are related to the partnership. SEBL eyes BVSN as a competitor and will not "bring them in on any deals." On the other hand, I have yet to hear of any SEBL deals closed in partnership with BVSN.

I don't believe the BVSN/BAC ERM initiative has been delivered yet. Also, I recall reading of additional BVSN deals signed which were aimed at delivering B2E solutions. Not sure if any have been implemented yet.

The statement I referred to from a GG author was posted last January (I believe) not by Moore. Might have been Johnson. I searched but couldn't find it. Probably not available anymore (okay, and maybe no longer relevant). I believe the writer may have been referring to the middleware discussion on page 135. Of course in addition to eCRM the application server might also be defined as middleware, however, it appears the category has "broken free" and can now be defined as enabling software.

If BEAS ends up the big winner in the application server game, I wonder how it will affect related application gorillas such as SEBL? Maybe a gigantic, dominant BEAS would end up bundling all the internet application software into its offering ala Microsoft. Am I thinking too far ahead? Probably yes from a SEBL investor point-of-view, at least.

Forgive my rambling. I suppose my point must be:

- I agree that ERM is a significant emerging application
- I see it as another reason to play the Application Server game
- I marvel at the number of investors on the company boards playing the eCRM game with investments in SEBL, BVSN, VIGN, ARTG with nary a mention of BEAS


My objective is to learn and clarify. Thanks for your thoughts.



Best,

Chris

I pulled out of eCRM game [as defined above], own stock in BEAS. My wife left a job at BVSN. She is not with BEAS. She has gone with a large ISP so we have some good contacts and insight all over the place.
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Chris,

Do you agree that ERM is essentially an eCRM application where the employee becomes the customer?

No, I don't presently view ERM in that context. I see the employee as having a specific role in helping the company's accomplish its mission and that ERM helps all that happen. Certainly some aspects of that involve the employee as the customer, such as how the employee uses information provided by ERM software to help accomplish the objectives. But I don't think it's quite so simple as saying that ERM is essentially the same as eCRM if that's the criterion you're using to separate eCRM from all the other acronyms.

Would you agree that an eCRM platform or suite as defined in my previous post ... should have what it takes to deliver an effective ERM solution?

If you're referring to your comment about "systems that provide personalization, automated customer service, seamless access to back end systems, content management, automated logical e-Mail, transaction processing and all the other stuff required for an industrial strength web site," then YES, we agree. But I think the barriers to entry are sufficiently low that such a platform in itself doesn't give a provider a demonstrative edge on the competition.

If we see little evidence as yet that SEBL has established itself as a force in the eCRM market (please correct me if I am wrong here, I haven't paid as much attention to the SEBL board as I have the other eCRM companies due to the anecdotal evidence I mentioned before that they are not yet an eCRM player), and assuming the ERM is an eCRM application, then how can we expect SEBL to make a timely and significant impact in the ERM market?

Two issues. The first is that we disagree that ERM is the same as eCRM. The second issue is that even if we did agree on that, Siebel already has tremendous traction in the highly related CRM market that BVSN doesn't have that can be leveraged in a similar way that we can expect BVSN to leverage theirs. SEBL is a $2.4 billion business (run rate.) SEBL did 75% more business last quarter than BVSN did last year.

By the way, I don't see Siebel and BVSN being significant competitors these days. I think that because in listening to many Siebel conference calls (I wasn't able to hear the one for Q4, 2000), I've never heard BVSN mentioned as a competitor yet the extent that various companies are competing is discussed in every conference call. If Siebel isn't bringing BVSN into deals, it's because there is either a percieved weakness or eventual threat that they want to thwart now.

I'll try to find the BofA stuff you mentioned.

--Mike Buckley

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This is a resposting of my previous post, this time with the proper fonts. Sorry about that.

Chris,

Do you agree that ERM is essentially an eCRM application where the employee becomes the customer?

No, I don't presently view ERM in that context. I see the employee as having a specific role in helping the company's accomplish its mission and that ERM helps all that happen. Certainly some aspects of that involve the employee as the customer, such as how the employee uses information provided by ERM software to help accomplish the objectives. But I don't think it's quite so simple as saying that ERM is essentially the same as eCRM if that's the criterion you're using to separate eCRM from all the other acronyms.

Would you agree that an eCRM platform or suite as defined in my previous post ... should have what it takes to deliver an effective ERM solution?

If you're referring to your comment about "systems that provide personalization, automated customer service, seamless access to back end systems, content management, automated logical e-Mail, transaction processing and all the other stuff required for an industrial strength web site," then YES, we agree. But I think the barriers to entry are sufficiently low that such a platform in itself doesn't give a provider a demonstrative edge on the competition. And I don't think it's a slam dunk that BEAS is the next Microsoft with all its powers.

