Siebel Updates Hosted CRM Software

UPDATED: Siebel’s CRM software, originally aimed
at small- to medium-sized businesses (SMB), is getting an upgrade, with new
capabilities and functionality targeted at specific industries.

CRM OnDemand 6, the San Mateo, Calif., company’s hosted software offering, now
features four pre-built editions of its existing software: financial services,
high-tech, medical and automotive editions.

Siebel’s hosted CRM application, which allows SMBs to make use of the
software’s capabilities without investing in the software or hardware
itself, runs businesses $70 per user per month to use; the industry-specific
editions cost $100 per user per month. The company is running a promotion
through Feb. 11 which will let companies test one of the industry-specific
editions for $70.

Bruce Cleveland, Siebel OnDemand and SMB senior vice president and general
manager, said in a press conference Tuesday the industry-specific editions
are the first hosted CRM offering of its kind, adding that this is a “game-changing
announcement” for the sector. The new software extends existing data models
and links them to a modified UI using a new set of business processes.

“This isn’t just lipstick at the user interface level,” he said in a press
conference Tuesday. “This is deep integration, data model changes and best
practice changes that have been linked together to really go after and
enable companies in these markets — these industries — to be able to take
this product off the shelf and have it be tailored for their specific needs.”

It allows them to do this without having to spend significant amounts of money customizing it and
tweaking it for their specific requirements, he continued.

The core OnDemand 6 software includes new functionality like the Sales Process
Coach. The feature lets businesses build the sales processes used by their top
sales representatives into a template for use by the entire sales force.
Other improvements include: mail merge with Microsoft Word and pre-built
support for reporting and analysis in Excel; a 60 percent increase in custom
data access controls; advanced territory management capabilities; and support
for Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Portuguese.

The software service is a joint effort between Siebel and IBM ,
which the companies first announced
in October 2003 to bring enterprise-quality CRM down to the SMB market.
The two companies share in the development, marketing, sale and distribution of the product, with Siebel
providing the software and IBM hosting the service.

Siebel has been an industry leader in the software that manages the process of
customer care to increase sales for more than a decade. It has been making a
big push in recent times to enter a sector of the CRM business popularized by
companies like Salesforce.com. Along with its joint venture with IBM, Siebel
bought
rival UpShot in October 2003 to gain stronger footing with its online CRM service.

Last month, the company launched a
three-pronged strategy
to market to an SMB industry Siebel officials said was underserved by Siebel
competitors in the space — like Salesforce.com, Onyx and SalesLogix.

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