CRM Announcements and Analysis

By Geoffrey James

SAP announced a second wave of its Safe Passage Program aimed at convincing companies running PeopleSoft and JD Edwards solutions to migrate to a SAP solution. The offering is intended to provide companies with a safe passage away from the uncertainties caused by the acquisition of those software companies by Oracle.
Our take: SAP wants to steal some CRM customers away from PeopleSoft during this time of fear, uncertainty and doubt that naturally accompanies a major corporate acquisition. If you’re a PeopleSoft customer, you’d be crazy not to see what SAP has to offer in terms of an upgrade path. That’s not to say Oracle won’t support PeopleSoft customers. It’s just that there’s going to be a lot of corporate infighting as PeopleSoft blends into Oracle and that, in our experience, will result in product delays.

Siebel announced the availability of CRM OnDemand Release 7, a contact center solution available as a prebuilt option within hosted CRM. It is intended to help businesses manage multichannel customer communications without having to build a traditional contact center infrastructure, which could require costly investments in hardware, software and customization.
Our take: We can’t help but think it’s a little bit funny how Siebel is now all gung ho about the advantages of hosted applications when just a few years ago they were talking about hosted CRM as their erstwhile competition – as if it were the dumbest idea in high tech. Clearly, hosted CRM is the way of the future. Nice to see Siebel getting with the program.

Amdocs, with HP and Sun Microsystems, intends to conduct a scalability test for telecommunications providers using Amdocs’ systems. The test is intended to demonstrate the ability of Amdocs’ software to provide support in a simulated environment of 65 million subscribers, generating two million database transactions per hour.
Our take: Wow! A CRM system with 65 million subscribers! Now that’s something that wasn’t expected until the year 2347, when it’s estimated there will be 687 billion potential customers on the planet. Seriously, CRM systems can experience poor performance during crunch times such as the end of each fiscal quarter. So don’t underestimate the value of knowing your CRM system can handle a heavy load when you need it to work perfectly.

ISM announced the top 15 CRM awards. For the enterprise arena, the winning vendors are (in alphabetical order): Amdocs, Clear, Epiphany, Firstwave, OnContact, Onyx, Optima, Oracle/PeopleSoft, Pivotal, SAP, Saratoga, Siebel, Software Innovation, SSA Global and Tibco. In the SMB arena, the winning vendors are (in alphabetical order): ACCPAC, Ardexus, Axonom, Best, Clear, FrontRange, iETSolutions, Interchange, Maximizer, NetSuite, OnContact, Relavis, Salesforce.com, Salespage, Siebel, StayinFront and Software AG.
Our take: While there’s no question these firms produce high-quality software and have helped their customers achieve higher sales, these lists remind us of a line from the recent movie, The Incredibles. The line, paraphrased slightly, is: Saying that everyone is special is the same thing as saying that nobody is. We suspect ISM president Barton Goldenberg has a shorter list of favorites that he shares with his corporate clients. I’ll bet those lucky execs are getting the real inside scoop, while the rest of us peons just got the long list.