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Siebel adds collaboration, networking to OnDemand

The latest release of Siebel's hosted product includes segmentation, social networking and collaboration tools.

Siebel Systems Inc. today released a new version of its hosted application focusing on collaboration and segmentation.

This is the eighth release of CRM OnDemand since it debuted a year and a half ago and the fifth Siebel release in the last year. The San Mateo, Calif.-based company's latest offering was provided to customers last weekend.

New functionality includes group calendaring and task management to consolidate schedules in a team structure and balance workloads.

"What we've found is that companies want calendaring built into CRM OnDemand so that as users put in an opportunity or contact they can reference it," said Rob Reid, group vice president, marketing and IBM Alliance, OnDemand and SMB, for Siebel. "We integrate with Outlook and Lotus Notes so dynamic changes are being updated on both sides. You don't have to switch between both systems."

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New collaboration tools in Siebel OnDemand 8 allow users to create customized groups, such as a sales team, which can share accounts, contacts, opportunities and calendars between members. A social networking feature allows users to track business and social relationships amongst their customers.

Additionally, a segmentation wizard has been added to OnDemand 8 that helps users break down their customer base for targeted marketing. Customers can be segmented by buying patterns or demographics. For example, users can send out an e-mail offering a 10% discount to their best customers.

The social networking and collaboration tools are aimed at larger organizations, while the segmentations tools are being used across the board, Reid said.

"Smaller organizations know they have to get more sophisticated with how they're interacting with customers," he said. "What we're finding is what they initially want to do is move up from keeping track of customers in ACT or GoldMine, or in a spreadsheet."

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