Siebel Claims Broad Mobile Footprint
Siebel boasts that its mobile footprint and feature set is the biggest in the industry, thank you very much. The San Mateo, Calif.-based CRM software vendor is responding to charges from AMR Research that Siebel 7 might not be adequate in some mobile environments.
In a March report on Siebel's flagship Siebel 7 CRM suite, AMR concluded: "Mobile users on laptops can't take advantage of the cost savings of a Web-architected product because they have to have code on the client in order to work in a disconnected mode. Furthermore, Seibel Handheld 7 for Windows-Powered Devices does not support iPaqs or Pocket PCs in the current version, so companies using Siebel in a primarily mobile environment (sales and field service) are more likely to wait until version 7.5."
It's true about iPaqs, concedes Jeff Scheel, vice president and general manager of Siebel sales products. The Compaq handheld devices are not supported currently but will be supported by Siebel 7.5, which is slated for release this summer. "What we are trying to do is paint a picture that there's certainly more to the suite than whether or not you support iPaqs," Scheel says.
To be fair, Siebel's mobile features in the current version are being used by some blue-chip companies, such as Unisys and Worldcom, and also by insurance customers like CIS. "We're the only vendor that's supplied 12 references, each having 500 or more users remotely synchronizing their data, from sales and field service personnel to agents and brokers," Scheel says, adding, "This is a huge differentiation for us as a company."
Industries requiring a mobile CRM solution include pharmaceuticals, consumer goods, and many service providers. The challenge in serving them, says Scheel, is that mobile devices range from laptops to certain handheld devices such as those from Palm to browser-enabled phones and even mobile bar-code scanners.
"We provide a native Siebel user interface on those devices that leverage the Siebel synchronization architecture," says Scheel. "We also support a combination of native applications running on devices, as well as the ability to access information over a wireless browser or through a voice interface."
Tom Kaneshige also writes for Line56.com