IBM Corp’s days as the host for the Siebel CRM on-demand service could be numbered, as Oracle Corp revealed that the hosted version of the Siebel 7 platform is being run from Oracle’s own data center.
During an on-demand panel debate during the Gartner CRM forum in London yesterday, Anthony Lye, group VP for CRM products, said that although the original Siebel CRM on-demand service is hosted by IBM, when customers opt for Siebel 7 as an on-demand service it is hosted at Oracle’s own data center.
Oracle offers a range of CRM deployment models embracing on demand and on premise, including the option of running Siebel 7 in its traditional on-premises mode or as a hosted service.
When Oracle first announced its intention to buy Siebel, one of the key questions was what it would do with the Siebel CRM On Demand offering, which was architected on the IBM WebSphere platform and hosted by arch rival IBM.
Although Oracle maintained there was no reason to pull the Siebel service from IBM and that it had vastly improved its working relationship with IBM, the question has continued to hang in the air.
It was difficult to see how Oracle could continue doing business with one of its prime rivals in the database and middleware areas in this new and high growth area, especially given Oracle’s public assertion that if it enters a market it aims to lead the market.
The incongruity of the Oracle/Siebel/IBM relationship was also highlighted last month when SAP AG announced that IBM would be hosting its new on-demand CRM offering.
Although Lye did not say that the native Siebel on demand service was being pulled from IBM, it would be the logical conclusion and changes the question of whether Oracle would split with IBM over on demand, to one of when.
If Oracle does take over hosting provision for Siebel CRM On Demand it will likely port it to its own database and middleware platforms, which would impact Siebel CRM On demand customers in terms of how the Siebel service and related integrations fit with the rest of their own infrastructures. It also suggests that Siebel 7 is only available on a hosted basis to those opting for an Oracle platform.
Lye also referred to Siebel 7 as Oracle’s flagship CRM product, making its long term dominant position explicit. The best of PeopleSoft and JD Edwards CRM technology may be added in to future developments but it is clear that Oracle CRM users will be using a modified version of Siebel 7 if they stick with the Fusion program.