Siebel’s Pre-Oracle Plan

Colin C.

Updated · Oct 18, 2005

BOSTON — Siebel CEO George Shaheen was on the job just five months when
Oracle CEO Larry Ellison made a Godfather offer.

The decision to accept the $5.85 billion bid was an easy one, but Shaheen
can't help wonder what would have happened if Oracle hadn't come calling.

“I don't think there's a person on our management team that wouldn't have
liked a couple more quarters to prove our mettle,” Shaheen said during a
press conference here at Siebel's CustomerWorld.

Shaheen's short-term plan was to boost its revenue engine and cut costs by
running a more efficient business. News that third-quarter financial
results will be better than last year validate that strategy, Shaheen said.

But long-term, Shaheen wanted to emphasize the company's business analytics
software, believing it would propel annual revenues from $1.4 billion to $2

“Our business analytics business was our sleeping giant,” said Shaheen, who
has formerly led Andersen Consulting (now Accenture) and failed
online grocer Webvan.

Later in the interview session, the 60-year-old executive was even more
exuberant, calling the product suite his “secret ticket back to the promised

Siebel's business analytics software integrates data from multiple
enterprise sources to help executives, managers and employees make
decisions. It's used by 600 organizations worldwide, including 15 of the 25
largest U.S. corporations.

But Shaheen sees more potential, agreeing with some industry estimates that
predict the market is worth up to $18 billion a year. But just because
the San Mateo, Calif., company is being sold doesn't mean Shaheen's
aspirations for the software are dead.

“Our product is more advanced than most and we'll continue to build it out,”
Shaheen said.

While Oracle is primarily focused on integrating Siebel's CRM products
into its Fusion offering, IT managers there “probably already know” how
valuable the business analytics software is.

“I believe [Oracle] bought a heck of an asset here,” Shaheen said.

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