In an effort to beef up its analytic functionality, Siebel Systems Inc. announced plans to buy nQuire Software Inc., a privately held company that makes business analytics software.

Historically, Siebel has been strongest on the operational side of customer relationship management (CRM), such as salesforce automation. The company has relied on partnerships and purchases to strengthen its analytics features. From nQuire, Siebel gains an analytic engine that supports self-service searches and event notification, with an emphasis on wireless and voice delivery.

Siebel said it will integrate and ship nQuire’s analytic server and Web products with Siebel 7, its 200-module suite of CRM applications. Siebel 7 was unveiled last week at the annual Siebel Worldwide User Week conference in Chicago, where the nQuire acquisition also was announced.

NQuire’s software consists of several pieces. The company provides self-service Web search capabilities through its nQuire Answers component. The software supports natural language processing, which means users can query unstructured data using everyday language. It also has a voice interface option. Like competing Web self-service products from Ask Jeeves Inc. and eGain Communications Corp., nQuire is designed to learn from questions users pose and tailor its data retrieval habits in response.

NQuire Server is the suite’s analytic engine. It can access data from distributed sources – including relational databases, data warehouses, enterprise resource planning systems and external files – without requiring data to be moved to a centralized repository.

The company’s nQuire Delivers component monitors and alerts users to changing business conditions, such as low inventory or price fluctuations. With nQuire Delivers, proprietary software agents, called iBots, can be set to identify significant events and notify appropriate people via Web, wireless, voice or mobile devices.

Siebel did not reveal a timeline for integrating the nQuire products into its suite. Financial details of the acquisition were not disclosed.