There are only four major enterprise CRM firms left according to Forrester Research - Siebel, Oracle, SAP and Amdocs - which may come as news to the likes of Epiphany or pretenders to the throne like Salesforce.com. Has it really come to this? A choice of four?
Siebel may be down, but it's not out according Forrester Research. The company - which last week warned of yet another quarter of poor financial results - said that Forrester had awareded it the highest score in three evaluations categories : current offering, strategy, and market presence.
In the report, Forrester cites Siebel Systems as the top-rated vendor in multiple key categories, including breadth of offering, industry adaptation, technology, corporate and product strategy, and installed base.
"Siebel offers very strong functionality across all major components of CRM. It continues to offer a clear and compelling vision for CRM, highlighting the importance of the integration of strategy, data, people, process, and technology necessary to improve the end customer experience and drive business results," said Forrester analyst William Band.
"The company's strategy to offer deeply customized industry-specific solutions for all major industry sectors, supported by a deep partner eco-system, supports the promise that it will continue to deliver leading-edge CRM capabilities," he said.
The report also looked at offerings from Amdocs, Oracle and SAP. Band said : "Oracle is attempting to shift the market power away from CRM market leader Siebel through the acquisition of the former No. 2 CRM vendor, PeopleSoft, and combining its products and customers with Oracle's own.2 SAP’s ramp-up of investment in CRM applications development to round out its strength in the back office has improved its position in the CRM big leagues.
"Amdocs’ acquisition in 2001 of the former Nortel/Clarify business creates a fourth well-capitalised player, as smaller companies such as Epiphany and Chordiant are forced into niche positions.
"SAP has grown a substantial customer base for its CRM applications, although the number of active users lags behind other vendors, and it is relatively weak in customer data management capabilities. The company has a deep pool of human resources to develop and market products to all segments of the business applications sector and enjoys consistent revenue growth and profitability.
"[Oracle's] areas of relative weaknesses include marketing and analytics and having fewer industry-customized solutions than major competitors. Oracle’s vision for the CRM market is focused on integration of the functionalities of PeopleSoft into its future Fusion offering, and the promise thereof, of providing technology efficiencies to Oracle customers. The success of this strategy remains to be seen, and Oracle’s target market strategy for CRM is in a state of flux.
"[Amdocs] strategy recognises the importance of improving the end user customer experience through aligning end-to-end processes beyond service, sales, and marketing to include billing and ordering. The company’s solutions are built on an open technology platform, and its solutions are easy to customise and use. Areas where the product is less robust than other vendors include marketing, field service, channel management, and analytics, and the company is partnering with SAS to address some of these gaps."
But overall the prospects for all four vendors looks healthy with market interest picking up again. Band said: "CRM remains one of the most important investment decisions for large enterprises. Enterprises show a continued appetite to invest in revamping their customer-facing processes to drive growth. Spending for new CRM application licenses was $3 billion in 2004 and is anticipated to expand to $3.2 billion in 2005."
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