From Siebel to Salesforce – And Back Again

When I look back at my IT career so far, most of my activities revolved around CRM. As a fresh hire at Siebel Systems Germany, I loved and lived by the company credo “It’s all about the customer”. And indeed, those who implement CRM with the customer in mind are less likely to fail.

And yes, I can see your eyeballs roll up, but why are we here? Why are you reading this blog, why am I writing it. Because of your and my customers who enable us to make a living on what we love most. Good Software.

In those early years at Siebel (until the Oracle acquisition in 2005), there was one competitor emerging in what was then not yet called the Cloud (it was just the Internet, but who cares). This competitor – yep, Salesforce – had a motto which didn’t really ring with me: “No Software”.

Even if I got it that they referred to the customer who didn’t need to run any software (apart from a browser), it sounded strange (and they stopped using it years ago).

The Cloud hype was yet to come and Siebel CRM – the on-premise Wunderkind – was often compared to Salesforce – the Cloud genius, which to me was the proverbial apples against oranges situation.

You simply cannot put two systems against each other with one of them designed to serve the requirements of the largest global corporations with hundreds of thousands of users and the other designed to enable CRM from the small and medium businesses upward.

Both Siebel CRM and Salesforce have been/are successful for a reason. While Siebel is seen to be on the decline – it is simply too expensive for smaller companies and they now have a solid Cloud-based alternative – Salesforce is riding high on the hype wave.

So when I retired from Oracle and thought about a business model that would sustain my family for the next years, it was an easy decision to offer my customers support for whatever journey in CRM they book. Either full Cloud or full on-premise, blacksheep IT consulting shall be your savvy guide on the journey.

So my personal journey started with the best-in-class on-premise CRM and is now going full speed with the best-in-class Cloud-based CRM. And it feels good to draw from over 20 years of enterprise software experience.

Just recently, I conducted a workshop at one of the largest Siebel CRM customers in EMEA. The first half was about innovations in Siebel 17 and later and how their IT teams can benefit from the “cloudification” of Siebel. The second half was an overview of Salesforce, since their management is eager to go “full Cloud”. But most of the discussions revolved around integration of Siebel and Salesforce, since they will likely have both for a long time.

The often-cited “hybrid approach” is a reality for most companies today and likely will remain for the next decade. As a CRM technologist, I am happy to take the challenge of integrating two of the best CRM systems on the planet.

all the best

@lex