Forrester sees PeopleSoft as Siebel's challenger

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Siebel’s dominance of the CRM market is coming under pressure from SAP and Oracle, but the surprise pretender to the throne is PeopleSoft, according to analyst firm Forrester Research.

In a new report - "Enterprise Service Apps Shootout" - Forrester examines the features, architectures, and integration capabilities of each of the four leading enterprise app suites following interviews from more than 70 individuals at those vendors' customers, partners, and integrators.

The vendors were evaluated in three key areas - market presence, current offering, and strategy. Forrester’s conclusions are that Siebel has a substantial lead in the CRM market, but has problems that are hurting it, including headcount reductions and customer reports of problems in migrating to the latest release of its software. Forrester goes as far as to recommend that customers should skip version 7 and wait for version 8 to come along instead. Nonetheless, Siebel remains the company to beat in competitive pitches.

But buyers are beginning to see the attraction of buying CRM as part of a wider offering from an ERP vendor rather than going for a niche vendor. This trend is supported by systems integrators which are investing in CRM applications from PeopleSoft and SAP. But while Forrester acknowledges that Oracle has done the most to close the functionality gap with Siebel, it is PeopleSoft that will achieve most success outside its ERP installed base. Forrester sees PeopleSoft's greatest strength as its architecture, which includes support for J2EE, MQSeries and SOAP, but notes functional omissions such as lack of e-mail, chat and Web co-browsing capabilities.

As an aside, Forrester concedes that bigger is not always better and that smaller vendors, such as Blue Martini, Chordiant, eGain, E.piphany and Kana, can offer advantages over the main players by offering eservice functionality without the baggage of legacy architectures.

Forrester can be contacted at www.forrester.com

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