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Siebel exec: We're not a one-trick pony

Siebel Systems has returned to the hosted CRM market with a vengeance. After it's initial foray,, was shelved a few years ago, the leader in the enterprise CRM space decided to try its hand once again when it introduced Siebel CRM OnDemand last year. To strengthen its hosted offering, the San Mateo, Calif., company bought online CRM provider UpShot Corp. Recently, it also acquired Ineto Services Inc., a provider of hosted contact center solutions. Rich Reimer, director of product marketing, sat down with to discuss how its new hosted contact center application, Contact OnDemand, will allow them to tap into a new market segment.

What is the make up of your OnDemand customer base?


Article: Siebel to acquire hosted telephony firm

Featured Topic: Siebel CRM OnDemand


 We have well over 1,500 total customers. We're seeing traction across all areas. We've seen deals from two seats to 4,000. When we start to see the large numbers, in many cases, they are divisions or many divisions of large corporations and they're long-time Siebel customers who have a lot of installed seats on premise. Describe Siebel's approach to the hosted market as compared to how you see your competitor's approach?
We're not a one-trick pony. That's what it comes down to. What's really nice about the whole strategy is we're not fighting our customers. We can walk up to our customers and say, "what do you want to do?" It's a solutions approach. So what other functional enhancements can we expect?
Ineto was focused on the inbound voice capabilities. In the second half of the year, we're going to be expanding the channels into CRM OnDemand. We'll be adding inbound email capabilities, outbound voice capabilities, chat and co-browsing. We're investing in resources to make [voice capabilities] fully multi-channel. How many of your on premise customers are using Contact OnDemand?
At this point it's in the double digits because we just introduced it. There's a lot of interest. The [low] total cost of ownership allows lots of SMBs to afford the contact center they couldn't before. But large businesses can also take advantage. They can handle seasonal spikes without handling the infrastructure. People also like the possibility of work-at-home agents. People typically won't drive more than 20 to 25 minutes to work at a call center. With OnDemand, all you need to be an agent is an Internet connection and a phone. Organizations can get people who are more highly qualified than they would otherwise.

 Tell us about the acquisition of Ineto and how Contact OnDemand will affect your approach to selling into the contact center space?
A lot of our customers are focused on [improving] customer service in this [fiscal] environment. If you look at the contacts customers have with companies, over 70% are still going through the voice channel, 15% to 20% are [using] voice mail, 5% to 10% are [using] email and [use of] chat or co-browsing is almost nonexistent. [Our investment in] Ineto allows us to not only provide a hosted contact center application, but also a hosted telephony infrastructure. From a product perspective it's all part of CRM OnDemand. Contact OnDemand is essentially an add-on module. Contact OnDemand can also be used with on-premise applications. Of our customers with Siebel Call Center on premise, more than 70% of those seats we sold do not have CTI [Computer Telephony Integration]. In the enterprise space, 15% to 20% of companies have contact center applications, and 5% of small and medium-sized businesses have [contact center applications]. Within those installed bases, only 20% have CTI infrastructure. It's a big opportunity for us. How is the integration with UpShot's technology progressing?
We've selectively taken technologies from UpShot and implemented them on OnDemand. We recently released the offline edition. It was based upon technology from UpShot that's been on the market for about two and a half years. Outlook email integration should ship in May. That is also technology we leveraged from UpShot that has been on the market for about a year and a half. As we keep augmenting CRM OnDemand, by the middle of the year a lot of the UpShot customers will start moving over. By the end of the year most customers, if not all, will be moved over. We want to make it as seamless as possible. It's important nobody gets forced to move.

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