• September 9, 2002
  • By David Myron, Editorial Director, CRM and Speech Technology magazines and SmartCustomerService.com

Siebel and IBM Combat Integration Woes

Industry pundits agree that integration has become one of the more troublesome areas in CRM --- one in which many CRM vendors are trying to simplify. Siebel Systems's enhanced partnership with IBM today aims to do exactly that. More specifically, Siebel announced that IBM will become Universal Application Network (UAN) Technology Global Strategic Partner and will deliver the first major release of Siebel UAN. The solution will operate on the IBM WebSphere Business Integration platform. The agreement marks Siebel's answer to ERP vendors' claims of better integration capabilities between their back-office ERP solutions and their front-office CRM solutions. "We view the agreement as an extension of a very positive relationship we've had with IBM for a number of years," says Jeff Scheel, vice president and general manager of alliances at Siebel. "The agreement shows two proven industry leaders coming together to deliver a combination of their expertise in solving customer driven process challenges." Siebel's UAN provides users with a "software agnostic integration tool to integrate all of the software across the company," says Peter McCullagh, vice president of CRM strategies at Siebel. "Now, I only have to buy one software to connect Siebel to the customer's ERP vendor. The UAN provides customers with a freeway system that allows them to hook everything to it so you end up with one set of connectors and integration." The agreement enables customers to integrate different business applications more quickly and cost effectively, and with less complexity, creating faster ROI. An example of how the UAN on the WebSphere platform could benefit users is in accepting orders. "The creation of a quotation and information about customers and products is very much the domain of Siebel, but it may require integration back into SAP or another legacy backend system. The combination of the business process running end to end with the WebSphere business platform will make it a much more easier problem to solve for our customers and their time to value for their customers will increase," Scheel says. IBM and Siebel will expand their joint marketing and sales programs to bring this solution to customers, including the creation of Joint Solutions Showcase Centers.
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