Having completed the purchase of Siebel Systems Inc on January 31, Oracle Corp has started to outline its plans for integration and development.
As it had previously said, the core Fusion CRM features will be based on Siebel functionality, augmented by the most important functions from the Oracle, PeopleSoft, and JD Edwards CRM application set, although these are yet to be defined. While it makes sense from Oracle’s point of view and in a development sense, it does spell the end of the non-Siebel CRM applications, or more specifically the principles behind their mode of operation.
It could create consternation among PeopleSoft CRM users in particular because prior to the Siebel acquisition there was an expectation that the PeopleSoft CRM application would form the CRM aspect of Fusion. However, Oracle is still committing to the scheduled releases of Siebel 8.0, PeopleSoft CRM 9.0, JD Edwards CRM 8.12, and Oracle E-Business Suite 12 during 2006, with extended support beyond that.
Oracle is looking at future developments in terms of end-to-end business processes rather than specific areas of CRM functionality so in the immediate future it will concentrate on building out-of-the-box integration between Siebel and applications in the Oracle portfolio based on select solutions to enable specific processes. The details are expected to be released over the next three months.
Oracle and Siebel developments will be based around standards such as BPEL and XML and there will be a move to optimize the applications for Oracle Fusion middleware. Oracle will also move toward the development of a single customer data hub based on elements from both Oracle’s and Siebel’s current offerings but in the meantime it will continue to sell and support both hubs.
During the acquisition process Oracle had changed its plans for Siebel Component Assembly, formerly known as Nexus, as it learned more about the technology. The current plan is to continue to support customers who are already using Siebel applications on the platform, and Oracle is devising new support policies. In the longer term it intends to port the current SCA applications to the Oracle Fusion Middleware platform in order to maintain architectural and technical consistency with the Fusion applications.
Oracle dismissed fears that the Siebel addition would slow down its Fusion development plans. It said the SCA technology will accelerate some aspects of its work because it is similar in design to Oracle’s SOA developments, while the plan to use much of the CRM capability will help to maintain development timelines.
Analytics is another area where Oracle is planning to use much of Siebel’s functionality, integrating its CRM analytics with Oracle’s ERP analytics on both a platform and an operational application level. It is taking a wait-and-see stance on future developments, and is waiting for customer feedback. Similarly the Siebel on-demand operation is being left to continue operating as before with no planned changes.
One unusual aspect of Oracle’s plans is that Siebel is receiving different treatment to PeopleSoft and JD Edwards because they were immediately integrated on an operational level with merged operations and sales teams. Siebel appears to be continuing on a semi-independent basis as Oracle maintains a dedicated CRM organization and a separate dedicated analytics operation. Although set to sell CRM and analytics from the complete Oracle portfolio, in practice they are likely to be vehicles for Siebel software. Separate divisions are at odds with Oracle’s product-level plans where it wants to provide integrations that deliver specific end-to-end processes rather than offering broad level offerings.