System integrators and integration server vendors, including IBM, Accenture, Tibco Software and webMethods, are lining up behind Siebel to promote the Universal Application Network, which comprises an integration server that connects applications and a set of prepackaged business processes that will make Siebel's software work with, for example, an SAP enterprise resource planning (ERP) application, Siebel claimed.
"We're squarely addressing the customer's number one problem, integrating applications. This is not a Siebel-centric solution, but we are partnering with five integration providers who will provide the connectivity, platforms and the capability to run the business processes," said Bharath Kadaba, vice-president of application network for Siebel.
"This is validation of the integration market; integration is critical for CRM and it is not time-consuming, nor expensive," said Aditya Shivram, director of product marketing for Tibco.
Siebel, together with system integrator partners, is building a library of industry-specific business processes and business process flows. The business processes and the flows in the library, which use Web standards such as XML (Extensible Markup Language), are customised, extensible and upgradeable, and can be used and reused independent of both the underlying applications and the integration server, Siebel said.
An example of a business process is customer creation or quote to order. A business process flow orchestrates a sequence of steps across multiple applications.
Also part of the Universal Application Network is a business process design tool for developing and configuring business processes and business process flows. Using the business process flow modeler, a business analyst can describe business processes in an abstract way before an application developer defines the actual process, Siebel said.
The first version of Siebel's business process library will be available mid-2002. All the libraries will be vertically focused and will target the most popular applications within a vertical, according to Kadaba. Siebel's most important verticals include the communication, media, energy, and finance sectors, he added.
No details were available on pricing.