SAP extends CRM support to Siebel apps

With the help of its subsidiary TomorrowNow, SAP is looking to tempt more customers away from Oracle by extending its Safe Passage program to include third-party support to Siebel customers.

As it readies for Sapphire, its annual user conference set to take place in Orlando this week, SAP today took a shot at its main rival in the enterprise applications business by extending its "Safe Passage" program to include Siebel customers.

@21216 The program, run by Bryan, Tex.-based TomorrowNow Inc., a third-party maintenance and support company which SAP acquired in January 2005, will now include support for Siebel Software versions 5.x, 6.x, 7.0x, 7.5x and 7.7x. TomorrowNow will offer maintenance and support for periods of up to 10 years with new fixes, 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week availability, 30-minute response times and cost savings of up to 50% on annual support fees.

Siebel was acquired by Oracle Corp. last year in a $5.85 billion deal. It brought the largest enterprise CRM applications vendor into the Redwood Shores, Calif.-based company's fold, joining PeopleSoft and J.D. Edwards, acquired the year before. The flurry of acquisitions left SAP and Oracle fighting over customers. Just today, Oracle released an announcement that more than 500 companies have selected Oracle applications over SAP and 2,000 SAP R/3 customers have registered for Oracle's OFF SAP program, which provides a 100% license credit for SAP licenses as customers migrate to Oracle applications.

Under the TomorrowNow plans, Siebel support will be available either bundled as part of the Safe Passage program, a package of software and service intended to introduce Siebel customers to SAP's CRM products, or directly from TomorrowNow for customers who opt to keep their Siebel solutions but seek to save costs on maintenance and support. Safe Passage offers license credits, conversion tools, services from SAP and partners, and project team and end-user training.

TomorrowNow joins Rimini Street, a start-up founded by former TomorrowNow executives, in offering third-party Siebel support. Siebel customers face the potential of escalating CRM maintenance costs now that the company is owned by Oracle. Oracle executives have said that Siebel was under-pricing its maintenance to win license deals.

While some customers may be convinced to switch to SAP applications, most will be interested in simply maintaining support for their existing Siebel applications.

"It parallels what they're doing with PeopleSoft and JD Edwards," Paul Hamerman, vice president with Cambridge, Mass.-based Forrester Research, said of TomorrowNow's latest release. "There are a lot of Siebel customers and some of those customers may be interested in third-party support. A lot of companies feel they're not getting great value with existing support."

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