SAP and Siebel are head to head!

SAP and Siebel are head to head! Hey Didier? “You’re kidding, aren’t you? It’s Monday. We’re supposed to be moody!” Haha! Those were the headlines… 20 years ago (13 February 2001). For the admirers of Salesforce & Co, I was indeed joking.

I found this headline in my archives yesterday. I used to show them in presentations at that time. But what a journey for CRM since!

When I became part of the CRM community in the late 1990s, the market leaders were Siebel, PeopleSoft, SAP or Vantive. Do you remember?

Some of you may have even worked with those vendors? Myself, I was specializing in three of them – SAP, Siebel and PeopleSoft. It was all about opening those applications to the world. The era. That was amazing time and great fun!

Salesforce was not really in the picture yet. It was a rather small Software-As-a-Service Sales Force Automation tool. The trend towards SaaS and Cloud that has fuelled the rise of Salesforce since, had not really started yet. It was even extremely difficult to convince customers, even though Salesforce was already one of the best solution and one of the simplest to implement. We faced a kind of conservatism and protectionism from IT departments probably.

Microsoft, too, was not really in the picture. Media were all guessing when it would arrive and how it would impact the market. Dynamics CRM finally arrived in early 2000’s.

Later, we went mobile. Was it a breakthrough? Frankly, between you and me, not really. Nearly no project I was involved in did include mobility in its scope. I did so many presentations on mobile CRM at that time. But the integration with backend systems or even the synchronization with Outlook was complex enough to capture all attention. The Blackberry nor the iPhone were there yet.

At one point, Oracle decided to invest massively in CRM: The purchase of the then-market number 1, Siebel, and number 2 PeopleSoft. No kidding. That was a big thing. As a result, both Siebel and PeopleSoft became history. And the new Oracle CRM never really reached the promises.

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During that period, Salesforce grew and grew, adjusting sometimes but never changing its vision.

Today, Salesforce is the market leader without any doubt. Salesforce, SAP, Microsoft, and Oracle are representing 50% of the market collectively. But competition in the CRM market is tough and other players like Adobe, Zoho, Sugar CRM, or Pega are competing fiercely. New players in the Customer Data Platform (CDP) market are also coming.

Contrasting with Buzzati’s The Tartar Steppes, nothing is static. The journey has been tremendous. I have been working with CRM for more than 20 years and I can’t wait to see what will the market be in… 20 years. Groovy!


About the Author

Didier Dessens

CRM and Digital Experience Advisory