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Don't You Forget About Me, Says Siebel Systems

Two months after a bad financial report, Siebel is trying to build some buzz around its latest software release and is starting to talk about a Java-based, component-building technology it calls Nexus.

It may have been easy to miss the latest update to Siebel Systems Inc.'s core customer-relationship-management technology, since its introduction in April came on the heels of a troubling earnings miss and a messy CEO swap.

Two months later, the company is trying to build some buzz round the release--which features improved order-management capabilities, more embedded analytics, and transaction-based pricing--and is starting to talk about a component-building technology, code-named Nexus, that it's planning to introduce later this year.

That technology is being developed in parallel with an architectural update to the company's CRM platform, Siebel CRM 8.0, which is expected to hit the market in 2006. Siebel CRM 8.0 will be the first version of Siebel's core technology built to run on Java 2 Enterprise Edition and .Net application servers rather than Siebel's proprietary app servers, says Laurent Pacalin, Siebel's VP and general manager of CRM products.

Siebel CRM 8.0 also will be designed as a component-based offering, reflecting the rapid movement its customers are making toward service-oriented architectures.

Siebel also is working on a business-process-management engine designed to help customers manage and automate transactional processes related to CRM, though Pacalin declined to divulge more details at this time.

Because such major architectural changes are in development, Siebel kept the underlying technology of its latest platform release, Siebel 7.8, largely unchanged from the previous release to simplify the upgrade process, Pacalin says. Instead, Siebel focused on taking a small step toward a service orientation by establishing transaction-based pricing to complement the trend among customers toward exposing Siebel's technology as Web services accessed through portal frameworks, a practice that mimics front-end elements of on-demand applications delivered over the Internet. Says Pacalin, "What you're seeing is a hybrid model, not only in terms of delivery, but in terms of pricing."

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