Siebel Systems Inc. is pressing on with its technology road map even as the repercussions of the companys recent executive shake-up continue to be felt and questions remain about the companys future ownership.
Acquisition rumors have swirled around Siebel, in San Mateo, Calif., since former CEO Michael Lawrie was ousted in April. Oracle Corp. and legendary corporate raider Carl Icahn, whose holding company is a minority Siebel shareholder, have both been linked to these rumors.
Meanwhile, in May, Eileen McPartland, who had been Siebels senior vice president of global services, resigned from the company.
Amid the chaos, company officials last week tried to keep the focus on technology by divulging more details of Siebels road map.
The current Siebel 7.x product line will be succeeded by a Siebel 8 release slated for the first half of next year. That release is expected to be largely a continuation of Siebels current line, with more integrated packaged analytics, a greater number of business processes delivered as Web services and more ease-of-use improvements.
In addition to releasing Siebel 8, Siebel is planning to deliver a new platform running on either IBMs WebSphere or Microsoft Corp.s Web application server platforms. Siebels current product line runs on the companys own Web application server.
The platform, which company officials insist will be complementary to the current product line, will give customers access to Java or Microsoft .Net components that they can use to build custom CRM (customer relationship management) applications that mirror many of the customer-facing business processes in Siebels current product line.
The initial version of the new platform will be targeted at the financial services industry with early components and a business-process orchestration platform likely shipping within a year, according to Laurent Pacalin, vice president and general manager of Siebel CRM products.
Siebels two platforms, although on separate development tracks, will be interoperable, Pacalin said, with customers able to access packaged applications and custom-built componentized applications in a "hybrid environment" via their choice of IBMs WebSphere Portal or Microsofts SharePoint Portal Server.
Daniel Stroot, chief technology officer for Allianz Global Investors of America LP, who oversaw a recent deployment of LexisNexis Interface Software Inc.s InterAction CRM application at Allianzs Nicholas-Applegate Capital Management subsidiary, said that the componentization strategy makes sense, but only to a point.
"Componentizing the solution attempts to smash that paradigm," said Stroot in San Diego. "I do think its the best way forward for them. However, I dont see it necessarily being very successful. As a CTO, the last thing I want to do is assemble my own products."
Other vendors, however, arent conceding anything to Siebel. Salesforce.com Inc. last week touted an update to its Customforce application development tool kit that will preserve all customizations done with Customforce 1.0 as well as all customizations done on earlier revisions of the San Francisco companys namesake service.