Siebel Taps Overseas Wireless Market

CRM giant Siebel Systems has set its sights on the international wireless carrier market, touting customer wins in Japan and Italy. Not only is the market a sleeping giant, of sorts, but Siebel believes it can ride its existing customer base in other industries to convince wireless carriers to buy its software. For starters, Siebel announced that NTT DoCoMo Kansai, one of three major wireless carriers in Japan, has begun using Siebel eBusiness Applications within its corporate sales business. Also, TIM, a mobile communications operator in Italy and Siebel customer, won a CRM excellence award from market researcher Gartner Group. Telecommunications in general represents one of the largest contributors of revenue at Siebel, says Gary Geiger, director of mobile carrier business at Siebel, whose group introduced Siebel eCommunications 7 for mobile carriers earlier this year. Indeed, telecommunications companies are some of the biggest CRM adopters, reports Fujitsu Consulting. And then there's the overseas opportunity. Japan, Western Europe, Nordic regions and even South Africa are fertile grounds for a high penetration of wireless users, and thus Siebel is targeting those markets. In particular, the CRM market in Japan is expected to reach $6.8 billion in 2006, up from $2.9 billion in 2002, according to IDC. Not only does Japan have a high penetration of wireless users, three major carries vie for market share, making it an ideal market for Siebel. "We look for mobile usage and an evolution of more than a monopoly solution, since the latter doesn't warrant a need to enhance the customer experience," Geiger says. "We also look for countries that are investing in 2.5 and 3G." 3G wireless service is next generation technology, and a bevy of new services are expected to ride on its coattails. All of this makes for a potentially huge and competitive market for Siebel to peddle its wares, which promise to improve customer service and reduce churn. Of course, other CRM vendors haven't missed the signs, either. Kana Software, makers of call center software, claims it's making inroads into the market, which includes picking up Verizon Wireless as a customer of its iCARE suite. When it comes to competition, Siebel's Geiger claims his company has a tremendous advantage in the wireless carrier market. Siebel offers tailored solutions to 20 vertical markets, and in so doing has hooks into a wealth of data -- data that eventually may fly over a wireless carrier's network. To this end, "Mobile carriers want to work with us anyway to extend the data across their networks," Geiger says. "We're looking at a total ecosystem model." Tom Kaneshige also writes for
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