When the PRM suite was launched in 1999, it served essentially as a portal for partners and suppliers to provide basic marketing information to channel partners. But the new version includes Partner Manager, a suite of applications that helps businesses manage their partner relationships by drilling down to view the activity of each sales representative at partner companies.
Included in the new suite are prebuilt enterprise resource planning connectors and analytics capabilities, and key performance indicators to help managers project sales in the channel. The analytics functionality provides 200 report metrics and performance indicators to pinpoint a company's top 10 partners. The new version also comes with robust partner recruitment applications that manage everything from partner application, to training, certification, joint marketing agreements, literature management, sales tools, and business planning.
To date, there are 60 live customers on Siebel's PRM application. Analysts say the new Web architecture that Siebel 7 is based on will provide better scalability than some other PRM and customer-relationship management suites. John Ragsdale, research director for Giga Information Group, advises potential buyers of PRM and CRM suites to check vendor references on scalability carefully to be sure that the software can handle a sufficient number of concurrent users on a single implementation. Ragsdale says some software vendors tout thousands of concurrent users, but those users are accessing multiple installations of the software.
Implementing partner-relationship management applications means that the software must be able to handle thousands of concurrent users, says Ragsdale. Siebel has referenced multiple customers with 6,000 to 10,000 concurrent users on a single database. Those customers include IBM and Compaq Computer.