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Oracle Siebel Software’s Marketing for the UAE Report

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Updated: Aug 30th, 2020

Introduction

This paper presents Oracle with a marketing plan to enhance Siebel’s performance in the market. The extensive secondary research was conducted to understand Siebel’s story. Siebel will be at an advantage if it focuses its product development on the UAE market. It is a fast-growing market.

Situation Analysis

Background and Current Management

Siebel Software Systems, founded in 1993 by Tom Siebel, was bought in 2006 by Oracle for $5.85 billion in stock and cash (Bank, 2005). It was due to the popularity of the Siebel System CRM, the pioneer in the CRM field (Avram, 2016). The acquisition infused the company into Oracle’s product line. Siebel CRM, now called Oracle Siebel CRM, is a complete on-premise CRM application available on the market (Oracle, 2014).

Since Oracle’s acquisition of Siebel Software Systems in 2006, it remains a general availability product with investments to its product line. For instance, it has invested in new releases of Siebel, including 40 new products and 526 new features. Its releases have also been accelerated and included annual innovation packs.

Oracle currently does not have any plans to change support for the CRM. Over 82% of customers are on the latest release of Siebel, entitling them to Premier Support, which guarantees a predictable and known cost for support. A monthly purchase to facilitate rapid fix delivery was also in place. Although Oracle is still putting its emphasis on CRM, it is aiming to expand its horizons by acquiring and developing products that improve Siebel to address the entire customer lifecycle with the best of breed solutions (Oracle, 2014). After nearly a 10-year slowdown, Oracle Siebel saw a 20% increase in its customer base in 2015 (Avram, 2016). However, current product issues and competition are keeping the company from maintaining its dominance.

Competitive Situation

The global CRM industry totaled $23.2 billion in 2014, up 13.3 percent from $20.4 billion in 2013. These indications were as a result of large vendors that leveraged their acquisitions to extend their position in new markets and to enrich their product lines’ depth. The top 10 CRM vendors accounted for over 60 percent share in 2014, or $14 billion, growing 14 percent over 2013. The top 5 vendors by market share were Salesforce (18%), SAP (12%), Oracle (9%), Microsoft (6%), and IBM (4%).

These rankings were the same in 2013. The major CRM vendors’ primary competitive strategy and focus were on Software as a Service. Sustained growth in demand for software as a service (SaaS) totaled 47 percent of total CRM software revenue in 2014. These results were “driven by organizations of all sizes seeking easier-to-deploy and faster-ROI alternatives to modernizing legacy systems, implementing new applications, or providing the alternative, complementary functionality” (Rivera and van der Meulen, 2015, p. 8).

Nature of the Market

The CRM market sees a robust growth geographically and industry-wise. Based on the 2015 Gartner report, North America and Western Europe spending continued in double digits with North America generating the bulk of the revenue (52.3 percent) in the overall CRM market. Both regions represent 78.6 percent of all CRM software spending. Emerging Asia/Pacific had the fastest growth of 18.7 percent in 2014.

Eurasia, Greater China, and Latin America also experienced real growth but slower than the previous years. The Middle East and North Africa and mature Asia/Pacific posted healthy growth while Sub-Saharan Africa had the slowest growth (Rivera and van der Meulen, 2015). Over 23 percent of 2014 CRM spending was in the communications, media, and IT service industries. Most companies that buy them invest heavily in call center technologies and have mobile field service and sales organizations.

Manufacturing was also another lucrative industry as companies used CRM for product and channel management. Banking and securities came third in the rankings. Customer service experiences, upselling to other financial products, and analytics are its core activities (Rivera and van der Meulen, 2015). The report recognizes UAE as a fast-growing region. Siebel must employ its research on this area and provide guidelines on how to make it its unique region for growth.

Basic Positioning Strategy

Oracle is primarily focusing on three concerns or themes that functionally determine the Siebel product roadmap. The first is Customer Experience, which improves product usability and extends functionality by integrating with existing Oracle CX portfolio products. The second theme is Industry Innovation. Here Siebel is made available over 20 industry editions. Oracle is also frequently creating innovations in such sectors. The third theme is Business Agility. This idea makes Siebel easier and faster to install, upgrade, and change as needed to address changing business requirements (Oracle, 2014).

