Siebel Rules the Magic Quadrant for SFA

Siebel Systems has retained its lonely leadership position due to its extensive functionality, according to Gartner's Magic Quadrant for Sales Force Automation, though Salesforce.com is also showing significant success. The report adds that visionary SAP is "undergoing a reassessment of approaches to selling to sales buying centers."

Gartner evaluates SFA vendors based on products and services, overall viability (business, finances, and organization), sales execution and pricing, market responsiveness and track record, marketing execution, customer experience and operations. Industry leaders demonstrate market strength, broad install bases using their applications and the ability to affect market trends in all of the categories of criteria on which they are evaluated. Only Siebel Systems fits the mold this time.

Siebel and SAP rank highest in completeness of vision, according to the report. Gartner defines visionaries as those companies that have the best combination of market understanding, marketing strategy, sales strategy, product strategy, business model, vertical/industry strategy, innovation and geographic strategy. SAP is the only occupant of the visionary corner in the report.

Challengers like Salesforce.com "demonstrate a clear understanding of opportunity management," Desisto says. "However, they have not demonstrated a clear understanding of the complete sales force automation functionality."

Report author Robert Desisto ranks most other sales force automation vendors as niche players who have products "with some ability to execute," but fall short of being visionaries. Among these vendors are Microsoft, NetSuite, Oracle, Pivotal, Sage CRM SalesLogix and Salesnet.

Other companies that had been part of earlier Magic Quadrant reports were not included in the most recent version. A private equity firm acquired Onyx, while Infor acquired SSA Global (E.piphany), so the future direction and status of these vendors is questionable.

Desisto sees Pivotal as a likely acquisition target within the next 18 months, continuing the trend toward consolidation in the market--a trend that included not only Onyx and SSA Global, but also Siebel Systems and PeopleSoft, which were both Oracle acquisitions.

Possibly the biggest sales force automation trend in the last year, according to Desisto, is the continued growth of software as a service as large and small companies alike move to on-demand rather than installed models of sales automation and other applications.

Companies should look at the ratings as a snapshot of vendors' vision and execution at midyear, Desisto says. "Use the Magic Quadrant as a reference for evaluations, but explore further to qualify the capacity of each vendor to satisfy unique business problems and technical concerns."

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Siebel Leads the FSM Quadrant Again

A Praxical Move for SAP

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