Tech Managers Rethink CRM In Tight Economy - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

IoT
IoT
News

Tech Managers Rethink CRM In Tight Economy

Reduced budgets and increased competition may make Siebel's latest CRM suite a hard sell

Siebel Systems Inc. faces a new set of challenges as it unveils the most comprehensive customer-relationship management package in its eight-year history this week. Siebel commands 56% of the CRM market and boasts 3,000 customers, but outside forces may make its new version a tough sell.

Business-technology managers are reassessing CRM deployments because of the economy and reduced IT budgets, and they may not be as willing to shell out six or seven figures for a new CRM package. And Siebel faces more competition than ever before.

AMR Research last week reduced its 2001 growth projections for the CRM market from 40% to 28%. Morgan Stanley estimates 10% to 15% growth per year through 2005. Gartner expects the software-purchase process to increase from 12 months to 18 months.

Siebel version 7 marks the vendor's move from a client-server to a thin-client architecture. It follows the industry's first thin-client, Web-based CRM suite, PeopleSoft 8, launched in June.

Some IT managers prefer to buy CRM applications from their enterprise resource planning vendors because integration is easier and cheaper. CreoScitex, a $700 million digital imaging company in Vancouver, British Columbia, chose SAP's CRM 3.0 suite after evaluating Clarify and Siebel. "We sell hundreds of relatively large systems every quarter, and we service them ourselves," says Dave Pritchard, ERP and CRM program manager. He wanted an integrated package that provides one view of customers. The company already used SAP, so choosing it for CRM eased integration.

Meanwhile, E.piphany and Kana have emerged as complete CRM providers, says John Ragsdale, research director for Giga Information Group. E.piphany, which offers Web-based sales, marketing, and campaign-management tools with advanced analytic capabilities, last week disclosed a partnership with Cisco Systems to merge analysis and customer-service software with Cisco contact-center apps.

Charlie Peters

Despite recent budget restrictions, Emerson chose E.piphany's customized implementation for its 16 business units; one major selling point was E.piphany's analytic capabilities, VP Peters says.
Charlie Peters, senior VP at Emerson, a $16 billion St. Louis electrical products manufacturer, chose E.piphany over Siebel because E.piphany customized the implementation for Emerson's 16 business units--a task Siebel wouldn't do. E.piphany's analytics also are further developed than Siebel's, some analysts say. Despite recent budget restrictions, Peters advises his divisions to make E.piphany analytics the foundation of all their CRM and database-marketing implementations. "Without analytics, it's a cumbersome process to manipulate customer data," he says.

The analytic capabilities in Siebel 7 have improved, but Siebel still must enhance and embed them in all of its CRM apps, Ragsdale says. Siebel also rewrote the user interface for the entire application suite, creating a no-code client that analysts say will lower total-cost-of-ownership expenses and save IT departments hundreds of hours in maintenance and implementation time. Siebel also used the same object-oriented design as its client-server suites, making its migrations easier than PeopleSoft's, Ragsdale says.

FleetBoston Financial Corp., a beta tester of Siebel 7, will upgrade its system early next year. Although the company is rolling out Siebel's Employee Relationship Management 6.8 portal, the ERM module in Siebel 7 is better, FleetBoston executive VP Dean Athanasia says. "It provides tighter integration between Siebel and non-Siebel applications," says Athanasia, who plans to integrate document and content management, news, company reports, and customer information into the portal.

Siebel's thin-client architecture alone may encourage customers to buy in. Had version 7 been available sooner, Siebel might have won business from MedSolutions, a radiology-management company in Franklin, Tenn. CEO Kirt Thorne was set to buy Siebel until he saw PeopleSoft 8. "The architecture was the most important thing for us," he says. "We were so excited because we felt this was something we could manage and make work."

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
2021 State of ITOps and SecOps Report
2021 State of ITOps and SecOps Report
This new report from InformationWeek explores what we've learned over the past year, critical trends around ITOps and SecOps, and where leaders are focusing their time and efforts to support a growing digital economy. Download it today!
InformationWeek Is Getting an Upgrade!

Find out more about our plans to improve the look, functionality, and performance of the InformationWeek site in the coming months.

Slideshows
IT Leadership: 10 Ways to Unleash Enterprise Innovation
Lisa Morgan, Freelance Writer,  6/8/2021
Commentary
Preparing for the Upcoming Quantum Computing Revolution
John Edwards, Technology Journalist & Author,  6/3/2021
News
How SolarWinds Changed Cybersecurity Leadership's Priorities
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  5/26/2021
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Video
Current Issue
Planning Your Digital Transformation Roadmap
Download this report to learn about the latest technologies and best practices or ensuring a successful transition from outdated business transformation tactics.
White Papers
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Sponsored Video
Flash Poll