There’s no future in CRM. Who says so? Well, Tom Siebel unfortunately, so there’s clearly some weight behind the statement when the head of the best known CRM firm argues that automated business processes and web services are the future.
Speaking at DCI's Customer Relationship Management Conference in New York, Siebel pronounced the end of the CRM industry in its current form. "There's no market for CRM," said Siebel. "It's not there. This market's tough. Hundreds if not thousands of companies have already gone out of business and we're not done yet. Eighty per cent of the companies you see here today won't be back here in two years.
“There's a lot of companies trying to get into the space and they're building generic sales force automation, customer service or marketing software. But they're going after a market that doesn't exist. There's no market for CRM in the insurance industry, but there's a market for insurance CRM,” he explained, adding that web service would be key to this shift in emphasis. "Companies that don't make the transition to Web services are going to be like the companies that didn't make the transition to client/server.”
Web services will also play their part in tackling the application integration issues facing most end user companies. "Companies who survive and prosper by the end of the decade are the companies who will have solved the [application integration] problem," said Siebel, adding that too many rival vendors were trivialising the issue.
"We've had the integration argument presented by Oracle and SAP that says tying together your ERP, your supply chain and your CRM is the holy grail of integration. But it's not that trivial. It's an enormously complicated problem. We're not talking about tying together three applications. We're tying together 5,000 at General Motors and 400 at Marriott."
Shamelessly plugging Siebel’s Universal Application Network strategy, he said it would allow his company's software to support both .Net and J2EE-based application servers. This mean there was room for both, he added. . "We have multiple standards for operating systems, multiple standards for relational databases, we'll have multiple standards for application servers," he said. "And we'll support them all."