Leading vendors SAP, Oracle, and Amdocs also are focusing more on integration and verticals.
Posted Jul 19, 2005
Siebel Systems continues to top the stack of leading enterprise CRM suite vendors, according to the latest Forrester Wave, with SAP, Oracle, and Amdocs making heavy strides in the field. The report, which evaluates the strengths and weaknesses of the four companies across 177 criteria, is meant to help enterprises choose the best vendor for their business. "Siebel offers very strong functionality across all major components of CRM. It continues to offer a clear and compelling vision for CRM, highlighting the importance of the integration of strategy, data, people, process, and technology necessary to improve the end customer experience and drive results," the report states. "The company's strategy to offer deeply customized industry-specific solutions for all major industry sectors, supported by a deep partner ecosystem support the promise that it will continue to delver leading-edge CRM capabilities."
Siebel should not, however, be complacent: SAP gains ground in an attempt to overtake the leader with its mySAP CRM product, according to the report. "SAP has been very successful at selling into their install base and pitching the prefit integration," says John Ragsdale, vice president and research director at Forrester. The company has won some head-to-head battles for CRM deals, including one with EarthLink in March.
Additionally, SAP has filled out is product suite to offer significantly improved CRM functionality that integrates easily with its own back-office solutions, particularly important in vertical industries like manufacturing and retail, according to Ragsdale. The report also mentions that mySAP CRM license costs are comparable to other vendors, but maintenance charges are somewhat lower, and that ease of configuration and customization is adequate for end-users' needs.
Oracle's acquisition of PeopleSoft has provided the company with CRM capabilities it was lacking in the past, according to Ragsdale. "Oracle has had a couple of runs of CRM attempts going back a few years. PeopleSoft gave them some credibility that they understand CRM and have some vision for CRM," he says. However, the report warns, areas of relative weakness include marketing and analytics. "Oracle's vision for the CRM market is focused on the integration of the functionality of PeopleSoft into its future Fusion offering, and providing technology efficiencies to Oracle's customers," the report says. "The success of this strategy remains to be seen, and Oracle's market strategy for CRM is in a state of flux."
Integration is what allows Amdocs to ride with the other three vendors on the Forrester Wave, especially in the telecommunications field. Amdocs' strategy recognizes the importance of improving the customer experience by aligning end-to-end processes beyond service, sales, and marketing to include billing and ordering, the report says. Although it is less robust than other vendors in marketing, field service, channel management, and analytics, it is partnering with SAS to fill the gaps. "It's such a different company because they focus on a service module, not licensed software," Ragsdale says. "If you talk to phone companies, their call center reps have to navigate five or more systems to talk to a customer. Having those imbedded products just makes sense."
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