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Upgrade Siebel 6.0 to 7.0 now, upgrade to Oracle Fusion later

Get advice on upgrading Siebel applications in this expert tip from William Band, SearchCRM.com's Using Siebel expert. Band advises a reader to upgrade from Siebel 6.0 to 7.0 and to consider Fusion applications later.

We are running Siebel 6.0, and I've read that upgrading to version 7.0, then to Oracle's Fusion CRM in the next few years, could potentially be quite expensive. What's our best bet to keep costs down and minimize the disruption to our systems? Should we hold out with 6.0 as long as possible until Fusion is available, or start over with another provider who has more stability?
Siebel 6.0 is quite an old version; and yes, the migration to a Siebel 7.0 is expensive. However, Siebel 7.x offers significantly enhanced features, especially with regard to analytics and deeper customization for specific industries. Siebel 8.0 will have a much improved UI.

Siebel will be the cornerstone of Oracle's CRM product portfolio going forward. New enhancements have been announced for the next 12 months, so the product will continue to be enriched. Oracle has announced "unlimited" support for all the applications that it has acquired, and has pledged not to move customers off their current products unless they desire to do so.

Your primary criteria should be how well your current application fulfills your business needs. I have talked to many Siebel customers who see no need to upgrade to gain additional functionality and are exploring application maintenance outsourcing providers as way to reduce costs.

Fusion applications will become available gradually, and not before 2008. Customers many choose to move towards this architecture in the future, but it will likely be very gradual migration. Oracle has promised there will be direct upgrade paths from current versions of Siebel into the Fusion architecture.

Moving to a completely new provider is probably your most disruptive option. The best way to ensure that you are well positioned to take advantage of the enhancements from Siebel, and potential architectural flexibility of Fusion applications, is make sure you are on the most current version of Siebel that makes sense from a business functionality point of view.

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