External Application integration – SIEBEL
It is not easy to get two disparate systems to talk to each other. They are different in many ways – they are built differently. They are meant to do different things. And they speak different languages, for starters.
Let’s take the case of Kotak Mahindra Bank.
They have been using a Seibel CRM system to manage their customer information and their Customer Relationship Management on the whole. As we are aware, Siebel (an Oracle acquisition) is amongst the most popular CRM software in the market today. The tool basically helps the bank make the right decisions as they are able to look at the sales, marketing and customer information all in one central place. The tool helps the bank reduce costs, improve operating efficiency and increase customer satisfaction.
As we are aware, Kotak Mahindra Bank is a large Indian private bank that offers a wide range of banking products and financial services for corporate and retail customers. It does this through a variety of delivery channels and specialized subsidiaries in the areas of personal finance, investment banking, life insurance, and wealth management. Needless to say, they have a large customer base and enormous amounts of customer data that they work with.
It so happened that Kotak had a problem. As was mentioned earlier, they have been using the Siebel CRM system for all their marketing. Now they wanted to build a responsive contact history for their customers using and this needed IBM Campaign.
Now the IBM Campaign is an entirely different animal. It is a sophisticated Omni-channel Campaign Management Solution that helps the marketing team to design, execute, measure and optimize outbound marketing campaigns. This tool helps the marketing team to segment the customers over multiple data sources, so they can deliver tailored messages to each of them. It also is able to track, measure and report on all the marketing activity.
Two cool systems – and one problem! How do you get them to talk to each other?
These are two disparate systems. But they both work with the same data. The Campaign tool needs access to the data in the Siebel CRM tool. The problem was one of integration – how do you get these two systems to work together and without interfering with the integrity of the Siebel CRM system?
What we did was to develop some Web Services, built some custom solutions in Java, which would act as a bridge between the two systems – Campaign and Siebel. The Web Service would take inputs from the Campaign tool and send it to the Seibel Web Service, which would send back details like the offer, treatment and the campaign itself through the Java web Service, for further processing. And then the contacts and prospects lists will be sent back to Seibel through the Campaign tool.
Normally a process like this will call for an investment in a separate third party application to act as a bridge between the two systems. This would mean extra investment in new infrastructure and delays. The Java-based Web Service did away with all that and got both the systems ‘talking’ without affecting the existing CRM structure in any way whatsoever.
Yeah we are cool like that.