When Oracle agreed early in September to buy former rival Siebel Systems for US$5.85 billion, some questioned how long Siebel would continue its CRM OnDemand service. That question came to light because Oracle rival IBM plays a big role in the on-demand service. Yesterday, Siebel responded with the announcement of the latest edition of its CRM Professional Edition software, which contains tight integration to CRM OnDemand.
Oracle head Larry Ellison has said that Siebel CRM will be an integral part of the company’s stack. Oracle has also swallowed up PeopleSoft, another software rival, and is planning “ProjectFusion” to mesh all the database and CRM products into a cohesive package. Oracle said it will continue to sell and support the products of PeopleSoft and Siebel.
Siebel in the meantime is plugging away, announcing CRM Professional Edition 7.8, targeted at the small and medium business (SMB) market, and touting its benefits. According to Rob Reid, Siebel group vice president of SMBs, the company has seen 178 percent year-over-year growth in this segment.
The new version of the CRM software offers integration from Siebel to Microsoft Exchange and Outlook, which allows Siebel users to access and manage Siebel contacts, appointments and tasks from Outlook.
“Sales folks truly understand that time is money. They want to be out there talking to people and getting the sales, getting to information is extremely important,” Reid told CRM Buyer.
Integration with Microsoft’s SharePoint portal application allows users to create microsites that contain sales and service information from their Siebel systems. The sites can be accessed by any member of a team.
Contact OnDemand is a hosted contact center that gives SMBs the flexibility of an enterprise telephone infrastructure and automated call routing. Reid said it will cost $150 per agent per month.
According to Reid, OnDemand helped a New Orleans customer, Pop-A-Lock, which dispatches aid to people who have locked themselves out of their cars, successfully move its company — without service disruption — first to Houston, and then, with the threat of Hurricane Rita, on to San Antonio.
Version 7.8 also adds the ability to manage and administer internal IT support for help desks.