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Siebel 7.7 Welded to Microsoft Technologies

The release on Wednesday of the latest version of the Siebel CRM application suite highlights the ongoing coopetition between Siebel and Microsoft.

Siebel is committing more deeply with release 7.7 to the Microsoft infrastructure platform, even as Microsoft gets involved more deeply in the customer relationship management market with its own Microsoft CRM product.

Nonetheless, the two companies currently occupy vastly different spheres of the CRM market. Siebel's 4,000 customers and 2.36 million users are primarily in the enterprise. Its gargantuan suite contains 70 "solutions sets" and 490 "discrete applications." Microsoft targets the mid-market with its fledgling CRM application.

For Siebel, which bills the 7.7 release primarily as a TCO-improvement update, the Windows platform is becoming increasingly common for its customers.

"The Microsoft Windows platform continues to be the most widely used platform for Siebel deployments and now outpaces new deployments on all alternative platforms," the companies said in a joint statement.

One major area of greater integration evident in the 7.7 release comes in Microsoft Outlook, Microsoft's widely used e-mail client. Siebel 7.7 customers will gain more seamless access to CRM data from Outlook, will be able to natively use the Outlook calendar within Siebel and will be able to associate Outlook data with records in Siebel. A Siebel Exchange Connector will support server-side data synchronization between Siebel and Microsoft Exchange.

Committing to the Microsoft .NET Framework, Siebel built its Universal Application Network (UAN) component on .NET and supports Microsoft BizTalk Server 2004 with UAN's standards-based architecture for business integration.

Other ways the Microsoft infrastructure is leveraged in Siebel 7.7 include new support for Windows Server 2003, a CRM Management Pack for Microsoft Operations Manager 2000 that offers more than 100 rules for managing Siebel 7.x deployments and optimization of the CRM application suite for use with Microsoft SQL Server 2000.

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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