Siebel partners are concerned about channel conflict in the wake of the Oracle buyout.
Oracle completed its multibillion-dollar buyout of Siebel Systems Feb. 1. Earlier this month, Oracle hosted 390 Siebel partners from around the world near its Redwood Shores, Calif., headquarters. There, Oracle Co-president Charles Phillips and his lieutenants filled them in on Oracle’s channel and product integration plans.
To recap, Oracle now fields three direct sales teams: one for Siebel CRM; one for its E-Business Suite, PeopleSoft and JD Edwards applications; and another for its database and application server.
The very existence of three direct sales teams sparks concerns not only about increased channel conflict, but also how Oracle will position at least three CRM lines—Oracle’s own, PeopleSoft’s, and now Siebel’s—and the channels selling each. Some partners worry that Oracle’s plethora of CRM could confuse customers.
“Moving forward, Siebel CRM is the over-arching, de facto lead product,” Rauline Ochs, Oracle’s group vice president of North America Alliances and Channels, told CRN. “We don’t really much compete with ourselves. We determine where we have the best shot at winning. “There may be cases, in existing PeopleSoft accounts in higher education, for example, where we might push PeopleSoft CRM, but in any new situation, the lead product is Siebel,” she said.
Ochs and Phillips spent time with the Siebel contingent as did Ed Abbo, senior vice president of CRM products, Rob Reid, senior vice president of Siebel OnDemand, and Matt Mills, senior vice president of North America Strategic Accounts. They encouraged any partner who encounters conflict with inside sales—a concern at both companies before the merger—to escalate the problem.
“Matt Mills assured me that if we had problems [with conflict] he’d take care of it,” said Akif Rahman, founder and president of Hambra Consulting, a longtime Siebel partner based in Chicago.
Current Siebel partners can join the Oracle Partner Network free before June 14.
But Rahman and other partners said the proof will lie in implementation. There is some fear that the direct sales forces, growing out of two very aggressive premerger staffs, will continue to spark conflict, they said. Another issue is potential conflict among partners with respective PeopleSoft, Oracle, JD Edwards and Siebel heritages.
“There could be channel-on-channel conflict, but I’m not too worried about that,” Rahman said. “You can out-compete your competitor. Conflict with direct sales is more of an issue.”
Oracle is still integrating its PeopleSoft and JD Edwards buyout.
“We’re very pleasantly surprised by Oracle. JDE is selling strong, and we’re also now selling Oracle E-Business Suite. We expected far less than what we’re getting” in terms of support and help from Oracle, said Vukan Ruzic, president of Profit Concepts International, a JD Edwards specialist in Long Beach, Calif.
“More clarity is needed in some areas, but I don’t doubt they will sort it out,” said Madhu Madhavan, managing director of PeopleSoft partner Premier Consulting Group, Secaucus, N.J.