Siebel Rolls Out CRM Flavors

Siebel Systems has begun rolling out industry-specific flavors of its market leading Siebel 7 suite of CRM applications. Today, the San Mateo, California-based software developer announced eMedical 7 for the medical products industry and eConsumer Goods 7 for consumer goods companies. In December, Siebel unveiled a strategy for tailoring the vanilla version of its flagship Siebel 7 to up to 20 vertical markets. Industry watchers heralded the move, claiming that some industries and CRM applications should be closely aligned, due to an industry's specific customer and market conditions. And so far, Seibel is following up on its plan. eMedical 7, in particular, tackles a bevy of medical products-related issues. "Medical products companies must deal with regulatory controls, distributor partnerships, complex affiliations with hospitals and physicians and group purchasing organizations," says David Salazar, general manager of Siebel Medical, and an 18-year veteran of the medical products trade, which included a stint as an executive at Baxter Healthcare. "One large medical company had 30 people handling pricing and adjudication -- and we address these concerns." All tallied, Siebel dedicated 30 employees of its own, and spent six months to develop eMedical 7, which leverages around 80 percent of the functionality found in Siebel 7. Salazar estimates the medical-products CRM licensing opportunity to be around $400 million over the next three years, "and our goal is to capture 50 percent of this," he says. To date, eMedical 7 has signed two customers, including Abbott Diagnostics, a division of Abbott Laboratories. "Siebel eMedical 7's industry-specific functionality will help decrease our implementation costs and accelerate our time to return on investment," said Paul Epner, director of customer support centers at Abbott Diagnostics, in a statement. Kelly Span, senior analyst at Current Analysis, says Siebel's ability to offer either an industry-specific version or generic version of Siebel 7 is compelling. But she's also quick to point out that not all industries need a tailored CRM version, which means Siebel risks spreading itself thin, in terms of development resources. "There are some clear markets where verticals make sense, such as telecommunications and finance, but Siebel must evaluate what's flying and what's not," Span says. "Siebel has a complex product lineup of 128 applications and many verticals, and at some point they'll hit a wall logistically when managing all of this." Span says Siebel is already having problems managing the rollout, and thus is causing some confusion in the market. "It hasn't been clear what is coming out or what is available now, and this has given competitors an opportunity to really question what's actually being delivered," she says. While eMedical 7 was announced today, the product has been available since the beginning of the new year. Tom Kaneshige also writes for
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