James Governor's Monkchips

Oracle Siebel: time for users to pull the trigger on SOA governance

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Why not use the Oracle Siebel acquisition as the justification for a SOA initiative?

If you are a Siebel, Oracle or Peoplesoft customer its time to establish SOA governance organisation, with representatives from across the organisation (don’t forget to include procurement, because these are the folks with the skills to hammer a vendor down in pricing negotiations).

Otherwise Oracle could establish an unacceptable level of account control. The question going forward – will you manage Oracle or it will it manage you?

What savings can you make in software licensing?

What middleware choices should the organisation make going forward?

What vendors will you use to balance Oracle dominance? And the related question – what is the role of IBM and Microsoft in the structure? How will you play these vendors off against each other? BEA might offer you middleware independence, but it would be risky to assume it will remain independent for long, given Oracle’s current hot streak.

Its time to assess all your databases and platforms- DB2, mainframe, mySQL, MS SQL Server and so on. Oracle will likely exert pressure to reduce use of other databases.

Your Oracle strategy has implications across the organisation, including servers and storage. Are you scaling up or buying into the Dell commodity story? Is grid about resource allocation and virtualisation, or is just an Oracle scaling mechanism? These are all questions worth asking.

What are the new expectations of both the lines of business and different parts of the IT organisation? What do you expect from Oracle and do you a corporate line on what you expect from this acquisition engine?

This could be an opportunity to rethink corporate desktop and client strategies. Siebel 7 was disappointing. Vista is coming. What about Eclipse-based rich clients?

The Oracle Siebel acquisition is therefore possible a very useful event for customers of both companies.

A SOA governance organisation needs to include both people across IT but also some line of business representation. That means customers of Oracle database and middleware, and Oracle applications, as well as the Siebel center of gravity. Enterprises should immediately carry out an inventory to better understand all the touch points between Oracle and the enterprise.

SOA isnt a product. Its about IT Governance, simplifying the business of IT in order to simplify IT for the business. Many successful SOA projects have involved a vendor rationalisation. Its all about setting standards at the center. BEA has some good experience in this area. Why not check out Albertson’s SOA experiences.

SOA means modelling your information flows. Great time to work out the role of an expanding Oracle in this regard.

The idea here is to create an Oracle Siebel governance body and use that as a the basis for a new SOA governance body after the fact.

Struggling to find a business justification for a major SOA project? Well you just got one. Its called industry consolidation.

When the acquisition has bedded down, the SOA organisation can focus on business strategy concerns. Don’t see this as one off, but the beginning of a long road to a better run IT organisation. Oracle-Siebel, SOA governance should start here.


  1. Isn’t this obvious? And while you’re at it, what about SAP/Siebel in all of this? They have many, many joint customers. How does that pan out? Replacement in the face of uncertainty? Larry parachuting in and offering the database as an IBM replacement – FOC at first?

    Another scenario, SAP now says we can remove the uncertainty in a quick and (relatively) painless way. And while we’re at it, Netweaver will solve the SOA problem.

    Assuming you are a SAP/Siebel customer who hasn’t already been courted by IBM/TIBCO etc and placed its bets accordingly. Like in telco, energy and financial services.

    This is a different play methinks. And one that will be played out between SAP and Oracle with IBM etc standing by to pick up the pieces.

    Either way, the idea of SOA governance does have resonance.

  2. Hang on, forgot – MSFT could jump in and acquire SAP…if it could get a deal past regulators.

  3. All very good points that persons leading IT organizations need to sort out… I have this sordid opinion that you either get or ‘buy in’ to SOA and start architecting for standards-based computing or, you follow the lead of your ERP vendor. Governance and business alignment should be part of the IT organization fabric. IT needs to maintain a vigilant eye on vendor relationships add real value or lock in.

  4. well said christian. i tend to think its important to take some independent positions/create leverage points against ERP dominance.

    How many SAP customers truly feel in control of their own destiny

  5. I like this idea–another facet of this could be the establishment of a CRM best practices Blueprint within the SOA Adoption Blueprint Technical Committee at OASIS…

    Interesting stuff, and certainly very timely…

  6. i am all ears miko. how/when to proceed?

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