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Experts: Siebel shows sensibility with latest acquisition

Siebel Systems surprised the market by announcing acquisition plans hosted CRM provider UpShot Corp. -- a potential rival of Siebel OnDemand. Experts say it's a wise decision.

Just two weeks after Siebel launched CRM OnDemand, a hosted CRM partnership with IBM, it surprised the market by announcing acquisition plans hosted CRM provider UpShot Corp. -- a potential rival of Siebel OnDemand. In acquiring UpShot, Siebel gains at least 1,000 customers -- a good head start for a company that perhaps joined the hosted CRM game late and faces stiff competition from established hosted CRM players like Salesforce.com. The question now is: how will this change the dynamics of the hosted CRM market? And what message is Siebel sending with this acquisition? We asked some CRM insiders to weigh in.


Thompson

Siebel plays the right marketing card

By Bob Thompson

Overall, I think it's a brilliant marketing move for Siebel and a good bail-out for UpShot, which I believe has been losing momentum in the past year to salesforce.com, Salesnet, and more recently, NetSuite. Siebel picks up a critical mass of ASP customers, acquires the intellectual capital of UpShot, and adds an immediate solution that it can sell while Siebel CRM OnDemand is brought to market. Key challenge for Siebel: how to support a completely different business model. Later on, what to do when it no longer needs the UpShot solution to fill the gap.

Bob Thompson is founder and CEO of CustomerThink Corporation, an independent CRM research and publishing firm, and founder of CRMGuru. He is a leading authority on the role of CRM in the extended enterprise, specializing in CRM-related strategies and technologies for Partner Relationship Management and Collaborative eBusiness.




Siebel makes two smart decisions

By Chris Selland

Both acquisitions make a ton of sense for Siebel. Motiva fills a hole in their product line, and Upshot accelerates their (re)entrance into the Hosted CRM market - and clearly makes them a threat to Salesforce.com.

Last but not least, I think this answers my question from August: Will Siebel buy or be bought? The answer is 'buy'. If there was ever any doubt that Siebel was'in the game', there is no more.

Selland is the founder of Cambridge, Mass.-based consultancy Reservoir Partners. Previously he worked as vice president of marketing at eSupportNow and vice president of e-business strategies at analyst firm Yankee Group.




Sweeney

Siebel's plays survival of the fittest

By Paul Sweeney

The Siebel/Upshot deal brings to mind several trite sayings: "If you can't beat them, join them"; "You can't build a better mousetrap"; "What goes around, comes around"; and, "What's old is new again..."

Essentially, the CRM ship is sinking and the rats are scurrying for survival. It's quite clear that there are too many vendors chasing too little business...something has to give. As in life, the big eat the little and life goes on. In the end, the industry is suffering from a self inflicted wound...buyers have finally come to realize that CRM ISN'T a technology, but rather a discipline. Consequently, no urgent need to find the silver software bullet. Also, like the automobile, CRM products all look very much the same, making it much harder for buyers to differentiate offerings. I guess Darwin wouldn't be surprised, it's simply "survival of the fittest".

Paul Sweeney is the founder of Sweeney Group, Inc., an independent consulting firm specializing in the selection, design and integration of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems. Paul has focused exclusively on CRM since 1993 and offers over 20 years of related sales & marketing systems experience.

Greenberg

Siebel makes smart move with UpShot

By Paul Greenberg

I have to hand it to them. If they are trying to enter the ASP market, they made a good move when they acquired Upshot. Upshot is a quality ASP CRM provider and has been among the top five for awhile. They are respected, have a good staff and though late to the game with things like Outlook integration, they have solid small business functionality. What will be interesting is to see how Upshot germinates in a Siebel environment culturally. Its hard to say, but I'll be watching.

In addition to being the author of the best-selling CRM at the Speed of Light: Capturing and Keeping Customers in Internet Real Time, Paul Greenberg is President of The 56 Group, an enterprise applications consulting services firm, focused on CRM strategic services including go-to-market strategies for vendors and integrators, implementation strategies and vendor selection. The 56 Group also provides writing, speaking and educational services.

Siebel plays the right marketing card

By Bob Blumstein

I think that the acquisition of Upshot will not only add to Siebel's customer list but the influx of expertise may also help to shorten Siebel's learning curve for the market.

Bob Blumstein is Director of Research for CRM Analytics and Marketing Applications at IDC, a worldwide research firm. Mr. Blumstein has over decades of experience in the direct marketing and analytics field, with positions in database analysis, marketing, and sales for Fortune 1000 clients.

Lowenstein

Tom Siebel puts 'chokehold' on smaller CRM players

By Michael Lowenstein

The Siebel Saga is starting to look like Frank Norris' classic book, The Octopus. In 1901, about a century before this CRM software industry consolidation began, Norris wrote about the classic struggle in California between wheat farmers and the railroads. The book was called The Octopus to represent the chokehold the railroads endeavored to put on the farmers. The railroads wanted to buy any and all of the wheat farmers' land that was anywhere near their rights of way. They were able to control wheat prices, forcing the farmers to sell only to them, and ship only in their rail cars at their high rates, forcing many of the smaller farmers out of business. Norris didn't know anything about computers, to be sure, but the moral of his book comes pretty close to describing the strategy of Tom Siebel and also of his business deity, Larry Ellison.

Michael Lowenstein, CPCM, is Managing Director of Customer Retention Associates, a customer and staff loyalty program development, research and consulting firm located in Collingswood, New Jersey (www.customerloyalty.org).

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