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Siebel CRM Systems, Inc. was a software company principally engaged in the design, development, marketing, and support of customer relationship management (CRM) applications. The company was founded by Thomas Siebel in 1993. At first known mainly for its sales force automation products, the company expanded into the broader CRM market. By the late 1990s, Siebel Systems was the dominant CRM vendor, peaking at 45% market share in 2002.

On September 12, 2005, Oracle Corporation announced it had agreed to buy Siebel Systems for $5.8 billion. Siebel is now a brand name owned by Oracle Corporation.

Siebel Systems, Inc. began in sales force automation software, then expanded into marketing and customer service applications, including CRM. From the time it was founded in 1993, the company grew quickly. Benefiting from the explosive growth of the CRM market in the late 1990s, Siebel Systems was named the fastest growing company in the United States in 1999 by Fortune magazine. With the growth of electronic commerce, Siebel formed strategic alliances and made several acquisitions to provide e-business solutions for CRM and related areas. One secret to Siebel's success was its ability to form alliances; as of late 2000 the company had more than 700 alliance partners.

Siebel Systems uses a customer Experience (CX) Blueprint, which is a user-centered approach to product strategy that ensures the needs of customers are met regardless of channel or delivery model. As a physical artifact, the CX Blueprint consists of a set of user experience, technical, and product blueprints that together are used to set product direction.

Company history


Siebel Systems, tech.Inc. was founded in 1993 by Thomas M. Siebel and Patricia House. Siebel served as the company's chairman, CEO, and president, and House was the firm's marketing vice-president. Previously, Siebel had served as CEO of Gain Technology, a multimedia software firm that merged with Sybase Inc. at the end of 1992. Prior to that he held a number of executive management positions at Oracle Corporation, where he and Pat House met in 1986. At Oracle, Tom Siebel developed the software to run Oracle's product marketing division.

When Siebel Systems was founded, there were some 400 vendors serving the emerging market for sales force automation software. Most of the products being offered were electronic contact managers. As Tom Siebel wrote in Forbes ASAP, 'We thought that if we could build robust software systems that enabled large organizations to apply information technology and communication technology to establish and manage customer relationships across the range of interactive channels—field sales, telesales, telemarketing, the Web, resellers, and customer service—we might create a viable business.'

Siebel hired software engineer William Edwards, former head of the engineering department at document software company Frame Technology Corp., to oversee software development. Guided by his own market research, Siebel established broad guidelines for the new sales force automation software that he wanted: make the software scalable, so that it worked as well for a 50-person sales force as for a 5,000-person sales force; make it work in several languages and currencies; and make it customizable, so that it would work for companies in different industries.

Siebel's sales force automation software allowed teams of sales people to analyze, access, and act on a centralized collection of detailed information about competitors and clients. In 1994 Siebel released the Siebel Sales Information System, priced between $3,500 and $6,500 per seat, for companies with large sales forces. It ran on the Windows NT operating system and would be co-marketed by Microsoft Corporation and Siebel. Among the company's early clients were Charles Schwab & Co., Cisco Systems Inc., Andersen Consulting, and Compaq Computer Corporation. Charles Schwab joined Siebel's board of directors in October 1994 and bought a 2.5 percent interest in the company. Andersen Consulting's managing partner, George Shaheen, also joined Siebel's board, with Andersen Consulting taking a ten percent stake in the company in 1995. By 1997 Andersen employed 300 technicians who specialized in installing Siebel software for its clients.

By 1995 Siebel Systems had $8 million in revenue. It shipped the initial release of Siebel Sales Enterprise software in April 1995. At the end of the year the company introduced version 2.0, which added new sales management tracking and reporting capabilities, including a new executive information system that displayed real-time sales forecast and 'opportunities' data. Priced at $1,750 per user, version 2.0 also automatically converted currencies and allowed users to generate quotes.

For 1996 revenue jumped to $39 million. In June 1996 the company went public. A number of enabling technologies were just becoming more widely available, including replication technology, high-performance relational databases, Microsoft Windows, 32-bit processing, object-oriented programming, multimedia capabilities, and high-bandwidth communications, among others. Siebel was expanding beyond sales force automation (SFA) software into software for customer service and marketing.

Siebel made two acquisitions in September and October 1997: InterActive WorkPlace Inc., which specialized in intranet-based business intelligence software, for $15 million in stock, and Nomadic Systems Inc., which focused on the pharmaceutical industry, for $11 million in stock. For 1997 Siebel's revenue rose to $120 million.


Between 1998 and 2000 Siebel focused its development on the customer relationship management (CRM) software market.

In 1998, SFA software was evolving into the broader arena of customer relationship management (CRM), also known as enterprise relationship management (ERM). That year, Siebel launched the Siebel Certified Consultants program. Siebel acquired Scopus Technology Inc. in 1998, making them the market leader in sales force automation (SFA) software. In October, Siebel formed a partnership with Active Software, which would make connectors to integrate Siebel's software with packages from SAP AG, Oracle Corporation, PeopleSoft, and Baan. Siebel also began shipping Siebel Marketing Enterprise software. Siebel 99, introduced at the end of 1998, introduced access from the Web as well as from Windows CE handheld devices.

For 1998 Siebel saw its revenue rise 89 percent to $391.5 million, while net income rose 135 percent to $55.7 million. Tom Siebel told InfoWorld, "We're the fastest growing company in the history of the application software business." At the end of the year Siebel had about 1,400 employees and had operations in 24 countries.

