CRM rivals take aim at Siebel

With the release of Siebel Systems' latest suite looming, rivals in the customer relationship management (CRM) world are getting...

With the release of Siebel Systems' latest suite looming, rivals in the customer relationship management (CRM) world are getting their ducks in a row in hopes of gaining ground on the market leader.

PeopleSoft will launch PeopleSoft 8 CRM in early June. The California-based company promises this version of its CRM suite will help it "leapfrog Siebel" by providing a completely Web-based offering that integrates with all other enterprise solutions.

"It should definitely lower the total cost of ownership of the software," said Sheryl Kingstone, an analyst at The Yankee Group. "The company still has to prove itself with new company wins and with greater traction overall in order to be a short-term threat to Siebel."

Meanwhile, E.piphany last week added a sales-force automation (SFA) application to round out its E.5 CRM suite. E.piphany touts E.piphany Sales as the market's most analytical SFA application because of its integration with E.5's analytics technologies.

"With something like Siebel you have to navigate through 10 screens for even simple tasks, and that can be difficult for a sales rep," said Brad Wilson, E.piphany's vice-president of product marketing. "The idea is to have more fingertip access."

Oracle earlier this month unveiled its "CRM in 90 days" programme, which aims to get customers running in three months - an alternative to what Oracle describes as the lengthy and complex roll-out of systems such as Siebel - but with some sacrifices, such as a lack of personalisation.

Lastly, Kana Communications, fresh from its merger with Broadbase, will launch a new version of its service platform later this month that incorporates Enterprise JavaBeans technology for the first time.

Despite the competitive jockeying, officials at Siebel remain confident. The company plans to release Siebel 2001 in late summer or early autumn.

"So many customers have started down the process of deploying applications that are not robust or configurable from other vendors. They end up throwing them out and going with Siebel products," said Richard Gorman, vice-president of product marketing at Siebel.

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