Siebel's 7.0 Web-enabled CRM software shipped

E-business applications vendor Siebel Systems on Tuesday began shipping Siebel 7.0, its latest version of its CRM (customer relationship management) software.

The biggest change to the software is that it is now Web-enabled, with added XML (Extensible Markup Language) and Java-based interfaces that do not require client-level software, Siebel said in a statement.

But because the CRM software itself was not rewritten in Java, it is Web-enabled rather than Web-based. Furthermore, Siebel competitors such as SAP AG and PeopleSoft Inc. released their interactive Web-based CRM applications months ago. SAP announced earlier this month that it was working on bringing co-browsing to its Web-based customer support product in 2002, so as to enable both a customer and customer service agent to share a Web session.

Siebel 7 offers browser-based access that doesn't require special software on the client side, allowing access to the application by remote users, customers and partners, the company said.

According to Siebel, with its Siebel 7, this is the first time the company has been able to offer Internet applications and services for its CRM software, such as the ability to update software over the Internet, which will in turn offer substantial cost savings to its users.

Siebel 7 can also work with handheld wireless devices, allowing business users to access customer and product information remotely. One of its new products is Siebel Sales Handheld 7 for Palm OS which was produced in conjunction with Palm Inc., the company said.

One of the companies that participated in the Siebel 7 beta program and now plans to upgrade its CRM software as a result is the auction house Christie's Inc., Siebel's said.

Christie's could not immediately be reached for comment.

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