Resource Analysis

Oracle Siebel’s strengths are:

  1. its long-standing industry reputation as a CRM pioneer,
  2. its mother company, Oracle, as an industry giant,
  3. it is low-cost, versatile, and reliable products.

Its weaknesses would include

  1. a lost market advantage due to the acquisition,
  2. a string of product issues that led to the loss of consumers,
  3. in-house competition with other Oracle products,
  4. slow innovative growth.

As for the competition, we see

  1. more innovative products (Salesforce, SAP),
  2. more competitive prices (Salesforce, SAP, Microsoft Dynamics),
  3. market share leadership (Salesforce and SAP)

As advantages and strengths

  1. Expensive CRM products (Salesforce, SAP, Microsoft Dynamics),
  2. over-extensive market or business type penetration which is more costly (Microsoft) are disadvantages and weaknesses.

Environmental Projections

Gartner reports a roseate future for CRM as growth in SaaS software is increasing and market consolidation is still a competitor strategy to cover more markets. With pricing, the industry will still experience a competitive environment as market consolidation brings price wars among competitors (Rivera and van der Leulen, 2015). Changes in innovation and technology, growth in mergers and acquisitions, and more market-led pricing strategies will keep the CRM industry a busy and profitable industry.

Problems

Since its inception in 1993 until its 2006 acquisition, Siebel dominated the CRM market. But ever since the acquisition, Oracle doesn’t seem interested in crafting a robust strategy, what to do with Siebel and how to develop the sales force software maker. Initially, Oracle said that Siebel would migrate to Fusion (one of Oracle’s leading CRM product then). But Oracle said that “it forgot” the move; so customers, afraid of uncertainty, moved to other products (Idea Port Riga, 2015).

Even Microsoft weaned itself from its massive Siebel CRM deployment, for its own Dynamics CRM. Oracle’s Fusion came up short while more viable options emerged (Greenbaum, 2012). Currently, as Gartner reported, Oracle lags behind Salesforce and SAP in market share and the once-dominant Siebel CRM is not making much of an impact anymore (Rivera and van der Meulen, 2015).

Oracle Siebel is facing three problems in the current scenario. The first issue is the lack of investments and innovative improvements for Siebel by Oracle. This old question prompted other vendors or competitors to create better CRM software. They took advantage of Oracle’s plan to forego developments and focus on Fusion, which did not do well. Although Oracle has made new products and features the past five years, it was not enough to curb the rise of other CRM software, most of which came into being when the company stopped the investment plan for Siebel due to Fusion.

The second problem is the absence of a clear marketing strategy to at least retain the Siebel brand’s reputation as a CRM powerhouse. The fact that there is no separate website to market it (only a web page under Oracle’s products) only shows a disinterest on Oracle’s part. The marketing effort again was focused on Oracle products and not on Oracle Siebel. Lastly, product issues are still hounding Oracle Siebel in spite of recent improvements. This includes:

  1. complicated deployment process and challenges to set up the configuration management,
  2. difficulties to set up the multi-language and parallel development process,
  3. times consuming and error-prone upgrade process,
  4. bad integration with revision control systems,
  5. terrible Oracle Support,
  6. lack of parallel processing (Idea Port Riga, 2015).

Objective

To solve the issues or problems that Oracle Siebel CRM is facing, first, we focus on a marketing strategy that will showcase its latest improvements or investments. Information Technology has had to advance some features that would be helpful to society. The improvements in the technology must be studied so well that the information that goes to the UAE region is acceptable. Before making the advertisements, the company would seek the services of the local advertisers in the UAE region. By studying their mode of publication and focusing on the culture, it allows the advertisers to learn what to do and what not to do.

The available advertising and marketing avenues would further make the CRM known. Introduction to the market is crucial. Perhaps it would be critical to involve the local citizens in the advert. Employing people would also be a form of advertisement. Target marketing would be the right way of marketing in this region. For instance, the Emirates region has the necessary geographical setting that needs keen observation. Due to the thriving oil industry in the area, there is a lot of development.

The leadership has allowed the expatriates to develop the cities and settle there as they invest in the land. Since most of its products and services serve the entire Emirates region and the world, Oracle Siebel CRM would provide the best integration methods. For instance, Dubai has become a world trading hub. Our company can utilize the available industry growth to maneuver its way to stardom. In this region, it would be prudent to put the head offices at Abu Dhabi and have some branches in each Emirate.

