Systems integrator and business process outsourcer, Extraprise Group Inc, which has been a partner of Siebel Systems Inc for nine years, surveyed customers during Siebel's CustomerWorld event in Boston last week to assess their feelings about Oracle Corp's takeover of Siebel, and concluded that most customers believe the acquisition will have a positive impact on their own CRM strategy.
Of existing users, 76% said they plan to continue to use their Siebel applications, but the figure dropped to 56% when they were asked if they would feel comfortable staying with Siebel following its merger with Oracle. However, 55% said the merger would have little or no effect on their companies. As Bill Geronimo, director of CRM application development at Pitney Bowes said during a customer panel held during CustomerWorld, "it was earth-shattering for Siebel, for us it was just another day at the office."
The variance suggests some ambivalence among the respondents, which is hardly surprising given that Siebel will have little control over its future direction once it is part of the Oracle stable. The optimism arises from Oracle's repeated promises of future support and development, and assurances that Siebel's CRM approach will be central to its CRM efforts. The fact that Oracle has continued development of its acquired JD Edwards and PeopleSoft products has also helped boost confidence.
Extraprise takes the view that even though just over half of the respondents said they would be comfortable staying with Siebel, post-acquisition, Siebel will retain customers as a result of its track record, incentives, and the difficulties that migration away from Siebel present. Of the three, the difficulty of migrating away is likely to be the major factor in customer-retention. The survey indicated that less than 4% would migrate away from Siebel applications as a result of the merger.