Oracle’s $5.8bn acquisition of rival Siebel will not have any significant impact on end-user customer relationship management (CRM) buying strategies, according to CIOs.

Software giant Oracle agreed to acquire Siebel earlier this week in a move that will add 4,000 customers to Oracle’s installed CRM base. Oracle’s ability to integrate the merged product lines will be a key factor in its success, yet IT bosses don’t appear to be overly concerned by Larry Ellison’s latest move.

Eleven of’s 12-strong CIO Jury IT user panel said the Siebel acquisition will have no impact on their current or future CRM strategy, while just one said it would.

Many simply don’t use Oracle or Siebel and said the takeover is unlikely to change that. Rob Neil, head of ICT at Ashford Borough Council, said: “Couldn’t afford either of them before, still can’t now.”

Peter Dew, CIO at BOC, said his company has an SAP dominated applications architecture but added that the Siebel acquisition “can only be good for the industry”.

Some predicted other benefits from the deal. Phil Pavitt, CIO at OneTel, said: “Good news – superior Siebel product for cut-throat Oracle pricing.”

Ric Francis, operations director at the Post Office, said: “Oracle will understand that it has bought the market in CRM and continue to integrate into its existing solution set. It’s one of the benefits of buying into the recognised market leader that you have some sort of security against the continual round of merger and acquisition activity.”

For user organisations it is still a choice between costly investment in one enterprise-wide commitment versus the component-based approach, according to Richard Steel, head of ICT at the London Borough of Newham.

“It is still not generally recognised that the difficult bit is the organisational and cultural change needed to support such initiatives. Technology led solutions will not work no matter how expensive they are. We believe component-based solutions provide far greater flexibility and cost efficiency,” he said.

Simon Norbury, head of ICT at Westminster City Council, said there would not be a short term impact from Oracle’s acquisition but that in the medium to long term there “very definitely” would.

Today’s CIO Jury was…

Steve Anderson, European IT partner, Davis Langdon
Linda Chandler, head of IT, London Development Agency
Peter Dew, CIO, BOC
Kirk Downey, CTO, Centrica
Ric Francis, operations director, Post Office
Rob Neil, head of ICT, Ashford Borough Council
Simon Norbury, head of ICT, Westminster City Council
Steve Noyes, CTO, The Met Office
Phil Pavitt, CIO, OneTel
Andy Pepper, director of business information systems, Tetley
Jacques Rene, head of IT & projects, Airclaims
Richard Steel, head of ICT, London Borough of Newham

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