Over the past few months, we’ve talked to multiple companies who are looking to move off Siebel for their Configure, Price, Quote (CPQ) needs. We listened intensively to their pain points and have summarized them below for your easy viewing.
Performance and scalability issues
Siebel product configurator performance degrades exponentially when the size of configuration or product model grow. If you have a big model of more than 4 levels deep and have a configuration of more than 20 line items, configuration performance degrades significantly and click-to-click response time could be a few minutes.
We think that a few minutes load time is not acceptable when it comes to a revenue generating tool such as CPQ. At Veloce, our goal is to provide CPQ experience with performance in the sub-second delivered on a modern cloud CRM such as Salesforce.com.
Since Siebel Product Configurator is stateful (meaning it keeps track of the various states of interaction), it uses a lot of memory to solve configuration problems and scales poorly under the load of multiple users. You will need many dedicated instances of Siebel to support a large number of concurrent users and it also doesn’t support failover. This means, if something bad happened on the server-side while you are doing your quotation, you will lose your entire configuration and have to start all over again. Furthermore, Siebel infrastructure is based on 20 years proprietary server architecture and hasn’t been updated with newer and better modern technology.
The cost and operational complexity of maintaining Siebel’s on-premise system
Siebel has many downsides and one of its main problems is that it’s not a cloud-based software as a service solution. Your organization will need to maintain on-premise hardware and software to host Siebel, which is really a drag on your bottom line. It means that your IT team is on the hook for the majority of IT operations including ongoing maintenance, updates, and for scaling technological infrastructure to match the company’s needs.
“According to a Software Advice study, 88% of CRM buyers preferred on-premise solutions in 2008. But by 2014, the numbers had flipped, and 87% preferred cloud CRM solutions.”
The cloud enables organizations to try any software solutions with much lower risk and initial investment by paying for monthly subscription. Since you don’t own any hardware or be responsible for its uptime, the cost easier and more predictable on your IT balance sheet.
Unexpected behavior from Siebel configurator
In today’s world, every organization is heavily focused and invested in providing great user experience. A CPQ application that has unexpected behavior will not be adopted and trusted by sales users who need to get accurate quotes out to their customers.
Since Siebel product configurator purely uses constraint based rules, it causes a lot of unexpected behavior during runtime. For example, if you have a required rule that says “A implies B (A -> B)”, when condition A is met one would expect the configuration engine to enforce B, but since it is purely a constraint based rule it will break condition A to satisfy that rule. This outcome is not what the user is expecting.
Since all line items are created by constraints, there is no way to restore the saved configuration completely. For example, in the case of asset based ordering, the asset line items could disappear and the engine will simply create a new set of line items. This will cause an issue for asset based ordering as instead of having modified line items, the system deleted the line items and created new ones.
Many existing Siebel customers have been struggling with all these issues and have to maintain very expensive on-premise Siebel systems. They would like to move to a modern cloud based replacement solution. Unfortunately, there has been no viable replacement solution on the market…until now.
If you are an enterprise company, you must be actively looking for ways to move all of your applications to the cloud. And like most enterprises, your sales and marketing teams are using a cloud-based CRM like Salesforce.com. Based on our experience, connecting your on-premise Siebel configurator with your Salesforce org is an expensive and daunting process. We know because we’ve worked with Fortune 500 companies to build software bridges between Siebel and Salesforce and they usually come with considerable cost and effort. The integration results in creating more on-premise software to maintain and licenses to worry about. It’s a lot like putting duct tape on the problems rather than fixing the root cause.