If we see little evidence as yet that SEBL has established itself as a force in the eCRM market (please correct me if I am wrong here, I haven't paid as much attention to the SEBL board as I have the other eCRM companies due to the anecdotal evidence I mentioned before that they are not yet an eCRM player), and assuming the ERM is an eCRM application, then how can we expect SEBL to make a timely and significant impact in the ERM market?

Two issues. The first is that we disagree that ERM is the same as eCRM. The second issue is that even if we did agree on that, Siebel already has tremendous traction in the highly related CRM market that BVSN doesn't have that can be leveraged in a similar way that we can expect BVSN to leverage theirs. SEBL is a $2.4 billion business (run rate.) SEBL did 75% more business last quarter than BVSN did last year.

By the way, I don't see Siebel and BVSN being significant competitors these days. I think that because in listening to many Siebel conference calls (I wasn't able to hear the one for Q4, 2000), I've never heard BVSN mentioned as a competitor yet the extent that various companies are competing is discussed in every conference call. If Siebel isn't bringing BVSN into deals, it's because there is either a percieved weakness or eventual threat that they want to thwart now.

I'll try to find the BofA stuff you mentioned.

--Mike Buckley

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Chris,

Thanks for helping me find my way to the press release you mentioned about the JV between BVSN and BofA. Having read it, I don't see ERM as Siebel's press release describes their ERM product as being the same thing as B2E as that press release about the JV describes it. I see what you mean about the employee being the customer in BVSN's press release, but I don't see anything about software being used to hire and manage the employee that is critical to Siebel's concept of ERM.

Just my initial impression. It could change.

--Mike Buckley

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Being a carpetologist,

OK Mike, I've got to ask. What's a carpetologist?

Kathy
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Kathy,

You won't be surprised to learn that there is no such thing as a carpetologist. I use the term as part joke and part serious reminder that my entire professional background was as a non-technologist. Instead, mine was a sales career in the carpet industry.

For me, the importance of Gorilla Game is that it frames technology products and companies in a context that even non-technologists can understand. In other words, if a lowly carpetologist can get this stuff, I'm living proof that anyone can.

--Mike Buckley
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Mike,

Sometimes I think people not directly involved with technology can see these things a little clearer. They can see the forest instead of the trees. I know you're good at it.

Kathy
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...Instead, mine was a sales career in the carpet industry...

Mike,

Sure is a small world. Way back in 1958 & 59 I was a carpet weaver. In those days carpets were woven. Today, only a minority of carpets are woven. Strange, eventhought my grandfather, my father and I worked for Roxbury Carpet company we did not have carpets in our homes.

TB

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Mike I enjoyed your compare and contrast of Windows history versus BEAS potential. Well thought out.

It appears to me as if the BVSN/BAC product has the following cut and pasted from the SIEBEL announcement:

--Peronalized home pages with content customized by the employee
--Distribution of company news
--Product information
--Competitor information
--Contact management
--Submitting personal objectives
--Web-based training


Using BroadVision's technology, the portal solution will provide employees of subscriber companies with direct access to a wide range of relevant tools and information, including workplace communications, training, benefits, financial services, travel services, industry news, stock quotes and electronic commerce. In addition, the portal will dynamically change and personalize content, delivering only the most compelling information based on the individual user's professional responsibilities and personal interests.

Now that I review it appears Siebel may be ahead of BVSN in development,






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Mike,

By the way I meant to say my wife works for a large ASP, not ISP.

I enjoyed your well thought out discussion of Windows history versus BEAS potential. Lots of valuable points made.

Here is the outline of ERM features from the Siebel article:

--Web-based training
--Personalized home pages with content customized by the employee
--Distribution of company news
--Product information
--Competitor information
--Contact management
--Submitting personal objectives

Here is a description of the Bank of America/BVSN offering:

Using BroadVision's technology, the portal solution will provide employees of subscriber companies with direct access to a wide range of relevant tools and information, including workplace communications, training, benefits, financial services, travel services, industry news, stock quotes and electronic commerce. In addition, the portal will dynamically change and personalize content, delivering only the most compelling information based on the individual user's professional responsibilities and personal interests.

The major difference I can ascertain is that SEBL is providing a software solution whereas BAC/BVSN is providing a service or "portal solution." An enterprise using BAC/BVSN would purchase a subscription covering all of its employees.

I don't see anything about software being used to hire and manage the employee that is critical to Siebel's concept of ERM.


