Gartner recently released its Magic Quadrant report covering CRM customer service and support (CSS) suite vendors. Siebel stands alone in the leader quadrant, while E.piphany and PeopleSoft are the two closest competitors in the visionary quadrant.
"Siebel sells and deploys more seats of customer service software than all competitors in the large-enterprise market combined," Michael Maoz, a research analyst with Gartner, writes in the report. "Its clear strengths are in operational customer service contact center, including the recent addition of e-learning and agent performance, as well as in improvements to field service management."
One of Siebel's main challenges, Maoz writes, is the high cost and complexity of the basic software package. The final point makes the offering less suited to smaller enterprises. But Siebel's hosted CRM OnDemand service, Maoz suggests, may alleviate that problem somewhat.
The two visionaries, PeopleSoft and E.piphany, are the two vendors with the most complete product vision compared to Siebel. PeopleSoft has been seeing a lot of interest in its latest CSS software, while E.piphany is a clear leader in CSS among B2C companies.
Amdoc's Clarify CRM suite is the only software in the challenger position. According to Maoz, Amdocs offers the best CSS solutions for the telecommunications and high-technology manufacturing industries: "However, alternative product sets, such as those from Siebel Systems and PeopleSoft, coupled with some buyers wishing to avoid having the same supplier for billing and customer service, caused Amdocs not to be chosen in several vendor selections in 2003."
Niche players in the CRM CSS space see most of their implementations in one vertical or company type. Included in this year's quadrant were SAP AG, Oracle, Chordiant Software, and Onyx Software.
One important takeaway from the analysis of the CSS market, Maoz writes, is that through 2005 70 percent of large enterprises will use a minimum of three vendors to create an enterprise CSS environment, whereas 80 percent of small and midsize businesses will prefer suites or single-vendor solutions: "Our informal surveys of buyers show that the push to improve the productivity of customer service agents, along with the focus on lowering interaction costs, will continue to make customer service and support investments the top priority of IS organizations during the next 36 months."