• June 15, 2005
  • By Colin Beasty, (former) Associate Editor, CRM Magazine

OnDemand 8: Siebel's Sophisticated Save?

Siebel Systems today released CRM OnDemand 8, the latest version of the company's on-demand product, which introduces new features to enable segmentation for targeted marketing programs and streamline team collaboration. The upgrade is available now.

The biggest enhancement is the addition of the new Marketing Segmentation Wizard, the first time Siebel has offered marketing functionality in its core, hosted product. By using the contact networking functionality, marketers can segment and customize campaign messages to create targeted marketing campaigns. Other improvements include group calendaring and delegated task management to coordinate schedules, workloads, and align resources; enhancements to collaboration to share accounts, contacts, and opportunities among team members; and contact networking to track business and social relationships between contacts to reveal new revenue opportunities.

"Segmentation wizard [arms marketers] with the ability to slice and dice customers every which way and then follow up with a marketing campaign," says Keith Raffel, vice president of OnDemand and SMB Products for Siebel Systems. "They can work with external databases like Dun and Bradstreet, and mold that with Siebel." Additionally, as marketers' campaigns are deployed, marketing managers can cross-reference their results against analytics and business intelligence tools to monitor and react to the sales performance on opportunities generated.

Liz Herbert, an industry analyst with Forrester Research, says the added marketing functionality puts Siebel OnDemand into an advantageous position over its industry brethren. "A lot of the hosted CRM solutions don't really contain full CRM--sales, service, and marketing," she says. "Siebel started out with just SFA, then added customer service and call center functionality following the acquisition of Ineto. Now they have some sophisticated marketing functionality as well."

Herbert also says that the segmentation wizard "will help Siebel win more deals. One of the big gaps in Salesforce.com is they don't offer marketing automation within their product. They even have a limit on the number of emails that can be sent out per day, and it's fairly low. They simply don't have the sophisticated tools for segmentation which we're now seeing from Siebel."

Raffel distinguishes the two companies even further. "We try to build solutions for our customers. Our biggest competitor says, 'Here, come build it yourself,'" he says. "We put in what you want and give you the ability to hem it, as opposed to Salesforce.com who gives you the fabric to build the suit."

The addition of marketing functionality has left industry pundits feeling that Siebel is dedicated to its on-demand product line. "Siebel CRM OnDemand is evolving at a rapid pace," says Mary Wardley, vice president of CRM software research at IDC. "The new feature included in Release 8 underscores Siebel's commitment to the hosted software market."

Additional reporting by Alexandra DeFelice

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