Siebel brings customer service to CRM OnDemand

Siebel Systems on Tuesday unveiled Release 7 of CRM OnDemand, a version that integrates the third leg of CRM, customer service, with sales and marketing.

The hosted contact center solution will be offered as a prebuilt option within CRM OnDemand.

Prior to Release 7, Mike Betzer, vice president of Contact OnDemand at Siebel, said that until now, there were "in some instances" separate silos of information in CRM OnDemand and now all customer information resides in a single data repository.

"We have literally taken all of the Contact OnDemand components and enabled them all into our analytics engine," Betzer said.

Calling it a third generation hosted contact center solution, Bruce Cleveland, senior vice president and general manager of OnDemand and SMB at Siebel, took a swipe at archrival, Salesforce.com.

"First generation is what Salesforce.com talks about. They give customers APIs to make solutions. It has an element of risk," said Cleveland. Instead, Cleveland said Siebel's hosted contact center solution is pre-integrated against one database as an extension of CRM.

Elizabeth Roche, vice president at the Meta Group, appeared to agree with Cleveland.

"A lot of people will ask isn't that what Salesforce.com is doing? Not really," Roche said. "The Salesforce approach is one of integrating your own elements into the hosted call center. Siebel is saying you don't have to go out and buy your own CTI [computer telephony integration]. We will do it for you."

Cleveland also hinted at things to come, saying the technology used to create a single OnDemand CRM platform will enable Siebel to do "other integrations." Cleveland would not elaborate, however.

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