Siebel Systems is preparing to announce a new set of marquee customers at its user conference in Chicago this week, as questions surface about its ability to dominate the midmarket for customer relationship management applications.
The company is the undisputed king of the large enterprise market, but has invested considerable resources into grabbing a bigger share of the midmarket. It is facing stiff opposition, however, from a group of lower-priced competitors, most notably Salesforce.com, which now claims more than 2,500 companies as clients.
Despite the challenge from the upstarts, Siebel said it now holds more than 50 percent of the midmarket, and with the launch of Siebel 7 at the conference in Chicago this week, it will be in an even stronger position to capture more of that sector.
"The biggest challenge weve faced in the midmarket is to make our product easier to use and less expensive to deploy," said Richard Gorman, Siebels vice president of product marketing. "The fact is a lot of midmarket companies dont have the IT department needed to maintain the [Siebel] software."
Siebel 7 has been redesigned for the Web, allowing users to access the system via a browser. Gorman said it is now much easier to use and maintain than the existing client-server-based software. The only software needed on the computer is a Web browser.
Siebel is one of the few technology companies pushing ahead with its users conference in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. A keynote being delivered by CEO Tom Siebel Monday morning should provide some interesting insights into the current health of the software industry.