CRM giant Siebel Systems will next month ship the integration software that will allow its customers to link hosted versions of its applications with enterprise class versions installed on-site.
Siebel has this week made available a European version of its hosted application, with multi-language and currency support.
On 7 May it will ship the Universal Application Network product which can integrate hosted versions of its software with those installed on customers' premises.
This will allow businesses to widen the number of users with access to CRM applications, while maintaining a fuller version of the software for power users.
Branch offices where IT support is minimal will be still be able to access a CRM system that integrates fully with head offices.
"There are whole areas of firms where it is not appropriate to do a full install," said David Schmaier, executive vice president at Siebel.
"But they can now have a system without any implementation work, and which links to the main database."
Siebel has seen its dominance of the CRM market undermined by increased competition from dedicated hosting vendor Salesforce.com and Microsoft's entry into low-end sales.
In response, the vendor was forced to make a humiliating U-turn and revive abandoned plans for hosted software that it ditched two years ago, albeit under the new name of CRM On Demand.
But there had been fears that its existing customers would ditch on-site products for the cheaper hosted option.
"There are some companies that will never shift to a hosted service. They will always want the deep functionality of our on-premises software," said Schmaier.
Customers now have the choice of a full implementation, a "fast and easy" option or a hybrid of both, he added.
Siebel's CRM On Demand is available at €70 per user per month.
The company also began shipping the latest version of its enterprise software, Siebel 7.7, which will dramatically reduce the cost associated with installing, tuning and running the software, according to chairman and chief executive Tom Siebel.
"We've spent seven years adding functionality to our software, and now we want to lower the cost of running that software. That's what our customers told us they wanted," he said.
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