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April 29, 2005updated 19 Aug 2016 10:11am

Siebel: Struggling With Its Own CRM?

Let me get this straight: Siebel claims to be the leader in customer relationship management software and services, and even has the tag-line 'Siebel, It's All About the Customer', yet it doesn't know what its own customers are doing?On a

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Let me get this straight: Siebel claims to be the leader in customer relationship management software and services, and even has the tag-line ‘Siebel, It’s All About the Customer’, yet it doesn’t know what its own customers are doing?

On a conference call explaining why its results were so bad that its board decided to oust Mike Lawrie – the CEO who had been there less than a year – incoming CEO George Shaheen said he wanted to make some changes to the sales force because it is overly complex and bureaucratic, and he added that the company is not properly in touch with its customers’ buying cycle and needs to better understand what is driving the relationship. Yes indeed – It’s All About the Customer alright.

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Siebel saying it doesn’t understand its customers is like Nike’s board saying they would be fitter but they don’t have any decent running shoes, or Pizza Hut’s board saying they are a bit peckish, and are popping out for a Chinese take-away. Or FedEx saying they were struggling to get stationery delivered to the right board members on time – you get the idea.

Little wonder it’s being rumoured this afternoon that Oracle is in talks to buy Siebel for up to $5bn. It’s not the first time it’s been rumoured, and I wouldn’t put it past Oracle, but if they do buy it they might want to consider purchasing some CRM software separately to help run the Siebel sales force.

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