Siebel Has Done It Again - This Time with Navision

Siebel Has Done It Again - This Time with Navision
P.J. Jakovljevic - July 25, 2000

Event Summary

According to the press release on both companies' web sites, Navision Software a/s, a Danish provider of enterprise business solutions for mid-sized companies, and Siebel Systems Inc., the leading supplier of CRM software, announced on June 21 a worldwide agreement to deliver "customer-focused eBusiness solutions to meet the needs of mid-sized companies".

Navision Software will market, sell and implement Siebel MidMarket Edition, which includes Siebel Sales, Siebel Service, Siebel Call Center and Siebel .COM applications. Under the agreement, Navision Software and Siebel Systems will work jointly to integrate these applications with Navision Software's products for financial management, manufacturing, distribution and e-commerce. Siebel MidMarket Edition will be sold through Navision Software's growing network of close to 1000 Navision Solution Centers (NSCs) worldwide.

"Navision Software is excited to provide the opportunity to further enhance both our companies applications with a fully integrated, customer-focused eBusiness solution," says Jesper Balser, President and CEO, Navision Software a/s. "Our customers around the world continue to crave customer-focused systems that integrate with their current enterprise-wide systems. With this partnership, we are pleased to meet this need instantly."

The Siebel eBusiness Applications/Navision Solution will be available to customers and prospects through Navision Software and will be sold only as a fully integrated Siebel eBusiness Applications/Navision Solution. The first joint partners and customers have already been identified and implementation of pilot installations will begin at the end of August 2000. General Availability of the integrated Siebel eBusiness Application/Navision Solution is expected this fall.

"We have very high expectations for the mid-market," says Brian Sweeney, Vice President of Global Channels at Siebel Systems. "We are seeing rapidly growing demand from this sector, and we consider Navision Software as a major partner in satisfying the needs of mid-market customers worldwide."

"Customer-focused eBusiness solutions create strategic competitive advantages for mid-market companies," said Ole Wamsler, Managing Director of Merkantildata Applications, a major Scandinavian Navision Solution Center. "Even before the relationship between Siebel Systems and Navision Software was finalized, Merkantildata was marketing and developing these applications for our customers. The timing of the Siebel Systems/Navision Software relationship is perfect. The products from Siebel Systems and Navision Software are absolutely the best available. It's reassuring that Navision Software will be taking advantage of this opportunity on a global basis."

Market Impact

The partnership between Siebel and Navision should be mutually beneficial, as both have exciting products and a mind share in their respective strongholds. This alliance will expand both companies' reach in the mid-market. Siebel will gain access to Navision's large customer base within the lower end of the market and in geographic areas where it has not established a strong penetration like its competitors SalesLogix and Pivotal. Navision Software has established strong branding and penetration within the Small-to-Medium Enterprises (SME) segment of the European and recently the U.S. ERP market, with a well-developed partner channel within the industry.

Navision, on the other hand, is betting on the notion that one cannot go wrong in selling Siebel's products. Siebel MidMarket Edition provides Navision Software customers with a tool with which to create a value from all their customer relationships through a variety of marketing channels. This agreement marks Navision's departure from traditionally developing its entire solution in-house. This idea of 'one-stop shop' is important to SMEs, as many of them do not have the in-house resources necessary to cope with integrating and managing multiple components from different vendors. Therefore, Navision will have to make sure that it provides a seamlessly integrated Siebel product.

That leads to the 'Catch 22' - one should never expect a flawless and quick integration effort; Great Plains' and J.D. Edwards' painstaking efforts to integrate Siebel products and/or to train their service & support staff are perfect examples. One issue will also be the user interface mix of a future product suite - the 'same look-and-feel', as well as the support for 23 localized, country-specific Navision product versions. Another thing to bear in mind is the fact that Navision has long depended on its proprietary development (the Navision Server database and 4GL). While it has recently released a MS SQL Server version of the product, it is likely to exhibit problems related to its product immaturity.

Additionally, Navision does not exhibit much of a vertical focus. Its distributors (NSCs) offer vertical solutions on an opportunity-by-opportunity basis only, which we consider insufficient in the light of the latest market trends. Integration of the Siebel product will certainly emphasize the need to resolve the above-mentioned challenges.

On a somewhat different note, it will be interesting to watch how long Siebel can continue to partner unimpeded with a wealth of respectable market players, many of whom are direct competitors like Great Plains and Navision Software. The plot thickens, since Solomon Software, now a division of Great Plains, on the other hand, has a partnership with Siebel's competitor SalesLogix. Is the applications software market turning into a kind of a soap opera scene?

User Recommendations

Navision customers should certainly consider the new offering, but avoid selecting it without looking at what the other vendors have to offer. We recommend identifying your unique needs and comparison shopping, at least for the negotiation leverage sake.

As for potential customers, we generally recommend including Navision Software in a long list enterprise application selection for lower-end mid-market companies (with $5M-$250M in revenue) and divisions of larger enterprises, that have a limited IT budget and smaller community of users (less than 75), and have significant financial accounting, distribution, and discrete manufacturing requirements.

Global, centrally managed organizations that need a single-code product for all their international business units, enterprises in service-related industries, and companies looking for a broader functionality and a particular industry focus from a single vendor may benefit from evaluating other products at this stage.

As for the new added functionality through partnerships, users are advised to ask for firm assurances on the availability and future upgrades timeframes, and more detailed scope of combined product functionality. Also, make sure that Navision Software and/or its local NSC offers a single contract and help desk for all disparate components of its product offerings.

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