CRM future is customer-adaptive - Siebel

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Amid the flurry of speculation around Oracle's proposed $5bn buy-out, Siebel Systems - the customer relationship management (CRM) solutions company - has outlined its software solutions and architecture strategy.

Speaking to customers and partners at Siebel's annual conference in Boston on Monday, Bruce Cleveland, senior vice-president of products, said the company's vision for the future of CRM was based on what he termed the "customer-adaptive solution" set.

Cleveland said that it was high time a company was able to change, adapt and tweak its systems in response to specific customer needs. To date, he said, this had not really been possible.

"What we're talking about here is giving a company the ability to align the way it does business with the way its customers do business," he said.

"Right now, gaining a single view of that customer is a serious challenge. In general, companies have structured and unstructured information spread out across multiple systems. Current CRM solutions have not really addressed this and I believe that is the fundamental root cause of the low rate of CRM adoption."

Addressing this is complex, Siebel admits. If current-generation CRM solutions help companies be more efficient in selling, marketing and providing services, next-generation solutions need to give "knowledge workers" tools to analyse a situation and act on it immediately - preferably at the time they are interacting with the customer.

The 1 000-plus delegates sat through a live, on-stage demonstration of the adaptive infrastructure that Siebel is proposing.

Core to this was the real-time decisions (RTD) module that fits within the company's business intelligence software suite - announced for the first time at the conference.

RTD combines predictive analytics capability with a broad set of business rules regarding how certain situations should be treated. RTD also learns from its interactions with customers and updates its predictive models automatically.

Siebel already has almost 4 million users of its technology worldwide - and in SA, the number is growing rapidly. High profile financial institutions, including the South African Revenue Services, are users, as are telecoms and other companies.

The customer-adaptive strategy is not necessarily aimed at expanding that user base but at helping those companies provide a more satisfying experience for their customers.

"In the past, it was just about packaged applications. Today it's about platforms that you can buy and build [applications on]. You are now able to integrate everything so that you serve the customer in the way you need to at every level, every interface and every interaction."

Related story:
Oracle outlines CRM strategy

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