In the News

By Geoffrey James

Here are some significant industry announcements that have occurred in the last month.

Salesforce.com completed a SAS 70 (Statement on Auditing Standards No. 70) Type II audit of its online CRM service by a nationally recognized public accounting firm, which can help salesforce.com customers and their auditors address the requirements of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. A SAS 70 Type II audit often is required by public companies for compliance requirements or for companies that want assurance that a service organization’s processes, procedures and controls described in the report are operating effectively. Our take: Work with your CFO to determine to what extent SAS 70 is an issue in your firm’s financial statement requirements.

Siebel Systems announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Natick, Massachusetts-based edocs, a leading provider of eBilling and customer self-service software solutions. edocs provides a software platform for eBilling and customer self-service. Siebel intends to integrate its CRM and business intelligence solutions with edocs’ eService, self-service and eBilling platform to provide a complete customer self-service solution. Our take: Siebel has been aggressive in adding new features to its product suite. Over time we expect Siebel to expand to an application set that covers nearly every aspect of corporate computing.

Oracle announced Oracle Portal, an environment that allows companies to build, integrate, administer and deploy customized portals that can publish, manage and access data with an extensible framework for Web-based technology. The company is targeting the public sector, energy, media and technology industries. Our take: As mentioned earlier in this newsletter, sales portals are a good way to improve sales productivity without forcing sales reps to learn a new application or perform extensive data entry. We give a thumbs up to Oracle for making sales portals easier.

PeopleSoft announced a new global reseller agreement with contact center software vendor Genesys Telecommunications Laboratories, Inc. The two companies will collaborate on product roadmaps and continue the development of solutions that combine Genesys contact center software and PeopleSoft Enterprise CRM applications. Genesys’ software routes customer interactions across communication channels to the appropriate service agent or company resource. Our take: We expect PeopleSoft to continue to release products, but believe it eventually will be absorbed into Oracle, which has purchased the company. We counsel caution during this period of uncertainty.

SAP announced a new service offering that evaluates security settings across customers’ SAP system landscape to identify and eliminate potential vulnerabilities and minimize the risk of unauthorized intrusions. Following the evaluation, customers receive a detailed analysis of security gaps and vulnerabilities that are prioritized according to severity and probability and action plans on how to resolve them. The action plans can be carried out by the customer or by security consultants from SAP Consulting and SAP partners. Our take: It’s about time. Security inside many CRM systems is abominable and represents a danger to companies on many levels. Think about it: What if your main competitor had secret access to your CRM system?