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9/30/2002
03:39 PM
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SAP Snags Former Siebel Exec

Bill McDermott takes over as CEO of SAP America, which is looking to become a dominant CRM player.

SAP on Monday introduced former Siebel Systems Inc. exec Bill McDermott as the new CEO of SAP America Inc. It's a move that one analyst describes as the equivalent of one-time Boston Red Sox star pitcher Roger Clemens being a key component of the rival New York Yankees.

The hiring of McDermott, most recently executive VP of worldwide sales at Siebel, is a key development in SAP AG's efforts to meet co-chairman and CEO Hasso Plattner's goal of becoming the dominant customer-relationship management vendor, says Louis Columbus, a senior analyst at AMR Research who watches SAP closely. McDermott brings a level of experience working with U.S. corporate channels, something SAP was seeking for its U.S. operation. "To meet the kind of revenue and growth targets they have, they needed to have someone with that enterprise experience," Columbus says. "This is a real strong shot in the arm."

McDermott's presence is good news for SAP customers or any company considering an SAP CRM deployment, Columbus says. He expects McDermott to focus on strengthening integration between SAP products so SAP's CRM application provides better visibility into its manufacturing and supply-chain offerings. That, in turn, will mean less hand-coding during CRM integration projects.

The news, however, isn't so good for Siebel or its customers. Says Columbus, "You have to be concerned any time a seasoned executive goes to a direct competitor."

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