New Alliances and New Products at Siebel's User Week

As announced at Siebel Systems' annual User Week event, Siebel CRM customers will have a wider-than-ever range of choices for business intelligence (BI) and analytics--and for the first time, the company will compete directly with incumbents like SAS to provide analytic tools for customers outside its own installed base.

Although Siebel has provided analytic capabilities to customers for some time, the new Siebel Business Analytic Applications collection is designed to run both in Siebel user environments and other business scenarios. "We have enhanced and deepened our customer analytics applications, and extended them across the entire analytical chain of the organization: sales, service, marketing, supply chain and procurement, strategic outsourcing, workforce and human resources," says Larry Barbetta, group vice president and general manager of Siebel Business Analytics. Siebel claims more than 400 "strategic commitments" to its analytic suite.

Real-time BI, as targeted by Siebel Business Analytics and others in the industry, is seen as one of the final links in the chain to deliver on the early promise of CRM."BI has become prime time," said Barbetta in a User Week presentation. "The next area of value is unlocking the insight from data."

To accomplish those goals, BI has to be integrated into the business processes driven by CRM. "We need to give terabytes of data in real-time to thousands of users," which requires shifting the CRM analytic mentality from scheduled transactional reporting to intelligent interactions, providing customer insight at the moment of interaction.

Siebel also announced new or strengthened initiatives with many of its strategic platform partners at the event. Among the key announcements:

  • Siebel reinforced its relationship with data integration specialist Informatica, announcing that the Informatica data unification technology is at the center of the entire range of Siebel business analysis applications.
  • Siebel and Sun Microsystems announced that the enterprise application server layer of Siebel Enterprise Edition is being ported to Sun's Solaris x86 operating system for Intel and AMD-based platforms. "The end goal is to benefit [Siebel's] end customer base with huge benefits in price-performance, scalability, and security," says Steve Borcich, Sun vice president of market development and industry marketing.
  • Siebel Business Analytics now operates on Teradata's high-end enterprise data warehouses.
  • Siebel and Microsoft are working to enable and optimize Siebel's analytic applications for Microsoft platforms such as MS SQL Server 2005 and .Net Web Services.
  • Siebel and IBM have deepened their services relationship. IBM Business Consulting Services will offer fast-track analytics integration and also announced a five-year commitment to a "client delivery center" intended to develop advanced processes to better serve joint customers of the two organizations.

    Siebel did not answer all of the questions about its competitive future at User Week, but the company strongly addressed a number of potential gaps in its strong emphasis on analytics and expanded service offerings. "The pluses [for Siebel] had to be the introduction of the global services initiative, and the BI summit," says Denis Pombriant, managing principal at Beagle Research Group.

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