SAP Hires Away Senior Siebel Exec

The executive shuffle in the upper echelons of the CRM industry continued this week, as SAP poached Patrick Bakey, a Siebel Systems executive, to be the senior vice president and general manager of its North American CRM business unit. Bakey, who has 18 years of experience in the IT industry, the last three of which at Siebel, will report to John Nugent, SAP America's executive vice president of sales. Bakey had been the vice president of federal sales for perennial industry leader Siebel Systems prior to his new appointment. The move comes on the heels of last month's AMR Research report that drew SAP into a virtual dead heat with Siebel for last year's market-share lead according to revenue. The AMR report also predicted that SAP would take over sole possession of the market-share lead this year. This has created a stir about a possible change in momentum among the market leaders. Analysts are quick to dismiss any notion of a paradigm shift, however, noting that Siebel recently hired a former SAP executive, Eileen McPartland, to be its senior vice president of global services. "This kind of thing happens and has been going on for a long time," says Denis Pombriant, managing principal at Beagle Research Group, adding that the recent executive juggling may simply be part of "the natural career cycle" that top-tier technology personnel go through. "It might also be smart to hire from the CRM leader if you want a CRM [executive]." Bakey tells CRM magazine that he "didn't leave Siebel for any negative reason." Instead, he says, moving to SAP merely represents a change in perspective: "Most would agree that the landscape for CRM has changed over the past eighteen months. The organizations that are best suited to capture the marketplace today will [possess traits] that are substantially different [from] those possessed by the companies that led" in the industry's early days. Last year SAP anointed CRM as one of the company's three core initiatives. Bakey expects CRM to figure strongly in the overall plan for SAP America, says that his plans are "an evolution through rapid execution" of that initiative. "We see CRM as a high-growth area, one we maybe haven't delivered laserlike focus on," he says, adding that he intends to make the United States "a template" for how the company will approach CRM globally. "We're challenging SAP America to deliver a higher percentage of its revenue growth from CRM than the rest of the world," he says. SAP America will be targeting smaller prospects to that end, Bakey says: "We've seen [CRM deployments] shift away from the monolithic purchase to the [smaller] projects," he says. "We're interested in the large enterprise, but we have significant opportunity in the midmarket." Laura Preslan, research director at AMR, says she sees the emphasis the company is putting on CRM, especially among its largest prospects. "CRM is SAP's highest priority across the enterprise software market today," she says. Preslan also expects Bakey to "use his expertise to aggressively build out the public sector practice, as well as other emerging verticals for SAP, including telecommunications and financial services." Bakey says that the federal market for CRM "is still in its infancy, and still looking for leadership." SAP's efforts in that area will reflect an approach that entails "identifying an attractive market, where a first mover with the right value proposition can take a huge lead." Related articles: Has SAP Finally Caught Up to Siebel?
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