We'll be top in hosted CRM by 2004, boasts Siebel

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Tom Siebel emphasised his born again commitment to hosted CRM by boasting that his company will be number one in this space by next year.

Speaking at the Comdex trade show in Las Vegas, Siebel claimed that Siebel’s CRM OnDemand offering would knock salesforce.com off its perch. Two years ago Siebel predicted that there was no way salesforce.com would exist in a year’s time.

"It's highly likely that in 2004 we will be the world's leading provider of hosted CRM," he claimed. "We'll develop a very large-scale, go-to-market effort in 2004, perhaps one of the most significant efforts in 2004."

Salesforce.com claims around 8,000 customers, for a total of almost 120,000 seats deployed. Siebel has about 4,500 customers for its software altogether, about 2 million seats worldwide. But its previous venture in online hosting was canned in 2001. This time around it’s pushing into the market in partnership with IBM.

Siebel said the company won't expand into a new market niche until it believes it can attain at least 50 percent market share. "The leaders will have 50 per cent share, the second 15 percent, the third 10 per cent, and the rest fragmentary," he explained. "When the market turns down, it tends to be only the market leader that can generate cash. The others get cleansed out. We are very careful about entering markets.

"We've reinvented the company many times over the years," he said. "It's clear from listening to our customers that this is an area they want us to be in."

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