Siebel Joins the Hosted Ranks
Siebel Systems and IBM have announced that the companies have partnered to offer a hosted version of Siebel's CRM functionality called Siebel CRM OnDemand.
Siebel Systems and IBM say the hosted solution will allow companies to manage contacts, sales opportunities, products, prices, competitors, events, marketing campaigns, and customer service requests, all for a cost of $70 per month, per user.
"The key issues we've been seeing around CRM over the past couple years are: How can companies get into it more simply? And how can companies leverage the assets of a product like Siebel more rapidly?" said Adam Klaber, partner, global and Americas CRM Leader, IBM Business Consulting Services, in a company conference call this morning.
Siebel makes the announcement almost exactly a year after CEO Tom Siebel told CRM
magazine, "I don't think it is a viable business model," referring to ASPs. However, David Schmaier, executive vice president at Siebel, added during the conference call that Siebel CRM OnDemand integrates with on premises CRM solutions, so the two can be used in tandem. "People want flexibility and choice, and we have given it to them," he said.
Klaber noted in the call that companies are not locked into either a hosted or licensed CRM solution if they choose Siebel CRM OnDemand. "This allows companies to evolve as their business evolves," he explained.
The hosted version includes analytics capabilities, which, according to Schmaier, aids companies in making better business decisions. The offering includes prebuilt analytic reports and several customized interactive dashboards to make for quick deployment.
Using all of the solution's functions requires little or no training, Schmaier said. "If you can use Amazon.com, you can use Siebel CRM OnDemand," he said.
Sheryl Kingstone, CRM program manager at the Yankee Group, says that Siebel is headed in the right direction with this initial hosted version. "The product has all the right pieces and components, and was written from the ground up," she says. "They are sinking dollars into comarketing it. I would like to see email integration from Microsoft Outlook and Lotus Notes, along with a better use of marketing materials and tracking. But all in all, it's not a bad first cut."
The companies say that in the future the two will develop additional on-demand solutions and other software bundles tailored to specific vertical industries, but they did not announce any time frame for those projects.