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Saturday, April 02, 2005

Siebel On Demand : Intent To Deliver Entire Siebel Product Line In Hosted Form!!

( Via Bweek) Bruce Cleveland of Siebel talks about siebel's plans to compete with Oracle, SAP, and upstarts - Siebel, which virtually invented the market for customer-management software, has suffered a host of problems, among them a sluggish information-technology market and increased competition from the likes of Oracle and SAP. Siebel also faces pressure from upstarts,- the evangelists for delivering software as a service over the Internet rather than as a physical package installed at the customer's office.

Siebel revives its software as service offering three years later when smaller competitors began gaining traction. Siebel has made several acquisitions and released seven new versions of its service. Siebel announces a software service that can get call centers up and running within days, not months, and for a fraction of the $1 million-plus price tag companies usually pay, says Bruce Cleveland, Siebel's senior vice-president and general manager of OnDemand Computing. Originally, when the company thought about this product line, they thought small- and medium-sized businesses would be the primary consumers. Now this is re-oriented to address big customer segment as well.Siebel is much better organized under Mike Lawrie to take on upstarts like salesforce.com leveraging its success in SME segment attempting to move into enterprise segment.The philosophical differences in the way we are delivering, and the differences have nothing to do with Salesforce and everything to do with our history and customer base.

Siebel created 23 industry-specific versions of the product. In the hosted space, Siebel has created four industry-specific versions that will build on that. That's a dramatically different approach from Salesforce's. Bruce distinguishes - which i tend to sort of agree :"Their approach is to create a platform and a software development kit. For big companies, giving them a tool kit will be poorly received. We come from the enterprise and are moving down. They come from small business and are moving up".

The difference is the fully hosted contact center integrated with customer relationship software.This means when companies want to provide call centers, they have to invest millions up front and six months to put it together, Siebel says it has bought all that equipment,integrated it with our applications, and are offering it on a subscriptions basis. Large companies can use it to add capacity. Retailers, during the holiday season, don't want to take on the permanent cost for additional volume. Polling offices during government elections can turn it on and turn it off. The shift to take entire Siebel product into hosted mode is quite radical indeed ans the direction to keep the OnDemand interface as standard interface for Siebel spealks of seriousness. The issue is what about migration costs for existing customers, sunk costs retrievel, impact on maintenance stream revenue. Siebel appears to be making the right moves . we have to see the market response - it tough time ahead anyway for Siebel.

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