This title alone had me really chortling — Accenture Slams CRM As Ineffective. Beyond the fact that no one in health care has yet made CRM work, didn’t anyone at Accenture get the slight irony of this, given they made so much money in the late 1990s.
Let me spell it out a bit more clearly. Who is the leader in CRM software (you know, the stuff that’s ineffective?) Why that was Siebel System which basically invented the concept in the mid 1990s. And what did Siebel do with 10% of its pre-IPO stock? Why they gave it to Accenture (then called Andersen Consulting). And why would they do that? Was there any chance that Accenture might just tell all its clients to put in a CRM system and, given the very tight relationship between Accenture and Siebel, might that just have been a Siebel CRM that they put in?
Now they’re telling us that they didn’t work. Not to worry–remember that Andersen got 10% of the company prior to the 1996 IPO. Remember what happened next?
This article suggests that by 2001 Andersen was down to owning only 3%, suggesting that it had sold some 7% of the company over that time. Siebel’s market cap at about $8 a share is now around $4.5bn, but for most of 2000 and 2001 it was worth more than $50bn which means that if they got their timing right Accenture could have walked off with up to $3 or 4 billion in profits on their investment. All in all not bad for something their clients say is ineffective! But they’ll need some more consulting to fix that.
The ultimate joke is that Siebel now has a new CEO. Who? Well it’s George Shaheen, the guy who left Accenture to go to dotcom flame out Webvan at the top of the market….what goes around comes around. But don’t worry — according to the 1996 S-1, Shaheen got 88,000 shares of Siebel stock too, which split 4 times in the next 4 years giving him over 250K shares. So if he got any of that off at a decent number, he did just fine.