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Customer Experience and CRM

As the spark of customer experience strategy spreads across the marketplace, causing more corporations to invest in well planned and well executed customer touch-points, we have been seeing more clients and potential clients asking the question:

Is our current CRM good enough to modernize and enhance our customer experience?

Oftentimes, this question results in a showdown between an existing Siebel CRM, Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics and/or SAP CRM, judged by metrics such as cost of software and support, cost of implementation, feature alignment to business needs, and risk of change to the organization.

Having worked with Siebel since Siebel 2000, many of our CX consultants understand how Siebel CRM has earned its perception in the marketplace as ‘antiquated’ and ‘hard to use’.  This perception is largely due to a user interface that hasn’t progressed along with expectations of what a good web-based interface should be.  What most front-end users don’t recognize is that Siebel CRM as on-premise enterprise software is a very solid application; robust, scalable, mature, and full-featured across many industry verticals.

Oracle recognized this user interface deficiency and over the last couple of years has been working hard on a new user interface, called OpenUI.  OpenUI utilizes web standards and allows flexible user experience design while keeping all of the existing investment into Siebel hardware, code configuration and functional customizations.

This new Siebel user interface, once folks know what it is and how straightforward it is to implement, can heavily influence the decision-making process as corporations ask the “Is our current CRM good enough…” question.

For example, let’s take a look at some of the common metrics:

  • Cost of Software and Support
    • No change to current Oracle Siebel investment.  OpenUI is part of the upgrade path in standard support contracts.
    • Additional licensing modules may need to be purchased for Mobile (which is a beautiful Mobile UI, by the way) or for customer-facing applications (which are a night and day difference from past customer-facing applications in Siebel).
  • Cost of Implementation
    • Most existing Siebel customers will need to go through an upgrade cycle to get to the new, modern OpenUI.  Cost largely depends on the level of complexity and size of the application, though the cost is usually less than a full switch to a new platform except in the most basic sales force automation or service automation instances.
  • Feature Alignment to Business Needs
    • Siebel is one of the few enterprise applications that can cover a wide variety of marketing, sales, service, and transactional functions in the business.
    • With OpenUI, the ability to manipulate the user experience is on par with or better than most other applications in the market today.  Making tangible changes to the customer experience without ludicrous investment becomes quite feasible.
  • Risk of Change to the Organization
    • Regardless of cost, complexity or feature-set, one of the hardest parts of this decision is choosing to take on major organizational change.  For companies who already have Siebel CRM, the benefits of extending the life of the existing Siebel implementation, while solving many common user complaints, makes this a very straightforward decision.

In general, we see organizations with simple CRM implementations, and the right company culture, make an easy move from Siebel to another CRM – particularly when moving to the cloud is a priority.  For those organizations who have heavy investment in specialized Siebel functionality, the move to Siebel OpenUI is the clear choice.

For more information about Siebel’s OpenUI, read through the latest Perficient Perspectives:

“Maintaining a Competitive Advantage through CRM – How Oracle Modernized Siebel with OpenUI”

Perficient’s Customer Experience Strategy practice is cross platform.  Perficient has extremely strong Oracle CRM (Siebel and SalesCloud), SalesForce, and Microsoft Dynamics practices (note the MS US Partner of the Year, Oracle Platinum Partnership and SalesForce Cloud Alliance Gold Partnership).


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