Siebel Systems, Inc.

By Eric Marti, Garth Saloner, A. Micheal Spence
1999 | Case No. EC1 | Length 23 pgs.
This business case study describes Siebel Systems, Inc. situation in mid-1999, as CEO Tom Siebel guides his company along a path of furious expansion. Just six years old, Siebel Systems had captured a dominant share of the market for customer relationship management (CRM) software. The rush to e-commerce was fueling CRM market growth of more than 50% a year: companies increasingly viewed CRM as a top priority, because the Internet multiplied the complexity of how customers interacted with companies. The case recounts the history of Siebel Systems, and includes data on the CRM market and Siebel’s competitive environment. In addition to a handful of pure CRM vendors, Siebel faced competition from several significantly larger companies, such as Oracle and SAP, which were established in the enterprise resource planning (ERP) market. Another area of potential competition was the proliferation of e-business software developers, who were building Internet-based applications that incorporated some CRM functionality. Tom Siebel identified three strategic challenges for his company as it moved forward: 1) to continue its consolidation of the fast-growing CRM market; 2) to maintain a strong corporate culture that stayed focused on 100% customer satisfaction; and 3) to develop management bench strength sufficient to guide the company’s rapid growth. The case provides a vehicle for readers to analyze how Siebel’s corporate strategy-product development, marketing, and so on should address these objectives.
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