Observers Skeptical About Success of Oracle CRM Buyout Binge

Industry executives and analysts said they are skeptical that Oracle can successfully integrate the disparate CRM applications it has acquired with its multibillion-dollar buyouts of Siebel Systems, PeopleSoft and J.D. Edwards.

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SAN FRANCISCO—With its $5.85 billion buyout of Siebel Systems on Monday, Oracle will face persistent questions about how it can effectively market or integrate what amounts to seven different CRM product lines, software industry executives and analysts said Monday.

Oracle Corp. officials said Monday that the Siebel Customer Relationship Management products will be folded into Project Fusion, which is Oracles effort to combine the best features and components of the Oracle E-Business Suite, PeopleSoft Enterprise and JDE Enterprise One into a coherent product line.

However, industry executives and analysts said they were skeptical that Oracle would successfully carry out the massive task of integrating applications from three different large software companies with its own products.

Customers will have questions and concerns about which of those CRM products are going to survive in any recognizable form for the long term, said Bruce Richardson, chief research officer with AMR Research Inc. in Boston.

This will give competitors such as SAP AG or an opportunity to offer there products as perhaps a less expensive or less complicated alternative to Project Fusion, Richardson said.

With Mondays acquisition, Oracle has acquired the existing on-premise and on-demand versions of Siebel CRM.

In addition, Siebel was preparing to deliver by the end of this year Nexus, the next generation of its CRM products that is based on Software Oriented Architecture.

Oracle also had its own CRM product line and had developed an on-demand version of those products.

This array of product offerings will likely cause a lot of confusion for customers until Oracle can show what CRM components will become prominent in the new Project Fusion, he said.

/zimages/4/28571.gifClick here to read Charles Garrys commentary about whether it is wise for Oracle customers to tie a large portion of their IT capabilities to a single vendor.

The integration process is going to take time, and this gives a nimble company like time to show how they can provide the same solutions quicker and for less money, he noted.

However, Oracle is unlikely to face serious legal opposition from the Securities and Exchange Commission this time as it did when it launched its hostile buyout of PeopleSoft, he said.

The SEC will review the acquisition as it always does, but "I just dont see any major issues with the SEC" this time around, he said.

PeopleSofts staunch legal resistance to the Oracle buyout raised issues to which the SEC had to pay attention, Richardson said.

Since Siebel and Oracle reached an amicable buyout agreement, those issues dont exist this time.

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John Pallatto

John Pallatto

John Pallatto has been editor in chief of QuinStreet Inc.'s since October 2012. He has more than 40 years of experience as a professional journalist working at a daily newspaper and...