Consultants Are Standing By
Siebel and Oracle partners try to relieve customer headaches.
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Siebel Systems' partners are focused on keeping Siebel shops from defecting as rivals create strategies to lure away uneasy customers. Some partners are concentrating on educating customers and helping to ease the anticipated transition. Deloitte Consulting LLP, a Siebel partner since 1998 and Oracle partner since 1992 that has also had relationships with PeopleSoft and J.D. Edwards, is taking a business-as-usual approach for now. "It's going to be very, very valuable and very positive...and that's our message to our clients," says Carmine Cutone, director and global alliance leader for Siebel at Deloitte Consulting LLP. "Nothing much is going to change in the short to medium term, [but] long term it will depend on how Oracle rolls out this Fusion product." Keeping customers and internal employees informed is key, according to Bill Donlan, managing officer of Adjoined Consulting's CRM practice and cofounder of Adjoined, a Siebel partner for about six years, as well as an Oracle, PeopleSoft, and SAP partner. "We have to help talk to what's available in the marketplace and talk to risk--where the risk actually is," he says. "You have to try to point to what's happened in the past, and infer what might happen in the future. The PeopleSoft case does give you the ability to do that." Donlan, who has more than 10 years of experience with Siebel's product set, says advice to concerned customers is often situational, but notes that selecting an on-demand application "until things shake out" is a choice. Some companies are furthering their partnerships via additional offerings. NaviSite, which deploys and manages software applications and infrastructure for midmarket organizations, and is a Siebel and Oracle (with J.D. Edwards and PeopleSoft) partner, has extended its Enterprise Application service offerings with a new set of specialized services including regulatory compliance and software upgrade support for Oracle and PeopleSoft customers. "It's a two-step process of helping the customers on the current product sets and then eventually coming up with a plan for migration to Fusion two [to] three years down the road," says Nasir Cochinwala, NaviSite's senior vice president of professional services. Cochinwala spent 10 years at Oracle running the West Coast consulting group. "Right now the short-term goal is to make sure that all of the customers are happy and they're not thinking about, for example, going to SAP or someplace else." On the ISV partnership side of the equation, industry pundits are keeping the closest eye on IBM. Although IBM hosts Siebel CRM OnDemand, Oracle and IBM compete in the database market. "IBM had a pretty tight partnership with Siebel and that partnership certainly is not going to remain as tight once the acquisition has gone through," says Rob Bois, research director at AMR Research. "[But] Oracle did announce that they are going to continue support for IBM WebSphere as sort of the underlying application server technology." These types of partnerships and commitment to all of Oracle's product lines have not kept a lot of customers from switching. And if Oracle delivers on its promises, Bois says, "I don't anticipate a lot of Siebel customers are going to jump ship."
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