Rivals add CRM apps for mobile users

Software rivals Siebel Systems and PeopleSoft continued their separate pushes into the realm of mobile customer relationship...

Software rivals Siebel Systems and PeopleSoft continued their separate pushes into the realm of mobile customer relationship management (CRM) last week.

Both companies announced applications geared toward connecting mobile sales and service workers to corporate CRM systems and touted their scalable data synchronisation capabilities.

CRM market leader Siebel added a set of mobile applications to the Web-based Siebel 7 product line that it released in November. Siebel 7 Mobile Solutions includes software that supports access to CRM data via mobile phones, handheld devices and notebook PCs, the company said.

PeopleSoft announced an upgrade of its Web-based PeopleSoft 8 CRM applications. Release 8.4 adds mobile sales and field service modules to the PeopleSoft 8 CRM line, which was introduced in June.

PeopleSoft, which got into the CRM market by acquiring Vantive in 2000, is positioning Release 8.4 as the version that closes the remaining functional gaps between its applications and those of its rivals.

The new release is a key part of PeopleSoft's effort to broaden the appeal of the CRM applications within the large installed base of companies that use its enterprise resource planning software, said Joshua Greenbaum, an analyst at Enterprise Applications Consulting.

Siebel's announcement was aimed at reminding users that it has "the biggest, broadest, deepest set of mobile CRM functionality in the industry", said Erin Kinikin, an analyst at Giga Information Group. But, she added, Siebel's wireless messaging capabilities are not as interactive as PeopleSoft's.

PeopleSoft is scheduled to ship the upgrade on 22 March, along with new mobile data synchronisation technology that supports Windows-based laptops and Pocket PC handheld devices.

Stan Swete, general manager of CRM at PeopleSoft, said Release 8.4 also includes interactive software that lets salespeople or a company's customers dynamically configure products, plus a new module that automates the process of tracking product defects.

Siebel 7 Mobile Solutions is available immediately. Siebel said the software lets multiple mobile end users access the same CRM applications and then centrally synchronises and updates the data.

Read more on Business applications