Siebel Systems Inc. said that customers running the latest version of its enterprise CRM suite on Linux now have the option of using IBM's DB2 Universal Database on the back end.
Stacy Schneider, senior architecture manager for the San Mateo, Calif.-based CRM vendor, said the extended support for DB2 is part of her company's larger plan to provide more options to customers running the open source operating system in the coming year.
Siebel will unveil Web server support for its CRM suite on Linux by the first quarter of 2005, followed by application server support later in the year, Schneider explained.
"The reason why we did this is to meet growing customer demand, particularly in the public and finance sectors," she said.
Siebel 7.7 users wishing to add DB2 support can do so by downloading a maintenance update from the Siebel Web site, Schneider added.
Siebel's latest move points to a growing trend among CRM vendors, many of whom are looking to Linux as a means to combat CRM's reputation for being heavy on cost and light on ROI.
CRM vendors have been unveiling or announcing plans for Linux support in increasing numbers over the last several years.
E.piphany Inc., also located in San Mateo, Calif., this week said it would offer Linux-supported CRM by the end of 2004 through a partnership with Red Hat Inc. in Raleigh, N.C.
Germany's SAP AG has been offering its mySAP Business Suite on Linux since the end of 1999.
Pleasanton, Calif.-based PeopleSoft Inc. supports Linux for its Enterprise line of software and has pledged Linux support for the next version of its midmarket applications, called EnterpriseOne.
Michael Dominy, a senior analyst with the Boston-based Yankee Group, said that Siebel's newly added support for DB2 on Linux is not surprising, given the company's long history of cooperation with IBM.
The analyst said that to be successful, CRM vendors need to be able operate on multiple platforms. And support for low-cost Linux also makes CRM vendors a more attractive choice for small and medium-sized companies, which are always looking to cut costs.
"Customers who are trying to sell in different [market] segments might run a variety of hardware and software products," Dominy said. "The reason that Siebel is doing this is to open up the addressable market in the IBM customer base."
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