Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Oracle upgrades Siebel's CRM software-as-a-service

Oracle last week released a new version of the CRM on-demand product that it picked up with its acquisition of Siebel. The new version (release 10), has been rebranded as Oracle CRM On Demand, and it includes improved customization capability, new features for sales and service, and enhancements for the life sciences and financial services industries.

What's most interesting to me, though, is what this says about Oracle's commitment to software-as-a-service (SaaS). Oracle has picked up many new products in the past two years, including a huge portfolio of applications from Siebel. But one of Oracle's first moves is to upgrade and rebrand this on-demand product from Siebel.

Oracle offers its own E-Business Suite as a hosted service, including its own front-office products which used to compete with Siebel's. But Oracle's offerings are all built under a single-tenant architecture: a separate installation for each client. If you visit Oracle's on-demand data center in Austin, what you'll see is racks and racks of Dell servers running Linux, each one supporting a different client.

In contrast, Siebel's offering--which it originally acquired from Upshot to compete with a multi-tenant architecture. In other words, it can host multiple clients on the same system instance--a far more efficient and scalable approach than the single tenant architecture. At least that's the theory:, the poster-child for the multi-tenant approach has suffered service outages that highlight the potential for a single failure to impact many customers.

Oracle CRM On-Demand is a tiny part of its business today, but it gives Oracle's engineers and support professionals valuable experience in the multi-tenant approach. It will be interesting to see how Oracle positions its new CRM On-Demand relative to its other CRM offerings, and whether it can avoid some of the missteps of in maintaining service levels.

Related posts
Software on demand: attacking the cost structure of business systems
Big eyes, big stomach: Oracle buying Siebel's credibility suffering from service outages
On demand computing: the rebirth of service bureaus

Siebel loses $59M and responds by going on a shopping spree

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Frank: It's interesting as the SaaS and On Demand marketpalces evolve. SAP has a new on demand offereing that is defined simply as a hosted solution. If all hosted solutions can now be branded as SaaS, there will be a dilution of what SaaS means. I'm not sure how Oracle defines their on-demand solution to be SaaS since I don't know much about this new offering.