The enterprise suite CRM market is at a critical point in its evolution.
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The enterprise suite CRM market is at a critical point in its evolution. For starters, enterprise vendors continue to face increasing competition from players in the SMB and midmarket arenas looking to move upstream. For the second consecutive year Salesforce.com landed on our leader list, and, although Microsoft and RightNow Technologies did not, both are picking up steam in the enterprise market with analysts and customers alike. Oracle hasn't yet finished assimilating its acquisitions of PeopleSoft and Siebel Systems, so we're evaluating all three independently.
Enterprise Suite CRM: The Chart
One to Watch
Oracle's homegrown functionality often takes a backseat to its acquired Siebel and PeopleSoft imprints. But Oracle drew attention to its Oracle E-Business Suite (EBS) by unveiling Release 12. "With this year's release of 12.0, Oracle continued to follow a general CRM industry trend toward better usability," Bois says. "However, Oracle ERP customers that haven't invested in CRM face a difficult decision in whether to stick with EBS, look at the company's flagship Siebel CRM offering, or do something short term--perhaps via [software-as-a-service]--while waiting for the eventual Fusion CRM application a few years down the road."
Amdocs continues to widen its footprint by penetrating further into verticals such as high-tech and financial services while maintaining its focus on its core market, the telecom services crowd. The company made notable functionality strides with Amdocs 7, a suite targeting service providers that is designed to support video, voice, and data. While the company lags in marketing, partner channel management, analytics, and e-commerce, it does partner with SAS to fill these gaps, according to Bill Band, a principal analyst at Forrester Research (and, incidentally, one of our Influential Leaders this year). "The company has a large professional services organization to customize the solution for complex customer environments," he adds.
Oracle's PeopleSoft once again secured its position as a leader within the enterprise suite CRM competitive landscape, thanks largely to respectable scores for customer satisfaction (3.8) and functionality (3.6). Oracle in January unveiled PeopleSoft Enterprise Human Capital Management 9.0, the latest product to be delivered as part of the PeopleSoft Enterprise Release 9.0 suite. "Oracle's Fusion path--along with future PeopleSoft product releases--will give customers the flexibility to leverage their existing investments while taking advantage of innovation," says Rebecca Wettemann, vice president of research at Nucleus Research. But as a result of what some analysts describe as the ambiguity of PeopleSoft's place in Oracle's CRM Fusion initiative, PeopleSoft scored a mere 2.8 for company direction.
Salesforce.com, with its steadily improving ability to sidle up to the higher spectrum of the market, outpaced its enterprise competitors for the second consecutive year with category-leading marks for company direction (improving from 4.1 to 4.3) and customer satisfaction (from 4.3 to 4.4). "The company has built a very serviceable platform that insulates users and developers from most of the uncertainties of software ownership," says Denis Pombriant, managing principal of Beagle Research. "It has done this while cleverly enlisting a global developer team to innovate new products without cost, or [at] very little cost, to Salesforce.com." That lack of built-in capability may explain why the company's functionality mark in our findings continues to be notably thin. That score--unchanged from last year's 3.2, the lowest among the leaders--is perhaps a reflection of what some analysts classify as very impressive SFA capabilities, but somewhat undersized functionality in other CRM areas.
SAP, a perennial player on our enterprise leaderboard, was lauded by some analysts for its robust technology. But the German giant saw its company direction score drop nearly a full point from 3.4 to 2.6 (at least partially a result of the March departure of Shai Agassi, president of the firm's product and technology group) and its customer satisfaction count fall from 2.9 to 2.4. With those two scores ranking lowest among the leaders, SAP fell short of reaching the category's top spot. "While SAP still ranks at or near the top in terms of depth of functionality and ranks number one in CRM revenue, AMR Research still doesn't see the rate of deployments matching the rate of sales," says Rob Bois, a research director at AMR Research.
Oracle-owned Siebel Systems lands in the enterprise winner's circle for the second consecutive year, after getting briefly dethroned by Amdocs in 2005. One analyst says that the "merger has caused distractions in terms of focus," but Siebel mauled its rivals in terms of functionality with a near-perfect 4.9. Its biggest product splash, Siebel CRM Release 8, certified with Oracle's Fusion Middleware, features a shored-up task-based user interface and a drag-and-drop environment that requires no coding. "Recent initiatives to integrate Siebel back to [Oracle E-Business Suite] are proving positive as processes are being integrated at the services level within Fusion Middleware," says Ray Wang, a principal analyst at Forrester Research.
The Rock: Bill McDermott -- president and chief executive officer, SAP Americas & Asia Pacific Japan.
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