Siebel Systems' global alliance with the mid-range enterprise resource planning (ERP) vendor, Great Plains Software, has received a cool response from the channel and analysts.
Siebel, which has focused on establishing a position in the enterprise customer relationship management (CRM) market, claimed the link-up will extend its reach into the midrange. In return, Great Plains hopes the deal will make it more visible in the competitive European ERP market.
The alliance will sell a front office midmarket application, marketed as Great Plains Siebel Front Office and will be available exclusively through authorised partners.
Nick Hewson, an independent CRM analyst, said: "I'm not so sure that the market is ready for this. CRM applications are proving to be very complicated for all software vendor sales people to understand.
"Great Plains has a comprehensive channel, but it will take at least a year before there's any substantial progress," he added.
Chairman John Tate, of Tate Bramald, a Great Plains reseller, said: "Two hypothesis need to be tested. First, can CRM be the next big thing and second, how much is this deal geared to ERP as opposed to the mid market? It may be slow to adopt but I believe it will work.
"Finance is increasingly a back office operation. Companies have to have it but it doesn't add a great deal of value. This is where something like CRM can come in," Tate pointed out.
Neil Robertson, managing director of Great Plains, said: "We were well below expectations earlier in the year. Things have picked up in the past couple of months, but we're still behind. This relationship will help us get to a wider market. It will broaden the appeal."
Phil Robinson, alliances director at Siebel, added: "It's true there are more CRM vendors in the midmarket, but this is an opportunity for us to show product superiority in an important market."
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