Siebel Enters Smaller Markets in a Big Way
Siebel Systems, Inc. develops eBusiness Customer Relationship Management
(eCRM) software primarily for companies with over $250 million in sales.
Siebel recently released eBusiness 2000 MidMarket Edition, a suite of
CRM applications geared for small to mid-size companies. This suite is
Siebel's first attempt to compete in the mid-market.
MidMarket Edition offers these businesses a set of applications to manage
relationships with customers, resellers, and partners. The suite is made
up of three integrated groups of applications, Customer Applications,
Employee Applications, and Partner Applications:
Applications intend to improve customer satisfaction and employee productivity.
These applications provide web-based CRM functionality such as dynamic
catalog management and a personalization engine for one-to-one web interaction.
These applications also provide e-mail and web-based customer service.
Customers can submit service requests via e-mail and check the status
on their personalized web page. Service representatives can categorize
and respond to service requests by e-mail within the application.
Applications provide campaign management tools, a product configurator,
service request tracking tools, and a quote generator. These tools can
be used by marketers and managers without the assistance of IT professionals.
There is also a Territory Management application that can support a
direct sales force by routing all sales leads and other relevant information
to the appropriate salesperson by geographical or other criteria.
Applications provide channel partners with sales and service information
to bring customer data under one view across multiple organizations.
This is accomplished in part through the use of personalized web pages
for partners to route and track sales leads to the proper organization.
eBusiness MidMarket Edition and enterprise-level applications are available
directly from Siebel as well as from over 20 resellers. Resellers include
Great Plains, JD Edwards, and Lawson in addition to ASP resellers Corio,
USInternetworking, and Applicast.
Siebel's MidMarket Edition is one of a few integrated suites available
to the mid-market as licensed software. Other mid-market suites include
Onyx's FrontOffice 2000, Quintus' eContact Suite, and Allaire's Insight
5. MidMarket Edition has the broadest range of applications, as none of
the competing suites offer call center support, multi-channel campaign
management, and partner relationship management in one suite. Furthermore,
Siebel promises an easy upgrade to its enterprise-level applications.
That is an advantage over Onyx, Quintus, and Allaire. Competition in the
mid-market also comes from other top-tier CRM vendors utilizing an ASP
model. One of the advantages of the ASP model is that it brings business
applications to the mid-market that were once only affordable to large
corporations. Siebel may bring some confusion to mid-market customers
now that somewhat redundant offerings exist for these firms.
brand awareness and considerable experience serving large corporations
will bring intense competition to vendors such as Onyx, Quintus, and Allaire.
Moreover, Siebel has well-developed distribution channels that are unmatched
by other CRM vendors. These facts suggest that Siebel will be a market
leader in the mid-market within the next six to nine months.
Mid-market firms considering the implementation of a full CRM suite should
certainly consider the eBusiness 2000 MidMarket Edition. From a functionality
perspective this suite offers the broadest range of integrated applications
on the market. Siebel has a large customer base, well-developed distribution
channels, a valuation twice that of its close competitors (over $30 billion),
and is one of the few CRM vendors with positive earnings. These factors
indicate that Siebel will have a lasting, predatory presence in the CRM
market. This is good news for customers because it reduces the chance
that they will purchase a product that is abandoned by the vendor during
its useful life.
are two caveats to consider when evaluating this product. The first is
that although this suite was developed from existing Siebel products,
it is a first version release. This means there are inevitable bug fixes
to be made over the next few months. The second is that Siebel offers
its full version products through ASPs. Thus, firms can obtain the specific
modules they want on a monthly basis instead of purchasing full suite
licenses. Therefore firms considering the purchase of a CRM suite should
also perform careful ROI analysis to find out what type of software delivery
better suits their needs.