(phew, what a bold title...)
Fellow Siebel connaisseur and book reviewer, Oli recently asked me how the - just recently GA'ed - Oracle Fusion Applications and - the not-so-young-anymore - Siebel CRM are related.
I answered the question in a quick comment. However, I find it important to point out a few things about how Oracle (publicly) sees the future of its homegrown (eBusiness Suite) and acquired "legacy" apps (PeopleSoft, JD Edwards, Siebel, Retek et al.) in reference to its latest offering. At this point it seems legit to reconfirm the blog disclaimer that all opinions expressed on these pages are my own and not necessarily my employers.
1. Siebel CRM is mature
Believe it or not, Siebel CRM as we know it has been introduced to the vain market of enterprise applications 16 years ago. Version 8 (available since 2007) is considered the last milestone release. Over the last years we could observe a slowdown in the somewhat frantic release cycles (compared to Siebel 7) and as a result, most customers are happy with their current Siebel 8.0 or 8.1.1 release and some of them already on the limited 8.2 release.
Siebel 8.x is the culmination of thousands of person years (and billions of dollars) of investment in what is - in my humble opinion - the most flexible framework for enterprise applications on the market with more than 60 horizontal and industry-specific applications. The functionality of these applications fills tens of thousands of bookshelf pages.
So the point is, the thing is mature. As a natural result of this analysis, Oracle has put Siebel CRM under the "Applications Unlimited" umbrella. Which means:
There will be support, maintenance releases and - announced at OpenWorld recently - innovation packs (delivering cross-release functionality for customers who want to avoid costly upgrades).
|Siebel and CRM OnDemand Roadmap from Oracle's Fusion Applications Overview presentation.|
This does not mean that Siebel CRM is dead, it's just mature and has the best of its years still ahead of it (and so do thousands of technicians who make their living with Siebel CRM).
2. Fusion Applications are real
If you followed the buzz around OpenWorld 2011 just a little bit, you might have already gotten the message that Fusion Applications are - after 6 years of development - now generally available. Oracle has thoughtfully prepared the market with 200 early adopter customers and by training thousands of internal and partner staff (sales and tech).
|Fusion Applications screenshot from Oracle's flickr set.|
3. The relationship of Siebel CRM and Oracle Fusion CRM
One of the main principles of the Fusion Applications development effort was to bring the best ideas, architectural patterns and business practices of all "legacy" applications (eBusiness Suite, PeopleSoft, JD Edwards, Siebel CRM, Retek, etc) into the new suite.
So the trained eye will see typical "Siebel patterns" in Fusion CRM. On the other hand, the requirements for CRM have drastically changed in the last years, so there are lots of new things as well.
4. Customers Options
From the very first public presentations, Oracle has always made clear the following options for customers:
1. Stay with your legacy application
For customers who wish to preserve their investment in Siebel CRM and other Oracle "legacy" apps, Oracle recommends to upgrade to a mature release (e.g. Siebel 8.1.1) and flock under the "Applications Unlimited" umbrella.
Customers who wish to augment their existing legacy app with new functionality offered by the Fusion Applications stack can easily do so, because Fusion Applications are designed from ground up to co-exist with Oracle's legacy apps.
For example, you could augment Siebel CRM with Oracle Fusion Applications Incentive Compensation.
3. Embrace Fusion Applications
You (or your CIO) are convinced that Fusion Applications is the next big thing and you want to ditch all those dinosaur apps (or you don't even have them), then Oracle will gladly serve the licenses for Fusion Applications.
|Fusion Applications adoption choices for customers, from Oracle's overview presentation.|
In my personal opinion (expressed throughout the above article), I believe that Siebel CRM is not dead. Too many hours and dollars/euros/rubel have been spent by customers in Siebel projects to naively believe that they will just dump it all for version 1 of Fusion CRM.
While I usually don't do to much IT crystal balling, we should see another decade of thriving Siebel projects but there is a new flower in the garden which we shouldn't neglect (translates to: WAKE UP and get TRAINED on Fusion Applications ;-)
have a nice day