Shaheen will likely respond with "some very aggressive internal behavior to manage costs and achieve the kind of positive growth that the board expected Lawrie to generate," Wardley said. "One of the main points in Georges favor is that he excels at meeting and exceeding financial expectations," Wardley said, his experience at Webvan notwithstanding. Lawrie also had that reputation before he arrived at Siebel. He might have still achieved those goals if the Siebel board felt it could afford to give him more time.Click here to read why customers had been hopeful that Siebel had finally turned the corner toward steady growth. Siebel still retains its core identity as a best-of-breed CRM technology company selling licensed software that has long sales and implementation cycles. Trying to build a hybrid structure where it also sells hosted CRM applications may not be a formula for success in a competitive market where its getting squeezed between the big ERP vendors and the pure-play hosted CRM services. Siebel may seem an attractive buyout target with a stock price of $8.80 and $2.2 billion in the bank. But Tom Siebel has a lot of ego and sweat equity invested in his company. He is unlikely to go looking for a suitor. Then it becomes a question of whether Oracle or SAP wants to acquire a CRM company. Both companies already have fairly strong CRM applications in their portfolios and likely have little desire to spend perhaps billions trying to acquire Siebel. Shaheen may find that he can only preside over a slow but steady decline. There are times when even the best business managers find it impossible to change a companys fortunes. Lawrie may find that losing his job at Siebel was one of lifes tender mercies. John Pallatto is a veteran journalist in the field of enterprise software and Internet technology. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis about productivity and business solutions.
The latest management shakeup raises the question yet again whether Siebel can long survive as an independent company and if it is therefore ripe for a takeover.