Siebel Steps into Integration

CRM specialist offers solution for developing standardized business process spanning multiple applications

Los Angeles  October 21, 2002  Customer relationship management specialist Siebel Systems today rolled out a new application integration solution that the software provider said could help companies lower their costs by developing standardized business process spanning multiple applications.

Siebel said its Universal Application Network, based on XML and Web services standards, enables organizations to select best-in-class applications and ensures that customers are not locked into supplier-specific proprietary architectures.

The network comprises three primary components, including a library of prepackaged industry-specific business processes based on best practices. These processes can be executed across multiple applications, departments, organizations and enterprises. Siebel said the library allows organizations to automate the specific steps that complete common business processes.

As an example of how the solution might work, Siebel said that by relying on one of the business processes, a call center representative could update customer information by first entering the customer data into Siebel's call center application. The data would automatically be sent to Siebel's Universal Customer Master, where it would be validated for accuracy and enhanced, and the customer information would be updated in the customer master before updating several enterprise resource planning (ERP) and legacy systems. The result would be a more streamlined customer management with reduced data management costs.

The first set of business processes released by Siebel focuses on the areas of customer life cycle management, product life cycle management, order management, partner relationship management and employee relationship management.

The network also includes a selection of business process design tools, provided by integration server vendors, for use in modeling and configuring existing business processes and creating new ones. An integration server, also provided by Siebel's integration server partners, is used to execute business processes and coordinate inter-application communication.

Steve Bonadio, senior program director at technology consultancy META Group, suggested that integration of business processes across multiple heterogeneous applications is critical for today's organizations to maximize the value of their existing technology investments and drive operational efficiency through improved collaboration among disparate organizational constituents with customers.

"By leveraging standards-based, prepackaged solutions that combine industry-tested business processes with design tools and underlying integration technologies, organizations can facilitate the enablement of a seamless engage-transact-fulfill-service customer life cycle and apply consistent customer treatments across siloed operations, disparate channels and multiple points of interaction," Bonadio said.

Universal Application Network has been installed at a number of customer beta test sites and is planned for general availability this quarter, according to Siebel.