Pay As You Go With Siebel

The point has been made over and over: Companies want an enterprise CRM suite, but the excessive costs and time to implement have been a formidable barrier to making the leap. Now Corio and Akibia Consulting say they can get companies up and running with Siebel Systems CRM suites in as few as four weeks. The new partnership has spawned a service called PhaseOne on Demand, which is essentially a utilitylike service for companies looking to quickly launch Siebel, according to John Ottman, executive vice president of worldwide markets at Corio. "Look at it as companies getting Siebel as a service," he says. "All you need to do is supply the customer data, and we'll do the rest." Perhaps the greatest appeal of the PhaseOne on Demand service is the fact that there are no upfront costs involved with the solution. Ottman says customers pay only a fixed monthly fee, which for the four-week implementation includes both the Akibia consultation services and the Corio maintenance service fee. After that companies pay only for Corio's service. Dennis Wall, sales manager at Akibia, says that the firm provides all the consulting services needed for a phase one CRM implementation, which is primarily getting the basic infrastructure up and running, and guarantees a four-week implementation. "Akibia does all the analysis, design, building, deployment, and training for the solution, and the hosting is done by Corio," he says. Wall adds that though Akibia is primarily involved in implementation, the firm will also be available for consultation when customers want to add additional modules. "There is no appetite in this market for the expensive, extended, traditional CRM implementation," Ottman says. "PhaseOne is designed to get companies up and running and seeing value from their CRM systems immediately. "Once it's turned on, you start paying, and once it's turned off, you stop," Ottman says. There is one caveat in the equation, however. Customers looking to use the PhaseOne on Demand solution still have to make the initial purchase of Siebel's suite at this time, according to Ottman. In addition, the company has not ruled out creating similar pay-as-you-go services for other enterprise suites, but has not made any specific plans to offer services for anything other that Siebel at this time. Sheryl Kingstone, CRM program manager at the Yankee Group, says that the savings may not be all that much greater than a traditional implementation, just not all up front. And she says that Corio may be attempting to do too much with what amounts to a hosted version of Siebel. "I doubt they can execute that way," she says. "They are trying to compete with a Salesforce.com, but it will be difficult to offer it profitably since the architecture is not multitenant. Thumbs up on vision, it is an idea that is definitely needed, but thumbs down on execution."
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