IBM, Siebel boost WebSphere, CRM integration
Siebel Business Integration Applications running on IBM's WebSphere Business Integration platform are being co-marketed and sold under an evolving partnership agreement disclosed jointly this month by the two companies.
Officials from both firms note that the partnership is not new, but has been upgraded significantly. IBM (www.ibm.com) and Siebel Systems (www.Siebel.com) have been cooperating for more than five years, said Paraic Sweeney, vice president of marketing for WebSphere Business Integration at IBM. But the relationship has now reached the point where Siebel's CRM applications on the WebSphere platform comprise what the two companies call the Universal Application Network (UAN) to integrate with key enterprise applications. This level of CRM integration is meeting a demand from businesses, Sweeney added.
"The simple, practical-matter CRM systems need to work in combination with the range of enterprise applications to derive full value," Sweeney explained. "When you think about it, it's a fairly logical conclusion to draw. You can manage the customer relationship through a system like Siebel, but to get the value out of that data store -- and the process knowledge and insight into the customer -- you really need to connect it in an automated fashion to your logistics systems, service management system, billing system, pricing algorithm, etc. Because there's no point in knowing that a customer has changed their address, for example, and having your call center operators and your sales team understand that, if you still continue to send the bills and deliveries to the previous address."
This need for "customer synchronization" across enterprise systems is one of the key initial drivers for the UAN as IBM and Siebel envision it, Sweeney said. A major target market for the IBM-Siebel combo will be financial services, followed closely by communications companies and media companies, he noted.
Rich Seeley is Web Editor for Campus Technology.