Let’s make Siebel great again!
For the last three years, there has been a lot of talking, and marketing, around the upcoming changes in Oracle’s Siebel. Wonderful PowerPoint presentations about developer previews and roadmaps, promised us more agility and cloud readiness. But there was not much we could actually see, or use which would make our Siebel experience different. With IP 2017 there seems to be a big change. I recently attended a very interesting web demo on Oracle’s Siebel IP 2017. I was impressed by the architectural changes Oracle has made to the Siebel product. To name a few of these improvements:
• Fully browser-based development (CRM Composer).
• No more srf! All configuration in the demo was (prepared) in workspaces, with versioning. Changes were directly applied in an environment, without restarting.
• The gateway server has been redesigned, so you will be able to add and remove servers without down time (elastic load balancing).
• Integrated testing capabilities, with record and playback (OpenUI Test Automation).
• Approval manager to allow specific functionality to be added to repository.
• Last, but not least, fully automated deployment. In my opinion this has been one of the biggest frustrations with Siebel implementations for years now.
Of course, lots of these improvements were already announced, or even present, in IP 2015/16. But to see how they’ve reached a mature, and production ready state, in a demo was really impressive! There seem to be so many technical improvements in one release. IP 2017 will be more cloud-, agile-and parallel development ready than Siebel has ever been. But what does this all mean for our existing customers, with loads of customizations within, and around, their Siebel application? Will these new enhancements make our, development, lives easier?
I foresee some big challenges and questions to answer before these new technologies can work for us instead of limiting the development processes:
How do we transfer all our current deployment scripts, customised ADM exports, scheduled EIM tasks into the new deployment application? Or what about all the investments in third party deploy products? Or do we have to start from scratch?
What about all the ATS (Oracle Application Testing Suite) scripts we have been developing so far? Customers who have not yet migrated to OpenUI, but do use ATS, need to record all their scenario’s again or switch to the new Test automation and/or Selenium.
What about our current development teams, which are setup to work with local databases, third party version control mechanisms and a specific way of (waterfall) working? How do we monitor and administer the workspace versioning and branching? How efficient will this prove to be in large development teams?
What about the “good old” Siebel Tools? Is it actually gone? Or do we still need it for script debugging, or workflow simulation?
Last but not least: will everything work as promised? How stable will the first release be in terms of performance and reliability? And to be honest, looking back to previous releases, and promised feature sets, Oracle does not have the best track record.
Personally, from a pure technical point of interest, I’d love to get started with IP 2017 and explore all these new features. Setting up a demo environment will be on top of my to do list, as soon as IP 2017 becomes available. I do see this IP 2017 as a necessary step to facilitate future improvements and product adaptation by customers.
But on the other hand, I realize that serious efforts have to be made, within the existing development teams and their development (and deployment) processes, to get the real benefits from these new features. We have to answer and solve the questions and challenges as described above. It is not the technology push from Siebel which determines its success, but the ability of the people working with Siebel to use these new functionalities! It’s up to us to make Siebel great again!
Siebel is the most comprehensive on-premise CRM solution on the market. When it comes to customer relationship management, the largest companies in the world rely on Siebel by Oracle.