Siebel Courts SMBs with Partner Program - Page 2

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Lawrie said Siebel also would change the way it does business contracts and proposals and the way it processes orders, to offer a more simple and efficient process better suited to the SMB space than to large enterprises.

"This is a significant opportunity for Siebel Systems," he said.

Siebels relationship with IBM has been extended, with Siebel CRM OnDemand—a hosted offering Siebel developed with IBM—becoming part of the IBM Express offerings.

Siebel also announced an SMB Alliance Program with more than 250 member companies, who will have access to open APIs to speed development of integrated partner solutions, along with a tool kit and support.

The partner program, targeted to customer companies with as much as $500 million in annual revenue, includes both the Siebel CRM OnDemand hosted service and the Siebel CRM Professional Edition on-premise application suite.

"Its a lot of companies nobody has heard of before, but these particular partners offer unique capabilities and services that are in high demand in the SMB marketplace," Cleveland said.

He added that all partner solutions would be tested and validated by Siebel.

"Its OK to provide an open framework, but the issue is has that been validated, so the testing and validating is not outsourced to the customer," he said. "This will create some brand-new types of technologies and applications that havent been available in the past."

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Lawrie described the SMB market as about 50 percent of the CRM opportunity in virtually any country in the world.

"This is a big part of our approach for growth," he said. "We talked about participating in new markets. Small to medium business is an example of a market we need to participate in a more full way than we have to date."

Cleveland said Siebels new SMB channel program takes the best of what other companies such as, Microsoft, SAP AG and Pivotal Software have done to reach the SMB space. He said Siebels sell-through strategy was modeled after Microsofts, though would be more exclusive and "invitation-only."

It copied Salesforce.coms use of sharing sales materials, SAPs concept of partnership and Pivotals concept of joint selling.

"Weve come up with a unique program thats different in form and structure. "Well make a strong entry into SMB marketplace," Cleveland said.

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