Siebel Migration Warning: Don’t Rip And Replace


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“Help me quit Siebel.”

You wouldn’t believe how often I hear that from executives and sales managers at Siebel-using organizations. Too often, however, their cries for help continue like this:

“How do we rip out Siebel and simply replace it with Salesforce?”

Now, I’ve been charting the decline of Siebel for some time and urging current Siebel shops to transition to a modern, cloud-based alternative. But taking a “rip and replace” approach is a recipe for CRM disaster.

Instead — and in lieu of my starting regional Siebel Anonymous chapters — here are the steps that businesses that currently use Siebel should take when transitioning to a modern, cloud-based CRM application such as Salesforce:

Step 1: Decide To Ditch Siebel

The first step when moving away from Siebel is to throw it away. Do you need any business rationales? For starters, whenever you first implemented Siebel, it was a long, long time ago. In the interim, sales practices have changed. Today’s users, well-versed in Facebook and Twitter, want a modern user interface that isn’t restricted to Internet Explorer and that runs smoothly on mobile devices.

To be sure, my point of view has drawn criticism from the pro-Siebel opposition. With all due respect, however, just because the technology continues to work — take tape-based storage as an example — that doesn’t mean it’s the best fit for your business’ current requirements.

So here’s your breakup script: “It’s not you, Siebel, it’s us. We’re a different business now. You haven’t stayed current, you’re expensive to maintain and it’s time for us to part ways.”

Step 2: Avoid “Rip & Replace” Thinking

Congratulations, you’ve made the decision to ditch Siebel. Now, you must never, ever attempt to recreate in Salesforce what you were doing in Siebel. Should you tap Cloud Sherpas to help you select or adopt a cloud-based CRM system that fits the needs of your business, for example, I don’t want to hear about how you do things in Siebel. Yes, the data is important, and we’ll get it out of Siebel.

Beyond that, however, you’re moving away from an interface that hailed from the client-server era and gaining numerous other state-of-the-art capabilities, including built-in analytics and reporting, mobile functionality and dashboards. Even if you had the transmogrifier — that most excellent invention hailing from the pages of the Calvin and Hobbes cartoon, which is designed to easily turn one object into another — you still wouldn’t want to use it, because you’d just be remaking your same, poor, outdated business processes in your new CRM system. Instead, move your CRM program forward.

Step 3: Reexamine Your Business Processes

To do that, take a big step back and review your business processes. What is your business trying to achieve and how must the sales team deliver on those objectives? Since you first implemented Siebel, your business — and its underlying business objectives — have continued to evolve. For example, new businesses may have been added to the fold or divisions divested. Sales teams may have consolidated or switched to using completely different methodologies. Likewise, back-end systems may have changed or been ditched. Finally, the markets in which you compete have likely evolved as well.

Take all of these changes into account when deciding on your new CRM course of action. Doing so will help you to avoid the type of mistake we saw at one pharmaceutical company that later turned to Cloud Sherpas for help. The problem: users had failed to adopt its shiny, new $1 million CRM system because the IT team behind the project had failed to update its Siebel-era thinking and assumptions or account for the new methodologies being used by its sales teams. In other words, they ditched Siebel for a CRM system configured for no one to use.

Step 4: Pick The Best Technology For The Job

Make no mistake: CRM project success hinges on user adoption. Full stop. No amount of top-down diktats will force people to embrace a system they hate. So, get frontline users involved and keep them involved. Include them when you evaluate today’s cloud-based CRM systems and identify which one will best support your business objectives, including not just reporting requirements (for management) but also productivity and efficiency enhancements (for users).

Step 5: Pilot Launch The New CRM System

Once you pick your technology, it’s important to get the right data — and oftentimes, you won’t need all of it — out of Siebel and into your new CRM application. Likewise, for all but the smallest businesses, we always recommend launching a pilot project that rolls out your new CRM application to one group of users — or one division or region — before going live for everyone.

A pilot project is especially useful when you’re moving to cloud CRM for the first time because you need time to ensure that that you’ve correctly identified and addressed all phase-one requirements and challenges, not least when adopting new business processes. Find any roadblocks, mitigate them and then roll out Salesforce to all your users. By following this plan, you’ll not just manage user expectations and foster high levels of adoption, but you will also minimize project time and cost.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Adam Honig
Adam is the Co-Founder and CEO of Spiro Technologies. He is a recognized thought-leader in sales process and effectiveness, and has previously co-founded three successful technology companies: Innoveer Solutions, C-Bridge, and Open Environment. He is best known for speaking at various conferences including Dreamforce, for pioneering the 'No Jerks' hiring model, and for flying his drone while traveling the world.


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