Blaze Software Inc is set to announce the first product to be launched under its new guise on October. The Mountain View, California-based company changed its name from Neuron Data to Blaze back in August, to reflect its new focus on web personalization software. As we reported back in January 1998 (CI No 3,337), Neuron […]
Blaze Software Inc is set to announce the first product to be launched under its new guise on October. The Mountain View, California-based company changed its name from Neuron Data to Blaze back in August, to reflect its new focus on web personalization software.
As we reported back in January 1998 (CI No 3,337), Neuron won new funding after converting its rules-based expert systems software over to Java, partly as a result of its January 1997 acquisition of Microline Software Inc, which give it the necessary expertise. Since then, the company has been quietly selling what it was then calling Elements Advisor, enabling developers to add, update and modify business rules and procedures to almost any application. Its greatest success has been in web personalization, and that business has grown from no revenue at the end of 1997 to $16m, with 133% sales growth over the last year, the company says.
Neuron Data started life in the 1980s as an artificial intelligence company, before moving on to Unix GUI technology, and then development tools in 1996. In mid-1998 it bought in new management headed by CEO Tom Kelly, previously chief operating officer at Cirrus Logic Corp. Its target now is the internet self-service market, estimated by the Meta Group to be reach $500bn by the year 2000. Blaze has already built up a set of corporate customers for its new product line, including Bank of America, Procter & Gamble and Fidelity Investments. Software companies embedding the technology include Calidus Software Inc and Active Software Inc.
The Blaze Advisor Solutions Suite consists of three layers, with the Rules Server, on sale for the last two years, at its base. Above that, the company is now adding templates, or starter-kits, for specific applications such as banking, merchandizing and brokerage. The top layer is for customization, typically carried out by Blaze’s own professional services operation or by partners. The idea is to intelligently guide users through a complex web process, such as applying for an online auto insurance quote. Blaze says that typically, nine out of ten web visitors abandon these processes before providing adequate information to deliver a quote. It claims its software can reduce that abandonment rate to four out of ten.
Typical scripting and layered application development alternatives are much harder to use than Advisor, says Blaze, while collaborative filtering and configuration tools don’t offer the depth of personalization. Blaze says it envisages partnering with companies in related areas, such as Vignette Corp.