OnDemand or UpShot

By Dennis Callaghan  |  Posted 2004-07-27 Print this article Print

?"> Raffel noted that Siebel continues to develop the UpShot Edition as well, updating the services GUI just last week. But UpShot Edition user Christine Bautel, sales manager of Intellon Inc., which makes semiconductors for home networking applications, said Siebel CRM OnDemand still cant match UpShot and that she hasnt been informed of any improvements that would change that. Bautel evaluated Siebels flagship hosted CRM service, hoping to get better forecasting capabilities than the UpShot Edition offers. "It is my understanding that Upshot is still [ahead] of [Siebel CRM] OnDemand as far as functionality, that OnDemand is not flexible; you cant add fields," Bautel said in Ocala, Fla.
Bautel said she still turns to her UpShot representative for product information, but has otherwise had no recent communication from Siebel about Siebel CRM OnDemand.
Raffel released correspondence from Siebel to UpShot customers, which was dated May 26. The HTML letter, signed by Rob Reid, group vice president and general manager for Siebel CRM OnDemand, said an upgrade to Siebel CRM OnDemand that includes the UpShot features was being readied, along with software to assist customers in making the migration. Though Raffel said the upgrade was now complete, a second letter, dated "July 2004," was sent to customers on July 16, according to a company spokeswoman. It mentioned only a new release of UpShot Edition, which went online July 24. "Partly because of our contracts and partly because we do not want to be seen as spammers, we send these messages only to the admins," Raffel said. "Next time, well make sure that we stress the need for admins to keep their users in the loop." New Siebel CEO Michael Lawrie said the companys OnDemand services are the centerpiece of its strategy to penetrate the elusive SMB market, which he concedes that Siebel to date has not succeeded in doing. "Its an underpenetrated market that has to be fulfilled," Lawrie said during Siebels second-quarter earnings call last week. "Its the right opportunity. Were focused on developing the right offering." Forrester Research CRM analyst Erin Kinikin described Siebel CRM OnDemand as "more like Siebel CRM OnVision." "Siebel has lots of great plans, but has struggled a bit to get them all out the door," said Kinikin, in Santa Clara, Calif. In addition to a muddled message over upgrades and migrations, Kinikin said Siebel has also had trouble getting its Siebel CRM OnDemand sales channel up and running. "Theyre doing most sales through a telesales group, but thats not going to keep existing customers happy and connected," she said. "The promise is that the partners of IBM and [British Telecom] will serve as another channel for Siebel CRM OnDemand, but it takes time to recruit and train those people." "Siebel CRM OnDemand is a great vision—vertical CRM with connections to the enterprise offered on a monthly basis," Kinikin said. "But Siebel has to get from vision to reality very quickly to beat Salesforce.com. Siebel has a lot of fires to fight. They need to make sure theyre not stretched so thin that none of them actually get resolved." Editors Note: This story was updated to correct information on the timing of Siebels e-mail messages to customers. Check out eWEEK.coms Enterprise Applications Center at http://enterpriseapps.eweek.com for the latest news, reviews and analysis about productivity and business solutions.

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