Siebel Pushes UpShot Further

Siebel is adding customer service to its UpShot hosted CRM service.

Siebel Systems Inc. is adding customer service capabilities to its UpShot Edition hosted CRM service, giving enterprises the opportunity to extend the technology to more users in an organization.

Last week Siebel pumped up its hosted customer relationship managements sales and marketing services with added customer service and support capabilities. Siebel, of San Mateo, Calif., completed the acquisition of UpShot Corp., of Mountain View, Calif., last month.

The new services could allow current UpShot Edition customer AccuWeather Inc. to add 25 more users to its UpShot deployment, said Kathy Fiore, CIO at AccuWeather, which has more than 40 UpShot users, mostly in sales. AccuWeather, based in State College, Pa., uses Epicor Software Corp.s Clientele product for customer service and support. Turning to Siebels hosted offering for those services would be more cost-effective, Fiore said.

"Because of the cost benefits, we do plan to take a look at this," Fiore said. "Wed pay the same per-seat fee for it. When you factor in any licensed software, you have maintenance fees every year, and theyre rising. Its about 15 to 20 percent of the license fees of any software you get. That can be quite hefty." Fiore said she doesnt know yet whether UpShot Editions new capabilities will meet AccuWeathers service and support needs.

Case management is a key feature in the update, with support for managing customer service requests; gaining visibility into customer information and activity, from initial lead identification through customer support; directing cases to individuals or team queues; and accessing the product catalog and specific products a customer has purchased.

The updated UpShot Edition supports workflow and access control, including use of workflow rules to match business processes and control of access to customer issues. E-mail management capabilities let users track incoming and outgoing customer communications. In addition, the update supports customer surveys. Siebel plans to merge UpShots hosted CRM service with its own Siebel CRM OnDemand service by the second quarter of next year.

Keith Raffel, ex-chairman of UpShot and now vice president of Siebel, said "elements" of this release of UpShot Edition, such as e-mail management, will carry over to the merged product. "Theres nothing good thats going to be left out of the merged product," said Raffel regarding last weeks announcement.