Siebel Expands Host Channel

Siebel Systems is planning to add new hosting partners for its Siebel CRM OnDemand.

Siebel Systems Inc. is planning to add new hosting partners for its Siebel CRM OnDemand hosted customer relationship management service, though IBM will likely be the sole hosting partner in the United States for at least the first year.

Officials at the San Mateo, Calif., company said they are committed to IBM as its hosting partner for the service, which goes live this week, even as Siebel last week announced that BT Group plc. will host the service in the United Kingdom.

"We dont have time to do different special sauces right now," said Siebel Senior Vice President Keith Raffel. "Our focus now is on building this on the IBM stack, and thats where well be focused for at least the next year."

Siebel officials have not ruled out having the service hosted by other companies after that.

"We provide a service, and different partners can deliver it to the end user," said Ken Rudin, vice president and general manager of Siebel CRM OnDemand. Rudin said Siebels relationship to hosting partners is analogous to Home Box Office Inc.s relationship to cable TV service providers. "We define strict requirements regarding security, performance and reliability that each hosting partner must meet to ensure all Siebel CRM OnDemand customers have the same level of service," he said.

BT will offer Siebel CRM OnDemand to customers in the United Kingdom, Siebels largest market outside North America, according to Raffel. The BT service, which likely will be separately branded and hosted at a different Web site from the U.S. version, will be identical to the IBM-hosted service, officials said.

Raffel conceded that future service providers could add value-added services to Siebel CRM OnDemand, although he stopped short of saying there would eventually be several private-label versions of the service on the market.

While a key target for Siebel CRM OnDemand is customers looking to extend Siebel technology to more users in their organizations, not all Siebel customers are interested in making the jump. "I already have enough licenses; why would I want to pay a monthly fee if I already own it?" said Jim Hooton, director of sales systems in the global IS department of Storage Technology Corp., in Louisville, Colo.