Eric Rudder, Senior Vice President, Developer and Platform Evangelism
REDMOND, Wash., Oct. 21, 2002 — In Los Angeles today, Siebel Systems and Microsoft are announcing a multi-year global strategic alliance, designed to deliver the first enterprise computing solutions to fully exploit the potential of Web services. The alliance is based on the two industry-leading companies’ shared vision for how enterprise applications must evolve to meet the needs of large organizations, and on a belief in the advanced capabilities of Microsoft .NET, Microsoft’s software — using XML Web services — for connecting information, people, systems and devices in ways not previously possible.
At a time when enterprises may spend up to 50 percent of their IT budgets on application integration, the model of XML-based Web services for connecting different systems is a catalyst for a new generation of business applications that directly address todays most pressing enterprise needs. The Siebel-Microsoft alliance represents the first major step in turning this vision into reality.
To learn more about what this alliance portends for the two companies, PressPass spoke late last week with Eric Rudder , Microsoft’s senior vice president for Developer and Platform Evangelism. A key part of Rudder’s mission has been to guide delivery of the tools, technology infrastructure and developer-community resources that are enabling .NET to provide the foundation for unprecedented enterprise-scale applications.
PressPass: What is the thinking behind the alliance you and Siebel are announcing?
Rudder: Microsoft and Siebel are significantly expanding our existing relationship to take advantage of the opportunity Web services offer to redefine the capabilities and economics of enterprise applications. By bringing together Siebels sales, marketing, applications and process expertise with the Web services software of Microsoft .NET, we intend to deliver a new level of productivity and price-performance for managing customer interactions.
PressPass:What customer challenges are you addressing?
Rudder: Enterprise customers are demanding more value from new applications, and from their existing applications. They want to unlock more value from their business information and systems, and then use it to help their employees do their jobs more effectively. And they want technology to better serve their business requirements, especially in the current economic environment, when all companies are trying to make their IT investments go farther.
PressPass: How do Web services change business applications?
Rudder: The ability to connect disparate computer systems through XML-based Web services directly addresses those customer demands. Web services will make integration faster, cheaper and easier. They’ll help unlock data in a way that spurs employee decision-making and productivity. Web services are the foundation for letting companies manage technology at the business-process level, which means companies can harness and adapt their systems more quickly in response to changing business needs.
In the course of our discussions with Siebel, we discovered we had a remarkably common vision for where enterprise applications have to go, and we decided to pursue this opportunity to redefine the capabilities and economics of enterprise applications.
PressPass: What exactly are Siebel and Microsoft going to do together?
Rudder: There are both technology and go-to-market elements to the alliance. On the technology side, there are three major areas of engagement:
The first is to optimize Siebel eBusiness Applications for Microsoft .NET, Windows Server and Microsoft SQL Server. The goal is to deliver an optimized, end-to-end solution that is reliable, scalable, easy to deploy, maximizes business agility and minimizes total cost of ownership.
The second is to increase enterprise-employee productivity by making Siebel eBusiness Applications accessible from a new, highly interactive Siebel Smart Client, integrating more tightly with Microsoft Office to facilitate analysis and decision-making, and supporting access across a variety of mobile and smart devices.
The third is to support the implementation and execution of Siebel Integration Business Processes, using Microsoft BizTalk Server and Visual Studio .NET. BizTalk Server will be the first integration server to support the new industry standards BPEL4WS language for orchestrating business processes.
The companies are also going beyond just the technology engagement to help ensure that customers can get complete solutions that bring together Siebel applications and the Microsoft platform in an optimal package. Both companies are dedicating cross-trained people and marketing funds for joint marketing, sales and integrated support for mutual customers.
PressPass: How does this alliance relate to Microsofts own recently announced Customer Relationship Management (CRM) product?
Rudder: This alliance is targeted at the enterprise and its unique requirements. Different types of customers have very different CRM needs. While our Microsoft Business Solutions division is building a CRM product for mid-market companies, we have alliances and partnerships with different companies that serve other customer segments. The alliance with Siebel is aimed at enterprise customers.
PressPass: What opportunity does this announcement offer other independent software vendors?
Rudder: We think its a great example of how ISVs can harness Web services to address some of todays most pressing customer demands. The business application market is shifting from one of standalone applications to one of connected applications and processes. No application can be an island, and success will increasingly be predicated on how well applications connect with other applications. Siebels decision to use Microsoft .NET is great validation that Microsofts efforts to build a platform to enable the next generation of business applications is on target. And, of course, these platform capabilities are available to any developer.
PressPass: What is it about .NET that you think uniquely positions it to address this changing environment?
Rudder: .NET is all about connecting information, people, systems and devices. In a world increasingly concerned with connecting the islands of information inside and between organizations, .NET represents the best technology to help enterprises get the most value out of their existing technology investments. Microsoft has been leading the industry toward a vision of connected applications people and organizations, and has the deepest product support, tools and programming model to enable enterprises to be successful in the new environment.