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Siebel Scores High CRM Marks

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Posted July 19, 2005 By David Needle     Feedback

Forrester recognizes the company's performance despite a tough year in other areas.

After facing numerous hurdles this year, there is some good news for Siebel Systems .

The customer relationship management software company suffered from a revenue shortfall for the quarter ending June 30 on top of having to ease into the April appointment of George Shaheen as its second CEO in a year.

But Siebel still very much earns praise in many aspects of the CRM market, according to a new report by Forrester Research.

Forrester ranked Siebel first in Current Offering, Strategy, and Market Presence. Four top enterprise CRM suite vendors -- Amdocs , Oracle , SAP and Siebel -- were evaluated across 177 criteria researched by Forrester for the report, which also included survey results among 94 executive buyers.

Though Siebel earned the highest score, Forrester analyst William Band, the report's author, told internetnews.com that the company still faces serious competition.

"There's not that much product or feature difference among the major players," said Band, who lauded Siebel for changing its strategy with customers in the past year, a shift in strategy that has led to Siebel beefing up its professional services offerings.

Band noted that since former Siebel CEO Michael Lawrie implemented this shift in strategy, it remains to be seen if there'll be further tweaking or changes under Shaheen.

The other three vendors in the report also garnered a measure of praise.

Band said that SAP is gaining ground in its attempt to overtake Siebel. The company claims it is winning the majority of new accounts, which Band said he couldn't verify. But he does see SAP continuing to gain momentum.

Similarly, Oracle has made dramatic moves to improve its share of the CRM market through its acquisition of PeopleSoft. Band noted the software company's strength in customer data management, but in the report he gives Oracle lesser marks for "vision" and "strategy," because it has not articulated clearly enough the benefits of the PeopleSoft acquisition to customers and how it will all be tied together with Oracle's other products.

And Amdocs is deepening its market position in the communications services provider market.

CRM as a distinct product category is about 10 years old and most, if not all, large companies have implemented some form it. The consequences of any significant market gain are huge for the players involved.

Forrester pegs the worldwide CRM market at $3.2 billion for 2005 and on track to grow 5 percent to 6 percent a year after recovering from a decline in 2000.

There is apparently plenty of work to do at companies where CRM systems are already established. Only 29 percent of the executives surveyed in the Forrester report said they were satisfied with how well their CRM suite integrates with other sources of data in their organizations.

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