Top 8 Ways To Botch Siebel To SaaS CRM Migration


Share on LinkedIn

Some problems just sneak up on you without warning.

“How do we move from Siebel to SaaS CRM?” Hands down, that’s one of the top 5 questions I hear today. Many businesses, in fact, tell us that they’re thinking of moving away from Siebel, concerned over Oracle’s long-term plans for the software. Accordingly, they’re investigating cloud-based CRM applications, including, Oracle CRM On Demand, and Microsoft CRM.

With over a decade of experience in helping companies implement on-premise Siebel, as well as years of expertise in helping organizations adopt cloud-based CRM, when it comes to migration, we’ve identified a few strategies to avoid, at all costs.

For example, we visited a large, international company that had rebuilt its Siebel screens in, by sending the existing Siebel Repository File to India. Smart strategy, right? Only, the resulting screens lacked leads, dashboards, analytics, and other “wasn’t in Siebel” functionality.

Top 8 Mistakes (To Avoid)

On that note, when moving from Siebel to cloud CRM, here are the top 8 mistakes to avoid:

1) Implement Like For Like Interface and Oracle CRM On Demand are Amazon- and Facebook-esque. Now, while the Siebel interface may not be as bad as a Microsoft Windows 95 screen, it’s definitively of the client-server computing era. Ditch it.

2) Ignore New Capabilities

SaaS CRM offers capabilities Siebel users may never have had before, such as having leads in the CRM system, or ready access to built-in analytics tools. Ignore these options (which you’ve already paid for) at your peril.

3) Don’t Reexamine Business Processes

One of the least effective approaches is to implement cloud CRM–or any new technology–without reexamining your organization’s business processes and understanding the overall objectives. For example, we worked with a large pharmaceutical company that–technically–built a great new system, yet failed to account for the sales program’s completely new methodology. As a result, the organization spent $1 million to build a system that no one could use.

4) Select Technology Shop For Business Implementation

Innoveer’s #1 CRM project ground rule: Never spend money on CRM unless it’s going to improve revenues, growth, or customer satisfaction. Notably, these are all business goals. Accordingly, if you treat CRM as a pure technology exercise, and select an implementation partner that’s just a technology shop focused on delivering something technical, expect to fail.

5) Forget Pilot Projects

Another great way to kill a CRM project is to not pilot it first. (Caveat: Call center pilots aren’t always feasible.) Why pilot a project? Simply because user adoption is the number-one challenge for any CRM project. Accordingly, running a pilot enables you to identify challenges (especially if you’re embracing new business processes at the same time), address them, tweak the system, and only then roll it out to all users. Counterintuitive as it may seem, running a pilot reduces the overall time required to roll out a CRM project.

6) Completely Ignore Data Quality

Many companies moving to cloud CRM think that the software will magically clean their existing data. Whatever you do, beware this trap, and ensure your project has a data cleaning track. Use QAS Experian, for example, or a similar data cleansing product. No matter whether you’re moving up from ACT, Siebel, SalesLogix, always clean existing data to remove duplicate or erroneous entries. (Bonus: this improves user adoption of the new system.)

7) Fail To Gives Users Report-Writing Capabilities

Not taking advantage of the reports prebuilt into cloud CRM applications is another frequent mistake. In Siebel, writing reports required hiring a programmer. The and CRM On Demand world, however, has made citizen developers of us all. Now, allow anyone can write their own reports; no IT assistance needed. Accordingly, give users access to these tools.

8) Ditch Prebuilt Dashboards That Guide User Behavior

Adding dashboards to Siebel required implementing OBIEE, often to the tune of hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of dollars. But in the cloud CRM world, dashboards are built in. Yet, many organizations just moving to the cloud miss the opportunity such dashboards offer to drive user behavior. But just think what a real-time “leader” dashboard–top 5 salespeople, top revenues per office, top agents by call problem resolution–could do for motivation.

Instead, Migrate Right

If those are the top mistakes, how should organizations moving from Siebel to SaaS CRM go forward? Here’s our “how to do it right” list of steps:

  1. Forget about your existing application (at least at the start)
  2. Identify your project’s business goals and objectives
  3. Map those objectives to software options
  4. Select “best fit” technology
  5. Map and address gaps between Siebel and the new software
  6. Ensure project embraces the cloud CRM software’s new features
  7. Address data quality at all project stages
  8. Migrate to the new software, in stages

As always, don’t start with technology, but business rather goals. And above all, regardless of the CRM application you ultimately select, don’t fail to maintain a relentless focus on user adoption.

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.


  1. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Software is a large class of software programs essentially designed to help businesses manage their customer information. Before making a commitment like this, every business should ask if they require a full CRM Software program.


Please use comments to add value to the discussion. Maximum one link to an educational blog post or article. We will NOT PUBLISH brief comments like "good post," comments that mainly promote links, or comments with links to companies, products, or services.

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here