The cat is now officially out of the bag! Since Oracle bought out Siebel, market commentators have speculated on the Siebel On Demand strategy’s future. The service to date has been based around IBM’s DB2 and Websphere technologies. Despite Oracle’s protestations that it was willing to work with IBM, few believed that there was any long term future for the on demand offering that didn’t involve the Oracle database only.
This week at the Gartner CRM Summit in London, there was a significant concession towards that world view when Anthony Lye, Oracle group VP for CRM products, announced that if customers opt for Siebel 7 as an on-demand service it will be hosted at Oracle's own data centre on Oracle database infrastructure. The existing Siebel CRM On Demand will continue to be hosted on IBM platforms, raising questions about which service takes priority. (Hint: there’s a clue in the name of the company!)
Lye did not say that the original Siebel on demand service would be taken away from IBM - which now has an on demand relationship with SAP - but it's difficult to see how it can continue long term. Lye also significantly and repeatedly refered to Siebel 7 as Oracle’s flagship CRM product - which confirms long standing suspicions among the PeopleSoft CRM user base. It's clear now that Oracle's future Fusion architecture is basically lots of Siebel with a few bits of PeopleSoft (and maybe JDE?) thrown in for good measure.
Lye also took time out to snipe at on demand market leader Salesforce.com. "Salesforce.com has done little more than deliver a very simple, easy to use application for small companies which are less formal about processes and less worried about regulatory issue," he said.
Lye claimed Siebel's on-demand offering represents greater choice for his customers and said servicing customer demand with a choice of on-demand, on-premise and hybrid offerings is far more important than telling users what they have to use."We don't want to dictate a delivery model or pricing model," he added. "Our strategy is not to tell people how to be doing business."