Siebel and IBM to offer hosted CRM in Europe and Asia

Siebel Systems and IBM are to offer their joint service, Siebel CRM OnDemand, in Europe from mid-May, and in Asia within two...

Siebel Systems and IBM are to offer their joint service, Siebel CRM OnDemand, in Europe from mid-May, and in Asia within two months.

Siebel has already been offering the CRM OnDemand service in the UK through BT since December.

IBM and BT will both sell in the UK, said Ken Rudin, Siebel's vice-president and general manager of Siebel CRM OnDemand.

"We're rolling out with two different partners in Europe. IBM is our global partner but we have a strong history with BT. When they heard about the on-demand CRM they said they wanted to sell it to their customer base. So they will sell to their customers, and IBM will sell to its own customer base," he said.

The IBM-Siebel product is straight CRM on demand. "We take it and become a complete reseller, wrapping additional services like telephony, e-mail and text messaging to make a full call-centre-in-a-box application. It's quite a bit more sophisticated, and so it depends what the customer wants," said BT spokeswoman Ellen Ferrara.

Siebel said in February that Siebel CRM OnDemand had attracted 20,000 users since its US launch, at $70 per user, per month, at the end of 2003. At €70 a month, per user and with UK English, French, German, Spanish and Italian language versions now available, Siebel and IBM hoped to make even greater inroads into the European market, Rudin said.

When the product was advertised in North America last year, Siebel received 40,000 inquiries, and more than half were from outside North America.

"There is much higher demand in Europe. There's a higher percentage of smaller companies that have been suffering for the past decade because CRM needed significant resources, in terms of time and investment," Rudin said.

Enterprise customers may well be interested too, said Rich Stomp, IBM's vice-president and general manager of the IBM/Siebel alliance.

"Enterprise customers may want it for departmental use, or for occasional users. Or there will even be some enterprise customers that use it to automate their entire operations, which are running on older technology, and they can upgrade to the enterprise version later if they want," he said.

Siebel and IBM will announce a service in Asia in the next two to three months, in Japanese, Chinese and Korean.

The hosted software can work with established in-house Siebel software, while APIs (application programming interfaces) based on XML/Soap (Simple Object Access Protocol) standards will allow straightforward integration with other applications.

The software will be delivered using IBM's e-business Hosting Services. It will be available "in the coming weeks" and a 30-day free trial will be offered.

Gillian Law writes for IDG News Service

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