The United Arab Emirates is a federation of seven emirates. Abu Dhabi serves as the capital of the seven. The other six include Umm al-Quwain, Ras al-Khaimah Sharjah, Dubai, and Ajman. The Emirates constitutes of a population of over 9 million citizens. Over 60% of this population comprises of expatriates. The citizens are just a few. This is a market that we cannot ignore.

The Arab people are mainly known to be conservative. They like their traditions, their religion, and their culture. Oracle Siebel CRM’s marketing strategy must ensure that a majority of these people get the message in the language that they understand. The means to achieve this goal must not in any way interfere with their culture.

Marketing Strategy

For Oracle Siebel to regain its former market leadership, it must solve its “droplet-by-droplet” innovation or investment strategy with its parent firm Oracle, address its product issues, and market its products more efficiently. It should reinvigorate its existing CRM product through its 7-hallmark model and increase prices to above-standard/basic editions to compete with market leaders. Another way is to promote products by having a separate website. The website should have subheadings for regional growth. For instance, the UAE region should have its unique category on the website.

Distribution of the products is critical to the sales team. It should distribute its products in the small-business market and geographic regions with the highest and fastest growth (North American and Emerging Asia/Pacific, respectively). Its objectives will be achievable. Other markets have already understood the features and requirements of the products. The UAE market is still untapped to its proximity. The strategy must focus on developing this market in the next financial year.

Small businesses and large Multinational Corporations should have representatives in a workshop to showcase the company’s products. The workshop should include some emirates leaders so that they can pass the message to their citizens.

Even before marketing procedures can begin, there has to be a way of ensuring that the government leaders and the Islamic priests understand the products and their uses. The official language is Arabic, and the official religion is Islam. Any business that thrives here must adhere to the standards of these two important facets of life in the region. Although the language of business is English because of a vast number of foreign investors, it is important to be part of the local culture. English can be instrumental in Abu Dhabi and Dubai because of their strategic needs.

Marketing Mix Development

Product

Oracle Siebel CRM maintains its product advantages through commonly agreed seven hallmarks. They include versatility, low cost, reliability, and top performance. Others are the standards-based design, complete compatibility, and always-on security (Avram, 2016). The 7-hallmark model is on its new features. It has been a product of aggressive improvements during the past years on the part of Oracle.

Features that Siebel delivers are extensible with out-of-the-box administrative capabilities. One can create new products, prices, promotions, territories, and even warranties with these capabilities. The Siebel Object Manager and UI framework provide a robust platform for additional extensibility. Siebel has more than 20 industry solutions built on that platform. It enables customers to develop integrations, extensions, and custom functionality further. Also, many customers are taking advantage of other Oracle CX Portfolio products like Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, Marketing Cloud, and ATG to extend their Siebel deployments with integrations (Oracle, 2014).

The above 7-hallmark model and the new features are expected to advance the CRM into a better market territory. It will solve the major product issues that have made customers shift to other competitor products. Also, the new development will be released this year. Innovation Pack 2016 (aka Siebel 16) and associated features will come into existence during the first of 2016, actually making the software, even more, business agile and competitive (Avram, 2016). The UAE market would be among the first group to grasp this concept in innovation.

Price

Typical Oracle CRM costs, including Oracle Siebel, would cost at least $75/month/user. Their major competitors like Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Sugar, Zoho, and SAP offer different schemes and promotions. Salesforce provides a straightforward, per-user pricing scheme in all its editions. Basic subscriptions cost $55/month/user while enterprise editions cost $150/month/user. Microsoft Dynamics CRM offers discounts with the use of Office 365.

Basic subscriptions cost $30/month/user while enterprise editions cost $200/month/user. Sugar has three different paid options. Basic subscriptions cost $40/month/user while enterprise editions cost $65/month/user. Zoho has a ‘pay as you go’ monthly subscription. Basic subscriptions cost $12/month/user while enterprise editions cost $35/month/user. SAP does not offer a stand-alone CRM system. One has to pay for its ERP too, not just CRM. Basic subscriptions cost $89/month/user while enterprise editions cost $149/month/user (CRM Switch, 2016).

Oracle Siebel CRM is a low-cost CRM compared to its major competitors (Avram, 2016). It is the reason that every business that is small or big in the UAE region will adapt to the products. But the major competitors especially Salesforce, Microsoft, and SAP are priced higher in almost all categories, even when specific editions are under consideration. It could be a market mechanism problem for Oracle Siebel CRM.

