Takeover battle leaves confusion in its wake

Describing Oracle's bid for PeopleSoft as a "frustrating waste of time", the Australia and New Zealand manager of Siebel Systems Rob McGregor said the takeover battle is simply creating market confusion.

"It has introduced a level of complication to the marketplace that is a distraction. It is just an overhead; I want it over quickly," McGregor said. Supporting the view that consolidation is driving market activity, McGregor said it is reflected in buying decisions with customers consolidating the number of vendors within their organisations.

"Customers are seeking fewer vendors but stronger relationships," he said.

Siebel is positioning itself to take on competitor Salesforce.com by launching an ASP offering in Australia in the next six to eight weeks.

The solution is already established in the US but by launching the new service in Australia organizations locally can combine their in-house packages with a hosted product range.

Admitting that companies are reluctant to talk about CRM these days, McGregor said some customers had been burnt by big projects although there were many that were incredibly successful.

"There is less talk about technology these days because customers want demonstrable ROI; a few years ago the focus was on functionality, bells and whistles, but today it's a business dialogue," he said.

Only last month Siebel announced the acquisition of Ineto Services, a hosted contact centre service that will be integrated into its CRM OnDemand service.

Ineto will give Siebel's SMB OnDemand customers the ability to access a higher level of support, typically available only at the enterprise level. The Ineto acquisition matches Salesforce.com's September 2003 partnership with EchoPass, another hosted contact service supplier.

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