Siebel: Great Plans for Great Plains

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Siebel: Great Plans for Great Plains
L. Talarico - October 3, 2000


This is the first of three articles about Great Plains resulting from TEC analysts attending the Great Plains partners' meeting, Stampede 2000, in September. The meeting provided the opportunity for in-depth research on how Siebel and Great Plains operate. The TEC analysts were able to interview both Great Plains managers and partners.

Event Summary

Siebel Systems, Incorporated, recently announced plans to allow Great Plains VARs to sell Siebel's eBusiness Applications. Great Plains currently sells a co-branded version of the Siebel MidMarket Edition 2000 named Great Plains Siebel Front Office exclusively through VARs. The partnership will allow Great Plains VARs to offer front office enterprise applications to upper-midmarket organizations (annual revenue $250M-$500M) that require functionality beyond what Great Plains Siebel Front Office provides.

Paramount to the success of this partnership is acceptance from the approximately 500 Great Plains VARs that currently sell Great Plains Siebel Front Office. With no direct sales force Great Plains relies heavily on independent resellers to learn the products, generate leads, and close deals.

Market Impact

During the recent Stampede event, (Great Plains' annual channel partner conference) a Great Plains representative stated 7 out of 10 VARs felt positively about Great Plains addition of the Great Plains Siebel Front Office to the product line. This is a good indication that Siebel eBusiness Applications will be well received by channel partners.

This partnership adds a unique alternative in the CRM market. The bulk of vendors offering a wide range of CRM applications generally fall into two categories: ERP vendors that offer CRM modules and pure play CRM vendors. ERP vendors such as Oracle and SAP have strengths in integrating CRM modules with the back end, but lack the functionality of full enterprise CRM suites such as those offered by Siebel, Onyx, or Broadbase. The Siebel - Great Plains partnership provides an environment within Great Plains and the VARs to develop tight integration with back end systems while providing the functionality of an enterprise wide CRM suite. In 9 to 12 months time, when integration efforts are commercially available, ERP and CRM vendors competing in the mid- and upper-midmarket may face stiff competition from solutions available from Great Plains VARs.

User Recommendations

Upper-midmarket organizations using Great Plains back office applications that have a CRM initiative should react positively to this news. Although neither organization announced formal plans to integrate Great Plains back office applications with Siebel eBusiness Applications, TEC estimates with 80% probability that both Great Plains and the VARs will focus a significant amount of research and development dollars towards linking Great Plains back office applications with Siebel's front office applications.

Upper-midmarket organizations using Great Plains in the back office may consider taking a wait and see stance with their CRM initiative to determine if purchasing Siebel's eBusiness Applications through a Great Plains VAR will have more value that purchasing CRM applications (Siebel or other) through different channels. Include these factors when considering a wait and see stance with your CRM initiative:

  • The urgency of the CRM initiative

  • The organization's internal IT resource availability to integrate front office applications with existing back office applications

  • The level of integration required between the existing back office and the new front office applications

For more information on Great Plains see the following articles:

Great Plains ASP - Evolution, Revolution, Innovation

Great Plains - An SME Leader, But At What Cost?

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