Siebel CEO Pushes Hybrid CRM Model

The chairman and CEO of Siebel Systems Tuesday said his company is focused on providing both traditional CRM software and hosted options that can be integrated together and meet the needs of different types of enterprises.

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LAS VEGAS—The delivery of CRM is moving toward a combination of traditional server software and hosted services to meet the needs of different types of enterprises, said Thomas Siebel, chairman and CEO of Siebel Systems Inc., during his keynote here at Comdex Las Vegas 2003.

Siebel, of San Mateo, Calif., earlier this month completed its acquisition of hosted CRM company UpShot Corp. and in October announced the new Siebel CRM OnDemand hosted service, a joint offering with IBM.

"Our strategy going forward is to deliver seamless and superior customer experiences by extending CRM products to everyone in organizations and everyone in the partner ecosystem," Siebel said.

Siebel outlined scenarios where many large companies might want to deploy a combination of the traditional Siebel CRM software along with the CRM OnDemand service in order to connect partners or smaller groups with CRM functionality.

National Australia Bank is one prime example, he said. While the bank uses Siebels on-premise software internally, it also wants to connect independent mortgage brokers worldwide that work with the bank into its CRM system, Siebel said.

"The best solution for that will be a hosted solution on the Internet, a Siebel meets Google kind of idea," Siebel said.

The traditional software and the hosted solution can be integrated together, and those starting with CRM OnDemand can migrate to on-premise software, Siebel said. Siebel is offering its CRM OnDemand service, which has been running for about six weeks in beta. The company expects next month to offer the service on a monthly subscription of $70.

Siebel also reaffirmed that current UpShot customers can continue to run on the current version of UpShot as long as they wish but also will be offered a free upgrade once the service is updated. The company has said that it plans to merge the UpShot service with its own Siebel CRM OnDemand hosted service by the second quarter of next year.

/zimages/7/28571.gifFor more information on the merger of the UpShot service and Siebels CRM OnDemand hosted offerings, click here.

The UpShot acquisition gave Siebel 1,000 hosted service customers as well as 100 employees.

Siebel faces tough competition in the hosted CRM space against companies such as Inc. and Salesnet that specialize in services as well as hosting options from traditional enterprise application vendors such as PeopleSoft Inc., which announced on Monday an expansion of its hosted offerings.

Beyond the companys emerging hosted offerings, Siebel discussed some of the emerging trends in the technology sector. Chief among them is the push toward Web services. He said that just as the client-server software model became a must have for vendors in the 1990s, Web services is becoming a requirement as enterprises see the value of being able to better connect their systems.

"The next major shift that we see is being able to utilize Web services," Siebel said. "This is a complete replacement market (and) is driving a lot of needs." /zimages/7/28571.gif