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Oracle OpenWorld Day 3: Siebel CRM offered with familiar UIs

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15th Oct 2009
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Oracle will offer users the ability to run Siebel CRM with an Outlook or Lotus Notes front end interface out of the box.

Oracle's Social CRM push evolved a bit further this week with a commitment to allow users to run Siebel in Microsoft Outlook or Lotus Notes out of the box rather than using the Siebel interface.

"We face the commoditisation of our products," Anthony Lye, Oracle senior vice president of CRM told delegates at Oracle OpenWorld. "We have less and less value and are faced with a challenge: differentiate on price - never a really good strategy - or choose to differentiate on relationship. The relationship is the way that makes you different. Increasingly it's more important than the products you deliver."

What the new Outlook and Notes commitment means is that users will no longer have to work with the Siebel user interface, a point picked up by Shauna Della, vice president of sales IT at HP. HP has consolidated 49 global Siebel 7.5 installations into one global installation of Siebel 8.0 onto three regional instances.

"Outlook integration is something we're real excited about. Our sales guys live in Outlook,” she said. "You need never go to the Siebel UI. You can manage forecasts, opportunities, all of the CRM data that persists in MS Outlook or Lotus Notes. And, over the course of the coming months, we'll be shipping plug ins to bring it to prior versions of Siebel."

Hot topic

Social CRM has been a hot topic for Oracle for several years and is clearly going to remain at the heart of the CRM strategic direction. “Customers want to talk to other customers and these conversations are happening in Facebook and other social media,” said Lye. “It’s important for enterprises to listen to these conversations and take action.”

But he cautioned companies not to get too paranoid about tracking and worrying about every comment that's made. “If no one cares, it’s irrelevant,” he said. “If you react to every single request, you’re serving the world and you don’t have a customer.”

Another new development will be a new Siebel Visualisation Toolkit which will allow users to extend Siebel data and business processes through development frameworks like Eclipse and Jdeveloper. “Instead of publishing an API and wishing you the best of luck we want to encourage you to do these in a more tightly coupled environment," explained Lye. "You can use JDeveloper, Visual Studio Eclipse, but have apps and UIs managed in the Siebel repository. You can now basically expose Siebel data through the REST API and build composite apps in a number of days and deliver capabilities to a number of devices in a number of channels."

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