CRM software rankings tell a familiar tale

Siebel and SAP remain the leading enterprise CRM products, but midmarket players like Salesforce.com, RightNow and Microsoft are gaining ground, Forrester says.

There are some familiar names in Forrester Research Inc.'s latest rankings of enterprise CRM suite vendors.

The Cambridge, Mass.-based research firm named Siebel CRM (from Redwood Shores, Calif.-based Oracle Corp.) and Germany's SAP AG as the leaders in its latest Wave report on enterprise CRM suites.

"The CRM market has been in a lot of turmoil," said Bill Band, principal analyst at Forrester and co-author of the report. "Some may say [Siebel and SAP] are the only two vendors people think about. But that's not really the case. There's a wide range of other players out there."

Forrester separates the CRM market into three categories: enterprise CRM suites; midmarket CRM suites; and CRM specialty vendors. In the enterprise category, Forrester evaluated 13 applications. The Siebel and SAP applications emerged on top, but there were plenty of applications Forrester considered strong contenders, including Infor CRM, Epiphany, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Onyx CRM, Oracle's E-Business Suite CRM, PeopleSoft CRM and Siebel CRM OnDemand, RightNow, and Salesforce.com.

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Despite a wave of consolidation in recent years, Oracle's acquisitions of PeopleSoftand Onyx acquisition and Infor's acquired Epiphany.

"The market has settled down, but there are still lots of changes," Band said.

Specifically, as enterprise suite vendors like SAP and Siebel are trying to move down market to capture their share of small and midsized businesses (SMBs), traditional midmarket firms such as Microsoft, RightNow and Salesforce.com are finding success selling to enterprise customers.

"It was a bit of a surprise to us that some of the midmarket suite vendors have become credible for the enterprise market," Band said. "They're definitely a legitimate option, where they may not have been two years ago."

Also, with Epiphany and Onyx being swallowed up by lager companies, they have largely answered the question of vendor viability, Band added.

The Siebel and SAP products have a broad range of functionality, industry-specific capabilities and global support organizations, giving them the most complete applications. But customers face lengthy time-to-value, a lack of flexibility in changing business processes, and higher costs, according to the report. Meanwhile, software as a service (SaaS) vendors Salesforce.com and RightNow are making inroads in the enterprise thanks to the rising popularity of the deployment model, but they lack the breadth of functionality. Microsoft, Forrester concluded, is capitalizing on its platform to capture CRM business but lacks functionality in such areas as e-commerce, channel management and industry-specific business processes.

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