Accrue Software Inc. has begun shipping an enhanced version of its analytical software that helps corporations analyze the effectiveness of their Web sites.

By identifying the most profitable visitors to Web sites, tracking the visitors' behavior, what they are looking for, and why and when they depart, the Sunnyvale, Calif., company aims to help its customers achieve a return on their Internet investments.

The company is specifically targeting transaction-oriented financial services companies with complex, high-volume installations.

"With high-volume traffic sites, doing log file analysis just doesn't make sense," said Todd Haedrich, technology analyst at Jupiter Communications in New York.

He pointed out that there are three ways to monitor traffic: the traditional log file analysis tools; wireline analysis in real time, a field in which Accrue predominates; and transaction analysis.

"Log file analysis is great for low-traffic sites, but you need to look at AndroMedia (in transaction analysis) or Accrue for high traffic," said Mr. Haedrich.

Accrue takes information from the network in real time as it goes between the server and desktop.

It loads the data and stores them in a data warehouse for access via Web browser.

Version 1.0 of the flagship product, Accrue Insight, was released in December 1996. Version 1.1 followed in May 1997 and 2.0 came this month.

This version introduces data encryption. It can sort information by user and by sites, so companies can track users throughout their movements, seeing what advertisements they view and if these bring value.

Pricing of the new version starts at $10,000. The enterprise configuration costs from $60,000 to $100,000. Consulting services are additional.

Accrue was spun off in February 1996 from Organic Online and has raised $6 million in financing.

Accrue customers include T. Rowe Price, Apple Computer, Lam Research Corp., Rational Software Corp., Synopsys Inc., Silicon Graphics Inc., ABC Interactive, and Qualcomm. Four companies that tested version 2.0 were Sun Microsystems Inc., San Jose Mercury News, Motorola, and Kodak.

"Our focus is to help (major global companies) manage their business more effectively," said Simon Roy, president and chief executive officer of Accrue Software.

He said the product is well-suited for financial services on the Web, letting institutions "acquire new customers and use the information to cross-sell products," he said.

"It's a quick, easy path to research," said Vito Salvaggio, Accrue's director of product marketing, since the software can capture user registration at the site and combine it with demographic information in the data warehouse.

"There definitely exists a need for analysis and traffic-monitoring tools," said Jupiter's Mr. Haedrich. "The challenge is to take the robust data warehouse and the wireline monitoring software and come up with user- friendly ways to look at the data."

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