Siebel Looks to Stay On Top with New Release

Siebel Systems Inc. has shipped version seven of its eBusiness Applications, enhancing its customer relationship management suite to allow for zero-footprint client access.

According to a company spokesperson, the addition of browser-based access to Siebel is the most prominent of a number of additions Siebel has made with the new release of its solution set.

An advance for a new concept Siebel calls the Smart Web Architecture, Siebel 7 is designed as a client-server application that can be tapped into via a standard Web browser. It requires no software installation on the client end. And it now supports intelligent Web-based interfaces that allow users to refresh single fields, rather than entire screens, to see the results of fresh changes.

A recent report by IT analyst firm Aberdeen Group predicts the market for CRM applications will eclipse $4.2 billion in 2002. Siebel is the leading provider in this market in terms of overall market share, ahead of competitors PeopleSoft Inc., SAP AG and Oracle. Some analysts believe Siebel has solidified its place atop the CRM market in the wake of version seven's release. This sentiment stems in large part from the bolstered back-end integration support Siebel is offering under version seven.

In October 2001, Siebel acquired integration specialist nQuire Software. Clay Helm, a Siebel spokesperson, says Siebel had been working with nQuire for some time prior to the acquisition to bring nQuire's integration technology to the version seven release. As such, Siebel 7 supports deeper integration with ERP systems, legacy systems and front-office systems than it did in prior iterations. Back-end integration is an area many felt Siebel needed to make improvements on to maintain its position as an industry bellwether for CRM applications.

Siebel 7's newfound ability to tightly integrate with multiple data warehouses and operational sources within and external to the Siebel suite, has fostered a new initiative within the company called Analytics Everywhere. Helm says Analytics Everywhere is in large part a product of the technology Siebel acquired from nQuire. As part of Analytics Everywhere, Siebel 7 extends the reach users have for using personalized and role-based intelligence through Web, wireless, voice and mobile devices. Siebel Analytics 7, as the Analytics Everywhere portion of the Siebel suite is called, includes a pre-built data warehouse with pre-built data extractors.

Siebel 7 also offers pre-built business connectors for SAP, i2, Oracle and PeopleSoft. The underlying technologies for these connectors—such as the workflow engine, XML generation and transformation wizards, dispatch service and transport adapters—are included, as well.

So far, Siebel has received commitments from over 100 third-party vendors to certify their solutions for version seven. With the addition of seven new verticals to the target base for version seven, Siebel's e-business application suite now supports a total of 20 different industries. Automotive, consumer goods, energy, financial services and the public sector are among Siebel's most successful niches.