I don't see any mention of a hiring solution in the SEBL outline either. Perhaps you have access to additional information. I would agree it makes perfect sense that both solutions handle the management of hiring. It appears to me the BAC/BVSN solution does handle employee management to no less extent than is either explicit or implied in the SEBL outline. I haven't seen any disclosures regarding the BAC/BVSN venture since the initial press release so it possible these features are included. If we can assume this is so, aren't talking about two different versions (one software, the other a service) of the same thing?


If you're referring to your comment about "systems that provide personalization, automated customer service, seamless access to back end systems, content management, automated logical e-Mail, transaction processing and all the other stuff required for an industrial strength web site," then YES, we agree.


For clarity's sake, yes, this is what I mean by eCRM.

I believe BVSN already has most (possibly all) of the stuff necessary to build this application.


Siebel already has tremendous traction in the highly related CRM market that BVSN doesn't have that can be leveraged in a similar way that we can expect BVSN to leverage theirs. SEBL is a $2.4 billion business (run rate.) SEBL did 75% more business last quarter than BVSN did last year.


We are not discussing BVSN. We are discussing a combined effort by Bank of America and BVSN. BVSN has a mature eCRM solution and BAC has tremendous traction when it comes to providing corporate services plus tremendous marketing clout. I don't need to point out the numbers. Potentially a powerful combination.


If Siebel isn't bringing BVSN into deals, it's because there is either a percieved weakness or eventual threat that they want to thwart now.


There may be a perceived weakness but I don't believe that is the reason. About a year and a half ago, Siebel released it's eCRM product. Thereafter they were not about to bring BVSN or any other eCRM vendor in on a deal.

I noted that according to BVSN (plus managers from other eCRM companies we have interviewed with), SEBL has not been a player in eCRM deals. This suggests that industry consultants are not recommending Siebel for eCRM. The industry perception is that when it comes to the "e" in eCRM (that is, much of the stuff in the eCRM definition above), SEBL does not have a mature product. This may or may not be so and, of course, things are always changing.

One possibility is that SEBL has been using its tremendous leverage to sell its eCRM product to its own customers, picking the low hanging fruit. As such, it is not unlikely BVSN and other eCRM vendors would not even get the chance to compete for these deals.

Nevertheless, I have no delusions that SEBL cannot deliver a competitive/superior eCRM solution or an effective ERM solution. They may already have both. Just describing the current eCRM market as it has been described to me.

ERM may be a tremendous opportunity for investors. Just wanted to point out SEBL may not be the only player on the horizon. They may be competing with the tremendous leverage and marketing clout of the largest bank in the U.S combined with the strengths of a mature eCRM product. Personally, I would not invest in BVSN right now, but SEBL and this new company on the horizon . . . hmmm . . . I look forward to seeing how this plays out.

Best,



Chris

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Chris,

To reflect on our entire discussion...

There is inevitable overlap between various product and service offerings in ERM just as there is with CRM. With the limited research I've done (and I'm not about to do a lot for a product category that hasn't crossed the chasm), I've already been able to establish that it's very, very difficult to understand where the overlap does and doesn't occur. A great example I didn't realize until you pointed it out is that Siebel is very specific that their ERM software currently begins with the date of hire, as opposed to "hiring functionality" that I interpret to mean that it would be used by people recruiting and hiring employees. Moreover, when we read the descriptions of product at the various websites, some are clear, some are muddy, yet none give an investor a concrete impression of what one product includes or omits. I doubt that anyone has a product that is "whole" ERM, making it even more difficult to say that one product is ERM and another isn't.

There will no doubt be a lot of players in the ERM market. There are the ones Tom Siebel mentioned in the conference call. We've already established (at least in my mind) that PeopleSoft's HMRS is part of ERM. It's apparent through our discussion that at least part of the BVSN/BAC service is part of ERM. I was told just last night that Peregrine is offering an ERM solution as well. For me, this verifies that the barrier to entry is rather low.

It's also especially interesting to me that ERM will be approached by the various vendors through their pre-existing strengths. PeopleSoft will use the tranditionl HR slant. The approach by Siebel is customer-centric in that it is based on ensuring that all employees are working in lockstep to accomplish the same corporate goals. And Peregrine plays into their strength by using an asset management approach in which the assets are the human assets.

You mentioned that Siebel hasn't been a main competitor in the eCRM deals. That gets me back to the issue that I don't know how to distinguish between CRM and eCRM. It is interesting to me that about six months ago Siebel changed its website to redefine their prodcuts as eBusiness products. Yet during the conference call, Tom Siebel referred to CRM many, many times. Not once did he refer to e-anything.

A lot of discussion for a product that hasn't gotten across the chasm, huh. :)

--Mike Buckley
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Mike,

I agree there appears to be low barrier to entry.

I also agree enough said pending significant developments.

Thanks for the discussion.

Chris
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