While their product improvements are in tune with solving product issues, the price differentials among competitors are keeping the CRM product from targeting a higher end of the market. New prices must be at par with the market leaders to at least salvage a portion of the market that Siebel is failing to reach out due to its low-cost focus. Focusing on specific pricing criteria would salvage the situation.

Promotion

Second to this marketing plan’s identified problem for Oracle Siebel CRM is the lack of a clear marketing strategy. By way of the web page, only a web page, to market its products, Siebel is already at a loss in advertising opportunities. It must work hard to retrieve its once stellar market presence. Oracle is still banking on Siebel’s old popularity. In Oracle’s website too, no open price lists are available for customers to look into and compare with competitor products. The top competitors, Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, and SAP, even the smaller ones have a page solely for comparing product prices and editions (CRM Switch, 2016).

To solve the simple marketing issue, Oracle Siebel must produce a separate web page or site that thoroughly lists the standard information that consumers want. Their existing website did not fail in product information dissemination. However, pricing comparison is missing. Siebel.com merged with Oracle.com as part of the acquisition deal (Oracle, 2016). Oracle mentions that they “now offer a complete, complementary, world-class set of customer-centric applications” on their site (Oracle, 2016, p. 16).

As a promotional concern, Siebel becomes just one of Oracle’s products. For a new customer, this would only divide his time in choosing which is which. But considering the popularity of Siebel, it should have its separate website or page to maintain the consumer’s recall of the product.

Siebel should also invest in advertisement mechanisms to create awareness and influence consumers’ attitudes. Siebel ad designs should be creative and well thought of before launching them into the market. I believe that knowledge is supreme. Once people get the information they are looking for in a product or company, they make quick, informed decisions.

Distribution

The leading CRM vendor, Salesforce, was named CRM Magazine’s Best Enterprise CRM from 2009 up until 2014. It also became the CRM Magazine’s Best Mid-market CRM from 2008 to 2013; Destination CRM’s Winner for Small Business CRM from 2009 to 2011 and 2013, and Leader in 2008, 2012, and 2014 (Salesforce, 2016). All the above shows how broad the focus of Salesforce is, regarding industry or business type.

Oracle Siebel CRM would not be able to reach this level if it maintains a “general availability” focus (Oracle, 2014). It constrains its market potential. While it is in the public knowledge about Oracle’s acquisition and hence the slew of existing and “pure” Oracle products, we expect Siebel only to gain a secondary product relevance. Its focus should at least be expansionary to keep the product on the market.

Among enterprise, mid-market, and small business edition markets, it should concentrate on small companies, where its generality is far more utilized. With geographical considerations, it must focus on the markets it can make good sales. Recently, it has concentrated on the North American market, which covered over half of all CRM sales, and the emerging Asia/Pacific market, the fastest-growing market (Rivera and van der Meulen, 2015). These geographical areas must have more robust distribution centers from Oracle Siebel. Since other competitors have not fully exploited the UAE market, that should be the launching pad for extensive distribution.

Testing and Research

Oracle Siebel needs to focus on the small-business market, enter more aggressively in high-profit geographic regions, and increase prices to non-standard editions. It can use a demand study, market analytics, and cost-benefit analysis to gauge consumer demand. It can also use market needs, competitive situations, and financial efficiency, respectively.

Evaluation and Control

For assessment or evaluation of our marketing strategy, feedback must come from the consumers. It will help to see how well their use of products helps. Customer service should also be strengthened to engage smoothly with customer requests or complaints. Measures like sales, product retention among clients, and client feedback for improvement will help the company compare actual to planned results. They should be advising their customers to clean their databases.

References

Avram, A. (2016). Licensing Siebel CRM: An overview of the most common license compliance issues – White Paper – b.lay. B-lay.com. Web.

Bank, D. (2016). . Web.

Greenbaum, J. (2016). . InformationWeek. Web.

Idea Port Riga. (2015). Web.

Oracle. (2014). Web.

. (2016). Web.

Rivera, J. & van der Meulen, R. (2016). Gartner says customer relationship management Software Market Grew 13.3 Percent. Web.

Salesforce. (2016). Web.

Switch, C. (2016). | CRM Switch. Web.

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