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What next for a mixed SAP-Siebel shop?

We have Siebel for CRM and use SAP pretty much for the rest of our ERP needs. We're a little confused about what we should do about Siebel -- should we upgrade it, phase it out, migrate to SAP, pick a third party product to migrate to?

We have Siebel for CRM and use SAP pretty much for the rest of our ERP needs. We're a little confused about what we should do about Siebel -- should we upgrade it, phase it out, migrate to SAP, pick a third party product to migrate to? Any advise would be much appreciated.
If it's any consolation, you're part of a growing club of Siebel users who are trying to figure out which of a confusing array of options would be the best to go with. I generally start with the glass half-empty question: do you know that you definitely want to be off Siebel in the next two years? If the answer is yes, your first option is to figure out what you want to replace it with. Which begs the next question: are you currently or soon planning to deeply integrate your CRM functions with SAP? If the answer to that is yes, you're home free. Pick up on SAP's new Safe Passage program so that you can stop paying maintenance fees for Siebel, and get ready for a migration to SAP CRM.

Of course, the world isn't as clear-cut for the rest of you, and in fact one of the first things you'll have to...

do is start making some very hard decisions. The good news – though it muddies the water somewhat – is that if you want to stay with Siebel, Oracle is now saying they will not only support your system but actually upgrade it and provide innovations based on the Siebel code base. That means you can stay put pretty much as long as you would like. If you're uncertain about Siebel, from a cost or complexity standpoint, now's the time to look for alternatives. If there's a lot of CRM integration with SAP in play or in the works, look closely at SAP CRM. There are a lot of ways in which SAP is prepared to make it easy for you to get on board.

But if there's a lot of integration at stake with Oracle, or some third party systems, you may want to consider Oracle Fusion as a future direction. Oracle will of course integrate well with its own systems, and Fusion Middleware is designed to provide a lot of third party integration as well. (So is SAP's NetWeaver, by the way.)

Regardless, these are not easy decisions, and shouldn't be made hastily or in a vacuum. Do your research, engage the vendors, and plan carefully. Either way, upgrade or migration, it's not going to be a walk in the park.

This was last published in May 2006

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