Siebel, IBM to offer hosted CRM in Europe and Asia

Siebel Systems and IBM plan to offer their joint service, Siebel CRM (customer relationship management) OnDemand, in Europe from mid-May, and in Asia within two months, they announced at the Siebel User Week in Cannes, on Wednesday.

Siebel said in February that Siebel CRM OnDemand had attracted 20,000 users since its U.S. launch, at $70 per user, per month, at the end of 2003. At Euro 70 (US$83) per month, per user and with U.K. English, French, German, Spanish and Italian language versions now available, Siebel and IBM hope to make even greater inroads into the European market, said Ken Rudin, Siebel's vice president and general manager of Siebel CRM OnDemand.

When the product was advertised in North America last year, Siebel received 40,000 inquiries, and more than half were from outside North America, he said.

"There is much higher demand in Europe. There's a higher percentage of smaller companies that have been suffering for the past decade because CRM needed significant resources, in terms of time and investment," Rudin said.

Enterprise customers may well be interested too, Rich Stomp, IBM's vice president and general manager of the IBM/Siebel alliance, said on Wednesday.

"Enterprise customers may want it for departmental use, or for occasional users. Or there will even be some enterprise customers that use it to automate their entire operations, which are currently running on older technology, and they can upgrade to the enterprise version later if they want," he said.

Siebel and IBM will announce a service in Asia in the next two to three months, in Japanese, Chinese and Korean, he said.

The hosted software can work with established in-house Siebel software, while APIs (application programming interfaces) based on XML (Extensible Markup Language)/SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) standards will allow straightforward integration with other applications, too, Siebel said.

The software will be delivered using IBM's e-business Hosting Services, the companies said. It will be available "in the coming weeks" and a 30-day free trial will be offered, the companies said.

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