IBM eyes CRM growth with Siebel

Foreseeing dramatic growth in the middle market for CRM software, IBM will officially announce this week an extension of its business relationship with Siebel Systems to 'complex, multi-million dollar' companies in the sub-Fortune 500 realm.

Foreseeing dramatic growth in the middle market for CRM (customer relationship management) software, IBM will officially announce this week an extension of its business relationship with Siebel Systems to "complex, multi-million dollar" companies in the sub-Fortune 500 realm.

The duo, which first unveiled joint efforts last November, will make a major sales and marketing foray into the mid-market with "dedicated sales teams" and the training of IBM personnel on Siebel technology, said Mark Ryan, vice president of marketing for the IBM Global Midmarket Business.

Ryan also said that IBM anticipates that the CRM mid-market will be $US10 billion this year and will have an annual growth rate of 23%. IBM defines middle level businesses as those with 100 to 1000 employees, he said.

IBM will be reselling Siebel eBusiness 2000 as well as an "optimised" version of Siebel's eBusiness 2000 software, the just released Mid-Market Edition, which has fewer functions than packages offered for the high-end, said Steve Garnett, IBM vice president of partner alliances at Siebel.

The Siebel software will run on IBM RS/6000 and Netfinity Servers, IBM ThinkPad notebook PCs and NetVista desktop PCs, as well as IBM's DB2 Universal Database, the MQ-Series, CallPath middleware, and IBM's Websphere and Websphere Commerce Suite offerings for Web-based computing.

The AS/400 port, announced this past June, will not be available until the fourth quarter of this year.

As part of this announcement, Siebel will be able to target its Siebel eBusiness offerings to IBM's 90,000 Business Partners, Garnett said, adding that Siebel took a measured approach to this market segment because of the challenge of working with IBM.

"With the size of IBM ... it would be very easy for us to bite off more than we could chew," Garnett said.

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