Oracle Siebel Licensing (CRM) A complete guide

What is Oracle Siebel CRM?

This article will teach you about Oracle Siebel Licensing – Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software is designed to enhance profitability, revenue, and customer satisfaction. Various CRM solutions are available, such as Salesforce CRM, SAP CRM, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Zoho, Oracle Siebel, and Sugar CRM. This article focuses on Oracle Siebel, developed by Siebel Systems Inc., and acquired by Oracle Corporation in 2006.

Siebel CRM is a complex software solution that allows organizations to manage customer information and process orders, service requests, and payments. The Siebel products are available as Horizontal Applications, Vertical Applications, and Analytics. Horizontal Applications are industry-independent solutions, while Vertical Applications are industry-specific products that contain modules from both horizontal and vertical applications. Analytics products were available as standalone editions until version 7.8, after which their functionality was bundled into the Oracle Business Intelligence product group.

The Siebel applications can also be classified by user type: Employee Applications, Customer Applications, and Partner Applications. Licensing policies may differ depending on the type of Siebel products. However, after Oracle’s acquisition, licensing became more complex. End-users could download Siebel license keys without upfront obtaining a license.

Siebel Pricing

Before Oracle’s acquisition of Siebel, the company sold its products as individual applications, such as Siebel Sales Enterprise, or as application bundles, such as eAdvisor and eConfigurator Bundle. However, Siebel offered a limited number of application bundles, and they were not frequently sold. After Oracle’s acquisition, Siebel products began to be sold under the three standard pricing models for Oracle applications: component licensing, custom application suite (CAS) licensing, and enterprise licensing.

Component licensing is a pricing model where customers can license one or a few Oracle products with a limited number of end users. For example, Siebel CRM Base can be licensed per Application User, allowing one individual to use one single Siebel software program. Custom Application Suite (CAS) licensing allows customers to purchase different software products in one bundle, such as Siebel CRM Base licensed per Custom Suite User, which allows one individual to use multiple Siebel software programs as defined in the bundle.

Enterprise licensing is a pricing model where customers can license the desired Siebel software programs for their entire organization without having to keep track of specific user licenses, servers, or deployment locations where the Siebel software programs are installed. For example, Siebel Asset Management can be licensed by the Enterprise Metric “Enterprise $M in Revenue”.

Siebel Licensing including legacy license metrics

  • The metrics used by Oracle for Siebel products are similar to the legacy metrics used by Siebel System.
  • Siebel products were commonly sold per user, with Named User being one of the most common user-based metrics, which migrated to the Application User metric used today.
  • Both Named User and Application User licenses focus on the number of individuals authorized to use the software, regardless of whether the user is actively using it or not.
  • The current pricelist for Siebel products includes definitions for both Named User and Application User metrics.
  • Application User is defined as an individual authorized to use licensed application programs installed on a single or multiple servers, regardless of whether the individual is actively using the programs.
  • If a customer licenses the Oracle Self Service Work Request option with Oracle Enterprise Asset Management, they must maintain licenses for the equivalent number of Application users licensed.
  • For Order Management, application users are allowed to manually enter orders directly into the programs, but orders entered electronically from other sources must be licensed separately by Electronic Order Line.
  • Named User is defined as an individual authorized to use the programs installed on a single or multiple servers, regardless of whether the individual is actively using the programs.
  • Additional Named Users may use the Siebel Programs only upon payment of additional license fees.
  • Registered User is another type of user-based license that focuses on the number of business partner individuals authorized to use the software, typically used for Partner Applications.
  • Other non-user based licenses, such as Processor, Physical Server, and Computer, count usage based on the hardware on which the Siebel software programs are deployed.
  • Computer licenses are similar to legacy Physical Server licenses and often come with limitations, such as the number of CPUs on the machine or number of records stored in the database installed.
  • End users must ensure that the extra limitations in the terms of their agreement are met, as any breach would require purchasing additional licenses.
  • Some metrics, such as Custom Suite User, Enterprise, and Concurrent Users, only became available for Siebel Products after Oracle’s acquisition.

Individuals Authorized vs. Individuals Using the Software

  • The most common Siebel license types are user-based, such as Named User, Application User, or Registered User.
  • These metric definitions require the total number of licenses to be determined by the total number of distinct individuals authorized to use the software, regardless of whether they are actively using it.
  • One of the common mistakes organizations make is to only license active users, even if their contract requires every authorized user to be licensed, including those who may no longer be actively using the software.
  • A proper cleanup process is necessary for production environments as well as test/development/acceptance environments to remove unnecessary authorizations.
  • After Oracle’s acquisition of Siebel, test, development, and acceptance instances need to be licensed as well.
  • Inactive users with access to the software still need to be licensed, as per Oracle’s methodology.
  • Proper cleanup involves performing a complete user deactivation process, updating employee IDs, statuses, responsibilities, and making other changes at both the database and application level.
  • Many organizations fail to comply with Oracle’s methodology for measuring usage in a Siebel environment, and a complete deactivation methodology is usually lacking.

Siebel Responsibilities

  • Users gain access to Siebel products by being assigned a Responsibility, which contains one or more views associated with a Siebel product.
  • All users assigned a Responsibility are automatically authorized to use the corresponding views and products, even if they only use a part of them.
  • However, some of the additional views included in the assigned Responsibility may provide access to other Siebel modules or functionalities that the organization doesn’t have licenses for, resulting in non-compliance.
  • Often, Siebel administrators assign Responsibilities to users without being aware of the views behind those responsibilities and which Siebel products they are associated with.
  • Therefore, performing a proper clean-up should also involve validating the user responsibility association process to ensure that only licensed products are being accessed.

What is Siebel SPE?

The Siebel CRM Professional Edition (SPE) is a less complex and scaled-down version of the Siebel Enterprise Edition, developed for small and medium-sized businesses. However, it has its limitations, such as lacking the Vertical Siebel Products available in the Enterprise Edition. This can impact licensing, as many SPE customers use Enterprise functionality unknowingly, either due to a wrong downloaded key or accessing more functionality than needed. Organizations using external-facing applications should purchase licenses on a metric for external users, as external-facing licensing metrics are often cheaper. If a customer exceeds their current license grant, they are required to migrate old license metrics to the current ones and purchase additional licenses, which can be more expensive. Properly keeping track of their changing population can help organizations avoid non-compliance situations and associated costs.

External Users Lacking Licenses

  • Siebel product offerings include Employee Products, Customer Products, Partner Products, and Analytics.
  • An organization can be licensed for internal Siebel products, which are the Employee Products, and external Siebel products developed for customers and partners.
  • Organizations using external facing applications should purchase licenses on a metric for external (non-employee) users.
  • External facing licensing metrics are often cheaper due to the smaller size of the population.
  • Many organizations provide external users access to internal applications without owning an external license type.
  • Compliance can only be determined on the available (internal) license metrics, typically Named User, Application User, or Concurrent User, resulting in large non‐compliance situations and associated costs.

Siebel Custom Views – Common compliance issue

Many organizations have created custom views in their Siebel installation to meet their specific needs. These custom views make up the majority of Siebel usage in these organizations. It is important to pay close attention to which Siebel modules and functionalities the custom views are based on. Even if only one custom view is mapped to an unlicensed application, this can result in significant compliance risks and financial risks. It is important to note that users with access to custom views will eventually be allocated by Oracle to licensed or unlicensed Siebel products, which many Siebel CRM customers are not aware of.