In early 1999 Siebel stepped up its branding campaign by launching a web portal with services for sales personnel, offering free software (some of which was bundled with new Compaq desktops), and announcing Siebel Sales for Workgroups for release later in the year. Siebel dubbed this initiative "Siebel Everywhere." Other alliances formed in 1999 included bundling agreements with J. D. Edwards, Microsoft, and Great Plains Software. In mid-1999 CRM competitors SAP, SAS Institutemarker Inc., and Siebel all signed agreements to incorporate Dun & Bradstreet data on 50 million businesses into their CRM software. Siebel formed a relationship with ASP Corio Inc., taking advantage of the new trend towards providing CRM via hosted services.Toward the end of 1999 Siebel and IBM agreed to jointly develop and market Siebel's CRM applications, while Siebel agreed to tune its applications for IBM platforms.

During the year several high-ranking executives from rival SAP America defected to Siebel. Paul Wahl, former CEO of SAP America, became president and COO of Siebel in May 1999, and Tom Siebel continued as the firm's chairman and CEO. Toward the end of 1999 SAP America filed a lawsuit against Siebel Systems for predatory hiring practices, claiming Siebel hired 27 former SAP executives during the year.

By this time, the number of SFA and CRM vendors had declined from 400 six years earlier to about 40. In mid-1999, competitor Oracle Corporation announced that it was creating a dedicated sales group for CRM solutions. Siebel added web-conferencing and document-sharing capabilities to its Web portal.

At the end of 1999 Siebel was recognized as the fastest-growing technology firm in the United States in the annual survey, Technology Fast 500, which was conducted by accounting firm Deloitte & Touche. From 1994 to 1998 Siebel's sales increased 782,978 percent, according to the survey. During the year Siebel's stock was added to the NASDAQ 100 index, and Siebel was named the fastest-growing company in the United States by Fortune magazine.

During the year 2000 Siebel would continue to make acquisitions, form strategic partnerships, and continue its rapid growth. Acquisitions during this period included OnTarget, Paragren Technologies, OpenSite Technologies and MOHR Development. Partnerships included Ariba, BroadVision, Aspect Communications, American Management Systems, i2 Technologies, Manugistics Group, Avaya, and PricewaterhouseCoopersmarker.

In February 2000 Siebel announced that IBM would deploy Siebel eBusiness Applications to manage its worldwide field sales and service, marketing and call center operations.

Siebel also introduced a new series of wireless eBusiness applications to provide field sales and service professionals with real-time wireless access to customer data. In March 2000 Siebel formed an alliance with Palm, Inc. to sell software for handheld devices. Also that year, Siebel entered into similar agreements with Sprint PCS and the Nokia Corporation to sell wireless CRM software over their networks.

As 2000 drew to a close, Siebel led the market in Web-based CRM software with more than 400 consulting partners who would recommend and install Siebel solutions for their clients. The firm's revenue for 2000 would easily surpass the $1 billion mark.


This is a listing of Siebel's corporate acquisitions, including acquisitions of both companies and individual products.

Acquisition Date Company/Product Business Area Value (USD) References
2003 Upshot Hosted CRM $50 million (cash), $20 million (future earnouts) ???
2003 Boldfish Email Marketing Server $?? million (cash) ???
2002 Eontec Retail banking front-end $70 million up-front(cash), $30 million (future earnout)
Late 2001 nQuire Business Intelligence $65 million? oracle blog
2000 Janna Systems gui controls, financial customers $1.1 billion in stock []
2000 OnLink Web-based product configuration $609 million in stock ???
2000 Wind ??? ??? ???
2000 Mohr ??? ??? ???
2000 OpenSite On-line auction platform $500 million
2000 Paragren Marketing automation ??? ???
1999 OnTarget Sales methodology & training $250 million in stock added proprietary ownership of sales methodologies, which became integrated into Siebel Sales software and end user training for Siebel Sales
1999 20/20 Group Sales Training ??? added comprehensive end user training to Siebel Professional Services
1999 RogersGrant ??? ??? ???
1998 Scopus Call-Center, Field-Service applications $460 million in stock ???
September 1997 Interactive Workplace ??? ??? ???

Principal subsidiaries: OnTarget Inc.

Principal Competitors: Oracle Corporation; SAP America Inc.; Vantive Corporation (subsidiary of PeopleSoft Inc.); SalesLogix Corporation; Clarify Corporation (subsidiary of Nortel Networks); SAS Institute Inc.; E.piphany Inc.; Broadbase Software Inc.

Siebel System competed directly with Oracle and SAP. These competing software suites gradually developed HR, Financial and ERP packages that were readily integrated and thus did not require specialists to deploy, enabling them to steadily erode Siebel's market share.

Key dates

  • 1993: Siebel Systems, Inc. is founded by Thomas Siebel and Patricia House.
  • 1995: Siebel delivers Siebel Sales Enterprise software for sales force automation.
  • 1996: Siebel becomes a publicly traded company.
  • 2000: Revenue surpasses the $1 billion mark.
  • 2006: Oracle acquires Siebel Systems.

Major releases

  • Integration with Oracle's Fusion TBD


  1. Rivals vie for Siebel's customer spoils
  2. Oracle Completes Acquisition Of Siebel Oracle Press Release
  3. Oracle to swallow Siebel for $5.8 billion
  4. Funding Universe

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