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Let me begin this post with a proviso - I have the utmost respect for Innoveer Solutions, and Adam Honig is not someone I know personally, but I know of him and his companies and I respect his viewpoint. He is someone who knows his CRM. Second proviso, I am not usually in the habit of responding to Blog articles, I write (full disclosure here) our blog about CRM and Social CRM over at and our company works, in about 60% of cases, with Siebel Enterprise. So you could accuse me of pandering to a vested interest. But I am replying here on a personal level. The article is an excellent piece and a jolly rounded response to the previous opener from Bruce. But there are a couple of areas where I would take issue :- 1) The big issue with Cloud CRM In my previous job as Business Development director at InFact Group, I too was witness to the Siebel / / CRM On Demand on premise / cloud arguments - (yes, some people do buy it and actually enjoy using it). I sat through lots of meetings with customers, vendors of cloud-based software, integrators while the future of CRM was discussed and sworn about. Your vision of "why Siebel projects sucked" I would like to say is true for the most part but you have neglected a subject that I have seen time and time again, or "Why cloud CRM projects suck", to re-use your terminology. Cloud-based CRM has a big, ugly elephant in the room. And that elephant is called integration. And I have seen, either as an outside advisor, or as a customer on one occasion, integrators and vendors come up with either absurdly low estimations of the cost of integration (to keep me from swearing immediately I guess) or incredibly huge invoices for integration (to get me to swear all at once I guess). The silo effect of the cloud in full view, with multiple systems all strung together with nothing even approaching a strategy, more a big bundle of custom code (some COBOL in there, probably :) and a wing and a prayer. Now you might say that vendors are bringing out integration platforms, cloud options and so on, and this is coming but there is a frightening lack of strategy and coherence, even today. Last count I saw 12 different standards being developed for cloud integration. And it only is made worse by the reality that : 2) Customers don't jettison CRM software and move to the cloud at a moment's notice, we all know that. They will continue to operate high-value, low TCO platforms in house precisely because they see their business interest to do so, and they take fright when somebody tries to sell them an integrated solution in the cloud. It is far more common at least from my view to see hybrid customers with some on-premise and some cloud-based solutions, and many of the on-premise systems will be Siebel CRM systems. I realise that your example was an extreme one, but I would take issue with the fact that customers are saying "how do I get rid of Siebel". 3) I am not sure where the statistics regarding CRM projects and payscales are from, but in our experience there are a good number of highly paid Siebel project jobs (on new deployments) out there but they are in different countries than before - think Egypt (yes, really), Saudi Arabia, West Africa, Scandinavia...and different industries (Public Sector, Government) and different user bases (Service, Loyalty...). Many of these projects will not go cloud for a long long time, if ever. Whilst it perhaps does not help a US-based consultant it would be wrong to assume that the job market is not strong. As you say, the market has not dried up. Lastly and in way of a conclusion, today my choice of software for partnership purposes is neither SFDC nor Siebel. Instead it's Buzzient - a true on-premise / cloud Social engagement platform, open in architecture and deployable on any CRM on or off premise, today seeing big focus on the support, service and loyalty spaces. That's really where there are some new opportunities. So I agree with Adam that it is time to move on, but I have a nuanced view and I won't be dumping my Siebel certificates in the trash just yet. Richard (@ondemand_educ)
Excellent article, lot of things to take on board. How do you see vendors like Oracle adapting to the CEM focus?
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Jan 27, 2011