Siebel Systems Inc. CEO George Shaheen shared the stage with a group of Oracle Corp. executives Sept. 19 at Oracle’s OpenWorld conference, a tableau Oracle President Charles Phillips joked that attendees likely never expected to see.

The group assembled for a hastily arranged “town hall” meeting aimed at explaining the benefits both companies anticipate from their US$5.85 billion union, announced a week previously.

Oracle enlisted an extensive roster of executives, customers and partners to testify about the synergies between once-bitter rivals Oracle and Siebel, and the resources Oracle will devote to ensuring a smooth transition for Siebel’s customers. As he did during his keynote address, Phillips spoke about Oracle’s intention to pick off the best features from each of its applications lines to incorporate into its new, forthcoming Project Fusion applications suite.

“We can’t take anything away if we expect people to upgrade. It’s got to be a superset,” he said, in a discussion of the functionality customers can expect from the new Fusion applications.

Phillips also pledged again to support customers on whatever applications they currently run. At least until Project Fusion’s release, Oracle will preserve the brands of its acquired applications and continue selling them.

Oracle’s sales team has a playbook detailing each product line’s strengths; for example, PeopleSoft’s long history in the state and local public sector markets means its applications will often be the ones Oracle suggests to new customers in those industries, Phillips said.

One joint Oracle/Siebel customer attending the meeting, Fujitsu Principal Business Solutions Consultant Debra Lilley, was eager to begin experiencing the benefits of increased integration between the two vendors’ software.

Lilley was impressed with Oracle’s data hub technology and would prefer to use Oracle-built integration wares. She would like to see Oracle release such technology before it begins releasing Fusion application components.

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