Montana VISITS with Siebel

Montana's Promotion Division, which publicizes the state's tourist attractions, has chosen Siebel Public Sector to provide a new system that it says is needed to keep it ahead of the fast growing industry that put $1.9 billion into state coffers in 2004.

The new system, known as VISITS (Visitor Information Systems in the Treasure State), could also push the division into being the guinea pig for a more seamless sharing of information among Montana agencies.

Siebel customer relationship management (CRM) applications will allow the Promotion Division to do much more cross-promotion across state government, even though the system is not tied in to other agencies currently, said Betsy Baumgart, promotion division administrator.

"We are pushing the bar in terms of the policies and others things needed to do this," she said.

The new system is needed because the promotion division needs to become more competitive and to get into additional niche marketing to maintain Montana's tourism growth, Baumgart said. It will help the division track the interests of tourists more closely, which will allow it to get better detailed and updated information to people that's more closely tied to those interests.

"We don't necessarily want to increase the number of tourists, but we would like to increase what they spend," Baumgart said.

The Montana system is an example of the way Siebel has found success through industry-specific versions of its core CRM applications, said Dan Israel, group manager for Siebel Public Sector.

However, he said, there's still a big educational component involved in marketing to government.

"We've got to get them out of mindset that they need to build everything themselves and that there's a much lower total cost of ownership in not starting everything from scratch, build features and then maintain the whole thing," he said.

VISITS are scheduled to begin on June 6, Baumgart said.

About the Author

Brian Robinson is a freelance writer based in Portland, Ore.

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