Customer relationship management (CRM) software from Siebel Systems Inc will be optimized to selected Microsoft Corp’s .NET servers, desktop software and development tools.
Siebel’s eBusiness Applications will be integrated with Microsoft’s BizTalk Server, Windows .NET Server 2003, SQL Server, Exchange Server, Office and Visual Studio.NET. The companies will also undertake joint development, sales, marketing and customer support.
San Mateo, California-based Siebel called the deal – announced at the opening of its User Week Conference in Los Angeles, California – a dramatic expansion in the companies’ relationship, adding the multi-year agreement would deliver enterprise solutions that fully exploit web services.
Microsoft’s chairman and chief software architect Bill Gates said in a statement Siebel’s experience in sales, marketing, service best practices and business processes combined with .NET would help enterprises react to business change.
The announcement follows days of will-they-won’t-they speculation suggesting Siebel would be acquired by Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft, sparked by news Gates would appear as a conference speaker. News of the deal comes after Microsoft cancelled a Siebel reseller deal in August, which it inherited with the acquisition of Great Plains.
The deal represents potentially a massive step-forward in Microsoft’s emerging CRM and enterprise resource planning (ERP) strategy. That strategy saw Microsoft acquire Great Plains Software in December 2000 and Navision A/S in July this year, putting Microsoft on a footing to take its CRM into mid-market customers.
Microsoft followed-up by setting out its e-business roadmap in September, outlining a CRM application, Business Solutions Professional Services Automation, Retail Management System, a portal product and data exchange software to exchange data over the internet with both partners and customers.
Microsoft said the Siebel deal is aimed at corporate customers. eBusiness Applications gives Microsoft access to a suite of tools available on zero footprint web clients, 20 vertical industries and 20 languages.
BizTalk Server also becomes the sixth integration server to support Siebel’s Universal Application Network (UAN). UAN includes a library of prepackaged industry specific business processes based on best practices, a process design tool and an integration server to execute business processes and co-ordinate communication between applications. Others backing UAN include IBM and San Jose, California-based BEA Systems Inc.