Siebel releases simpler CRM

Siebel Systems has quietly introduced a version of its CRM sales software for midsize companies.

Siebel Systems has quietly introduced a version of its CRM sales software for midsize companies.

In March, the company released Siebel Professional Edition for limited distribution to replace Siebel eBusiness Applications MidMarket Edition. The new version costs $995 (£520) per user, just above the annual per-user cost of Siebel's hosted CRM OnDemand subscription service.

Siebel Professional Edition is aimed at SMEs, which Siebel defines as companies with annual revenue of up to $500m, although larger companies can also buy it if they choose, according to product manager Justin Shriber.

The Professional Edition includes Siebel's base sales, service, marketing or call centre applications, and add-on modules such as e-mail marketing or wireless access support are available at no extra cost.

Shriber said Professional Edition users had access to all the functionality in Siebel's high-end Enterprise Edition. What the SME version lacks are some of the latter's scalability features and deployment options.

Siebel Professional Edition's main distinguishing point is its slimmed-down installation procedures. Siebel found that its small business customers tended to have less complex business processes, more consolidated datacentres and similar infrastructures, usually built around Windows and SQL. Siebel has tailored the Professional Edition for the SME deployment environments it typically encounters.

One happy customer said he deployed the Professional Edition on time and under budget. Working with a local services firm, WestStar Bank rolled out a 100-user installation in six weeks, according to vice-president Rob Verratti.

WestStar had made eight acquisitions since 1995, and as a result had a hodgepodge of IT systems. It wanted an onsite CRM system, and after evaluating a number of products, Verratti selected Siebel because it offered realistic implementation plans and straightforward pricing.

"It was not easy, but it was not hard either," Verratti said. "It went as planned. We've been live for 90 days, and it's working."

Stacy Cowley writes for IDG News Service

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