Siebel Enters Smaller Markets in a Big Way

  • Written By: L. Talarico
  • Published: August 21 2000

Siebel Enters Smaller Markets in a Big Way
L. Talarico - August 21, 2000

Event Summary

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.

Siebel's 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:

  • Customer 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.

  • Employee 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.

  • Partner 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.

Siebel's 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.

Market Impact

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.

Siebel's 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.

User Recommendations

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.

There 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.

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