Siebel To Unwrap CRM Suite

Dave Martinson is travelling to Chicago this week for one thing: To see Siebel Systems Inc. roll out its long-awaited Siebel 7 customer relationship management package.

“We will definitely upgrade,” Martinson says. He is vice-president of the Upper Midwest Siebel Users Group and a software manager in charge of internal CRM applications at Microsoft Great Plains, where 850 to 900 employees and partners use Siebel’s salesforce automation software.

How quickly the Great Plains division upgrades depends on what Martinson sees at the Siebel Worldwide User Week conference and whether the new edition meets his company’s expectations, he says.

What he’ll see is Siebel 7 eBusiness Application Suite, which features a Web-based architecture that Siebel promises will speed its CRM deployment and ease application administration. The Siebel 7 portfolio will be delivered through a Web browser without requiring code to reside on every client.

For network executives, Web-based deployment translates into easier, less costly software deployments, says Richard Gorman, a Siebel vice-president.

It’s an improvement for end users too, Martinson says. “Users will get the most recent features much quicker because we’ll be able to deliver patches and upgrades to them much quicker,” he says.

The Web-based application suite also will appeal to midsize companies that are looking for less-complex applications from Siebel, the market leader in large enterprise CRM.

AMR Research analyst Kevin Scott says Siebel 7 makes strides in the right direction. “It’s easier to host, it’s easier to manage,” he says. “Companies don’t need a huge IT staff to maintain it.”

Additional highlights of Siebel 7 include: