When you choose a CRM-system, often significant factors are the proficiency of Siebel CRM development and the presence of a vertical solution for a particular industry. Naturally, the use of "best practice" processes, for example, for a bank can significantly minimize project risks and accelerate the achievement of desired results... But to implement the efficient automation of customer service is almost impossible without a high quality CRM system integration into the existing infrastructure of the company.
It's about the integration issues basing on the example of Oracle Siebel CRM I would like to write today. This choice depends not only on the fact that the CRM system is the core of our company's product portfolio, but also because, in my opinion, this product has the best integration features in its segment.
Oracle Siebel CRM is a three-level system which includes the level of data, the level of applications (business logic) and the level of user interface.
Further I will try to describe briefly the integration methods at each of the mentioned above levels.
Integration at data level
The standard method of Oracle Siebel CRM integration at this level is the integration based on Enterprise Integration Manager (EIM). This product has a certain number of tables where each Siebel CRM object (client, company, deals data) has a certain table or a number of tables. So for example to display information on a client`s credit card one should just define the correspondence between necessary tables, the boxes containing the information on card system data base and CRM applications. Oracle Siebel CRM will automatically find the business links and display the necessary data in the client`s card. Moreover the following tool enables the business user (given that the user has respective right) to define the periodicity and the order of data synchronization.
It is reasonable to implement the integration based on EIM when a standard functionality of Oracle Siebel CRM is used.
Another advantage of Oracle Siebel CRM is the possibility to use at the present integration level external tables and presentations in the data base of the ‘third’ system. Additional interfaces for these data can be developed if needed. For example as a rule there is no necessity to store extracts and transactions on client`s cards in CRM system, so it will be more reasonable to take these data from ‘third’ systems.
Integration at application level
Oracle Siebel supports SOAP/WSDL to work with web services. Usage of the SOAP protocol enables to transmit from one system into another one not the data files but only their attributes. It facilitates integration process and significantly decreases the time needed for data synchronization. Moreover the present technology is widely spread and has big application area.
As an example of efficient usage of the given integration we can name card blocking or account status checking from CRM system.
To integrate Oracle Siebel CRM with telephony a purpose-designed programmable interface Siebel Communication Layer is used. All modern standard solutions of the leading call-centers and contact-centers providers, PBX`s are based on the present set of tools chosen in the process of Siebel CRM development. Moreover it describes clearly strategies and approaches which should be applied to integrate into telephony. This very tool enables user to make outbound and receive incoming calls working with Oracle Siebel CRM and also monitor that client has called to call-center.
Another integration method at the given level is export and import data from XML and CSV files via standard Siebel CRM tools. By means of the present method it is fast to upload packet data for purpose-designed applications. So for example in the majority of existing solutions for outgoing calls in the Predictive mode the upload of numbers must be done via CSV files. CRM system defines the conditions which client must fulfill, draws a sample according to which CSV file is designed in the necessary for call-center format.
In the conclusion I would like to mention about through integration process based on Siebel Workflow. The given tool enables the user to automize not only the processes directly executed in Oracle Siebel CRM application but also to link them to processes in other systems. For example when information is collected in the process of credit granting, it is essential to get his/her credit history from ‘third’ system (credit history registry), and depending on the obtained result to use one of the pre-planned scenarios for the further work ( ‘say goodbye’ to unfair borrower, proceed work, require additional information etc.)
Integration at user interface level
Oracle Siebel is based on ‘thin client’ technology what significantly increases its integration potential. In particular it is possible to integrate Oracle BI into Siebel CRM screen forms and use the present BI application at operational level..
AcriveX technology support enables to integrate into CRM system not only separate pages but also whole applications. For example there is a possibility to integrate credit calculator into Oracle Siebel CRM that will enable a bank officer to promptly answer the questions concerning interest calculation without starting other application.
CRM system doesn’t have a unique integration method. Certain case requires certain approach and to use advantage of various methods at each level. Only such approach will guarantee quality result and significantly lower cost.