Siebel is promising to make the next release of its customer relationship management (CRM) software much easier to install and customise, to reduce the total cost of ownership by almost 40 per cent.
But actually delivering such savings will be a "stretch" for the software maker, analysts have warned.
Siebel 7.7, provisionally scheduled to ship in April 2004, will be easier to install, manage and configure, according to the company.
"We're targeting a 39 per cent reduction in the total cost of ownership for customers moving from version 7.5 to 7.7," said Neil Morgan, Siebel's EMEA vice president of marketing.
Siebel 7.7 will also see enhancements to its analytic capabilities, and enhanced wireless support. And Siebel has been pushing its hosted CRM software, to combat the threat from rivals Salesforce.com.
"It's looking at more out-of-the-box functionality, cutting down on customisations, and has spent time saying where they see the savings," said Lewis Columbus, senior analyst at AMR Research.
"But they're on the right track, and it will now be a test as to whether they can meet those targets."
Teresa Jones, senior research analyst at Butler Group, said the announcement showed that Siebel had listened to the concerns of customers, who had previously found the software difficult to use.
"Total cost of ownership has been an issue. Even if licence costs are not insignificant, the costs of deployment have scaled dramatically," she said.
"Preconfiguring a greater proportion of the application for specific industries will allow them to tackle some of this cost," she said.
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