Superstah! Oracle Social CRM - Customer Relationship Management

There is no question that Oracle has come a long way since 2007 with the announcement of their Social CRM applications. Since then,they’ve become a leading contender when it comes to market leadership in CRM. They’ve got a visionary leader in the personage of Anthony Lye,their SVP of CRM and a long-time CRM industry veteran. They have a number of Enterprise 2.0 based sales tools that are both unique and valuable to the industry. They’ve embraced to a large extent the on-demand model and have a genuinely good product with Oracle CRM On Demand (previously known as Siebel On Demand,previously known as Upshot). Coming from me,this is high praise indeed,since prior to 2007,I can’t exactly say that I was a fan of the company. But with Anthony Lye at the helm,it all makes sense now.

Mission 21st Century
I asked Anthony Lye directly what the future holds for Oracle Social CRM. Here’s what he said:

Social CRM will separate winners from losers. Oracle will drive Social CRM to be solutions where the consumer Internet meets the corporate intranet. A platform for conversation for customers to connect with each other,with companies,all in the context of a campaign,a sale,or a service request.

As if to prove Anthony right,Oracle hasn’t stopped with the Sales 2.0 apps (see the following section) they call Social CRM. They have working with L’Oreal to develop an iPhone application for marketing and selling L’Oreal products (that can be generalized to any products) that would access the social reviews of the products in addition to the company materials and allow you to rate and comment on those products via your iPhone. They are working around the clock to incorporate cloud-based applications that would be appropriate to CRM—though at the time of this writing,we still have no idea how things are going to shake out after their acquisition of Sun.

The Products:Social CRM by Any Other Name
Perhaps their CRM-related crown jewels are their Social CRM threesome. They go by the name of Sales Prospector,Sales Library,and Sales Campaign Manager. Collaboration is the common thread for their applications. While each has a set of unique features,the one thing that stands out is the ability of the salesperson to build a collaborative network—an outcome-based social network—around existing opportunities to optimize the chances of the sale to succeed.

The premise that underlies these applications is best explained by Anthony Lye:
Complete CRM is now a combination of three main solutions: transactional CRM,analytical CRM,and Social CRM. Social CRM leverages social media,social networking,and social metadata to support new relationship structures,C2C,C2B,and new processes as control of the relationship shifts from vendor to customer to community. As we saw with the introduction of analytical CRM eight years ago,companies who embrace Social CRM will do better than those who do not!

Sales Prospector
Sales Prospector is premised on its ability,using the “like me” model,to forecast the rate of success of an opportunity. It uses sophisticated algorithms to predict the likelihood of the deal closing,the time it is likely to close,and the likely amount of the deal. It’s based on the idea that the history of prior deals like it in combination with externally captured knowledge can generate a reasonably accurate map of the possibility of success. It uses the historic customer data of deals past to see which product mix would engender the best rate of success—in other words,an enterprise version of a recommendation engine. The purpose is to use history and social sources (external sources) to increase the likelihood of success—or,if you take the glass half empty approach,decrease the likelihood of failure.

Not only does Sales Prospector have this very useful purpose,but it looks pretty damned good too—with a UI that a salesperson can actually use. Nice and clean. Even I almost understood it,which means that a regular Joe can figure it out in a heartbeat.
Oracle-sales prospector
Oracle Sales Prospector

As good an idea as this is,it is a bold move for Oracle. Its accuracy makes or breaks it. If the forecast for likelihood of closure,time of closure,and size of opportunity is close to accurate (100 percent would be a bit much to ask for anything made of digital pieces),then Oracle has a real winner that looks good too.

Sales Library
Sales Library is an important product in the Oracle portfolio and one that can be a huge factor in the success of a salesperson’s efforts at closing an opportunity. It is wisely set as an SaaS-based application,which will allow it to integrate with any Oracle on-premise or ondemand CRM capability.

Oracle’s description of what it does is pretty good,but undersells what it’s capable of. They call it a “collection of shared content,which users can rate,tag,comment on, and leverage to build the best presentations for advancing their sales opportunities.”

Which it is.But it is more than that.

The library—the shared content—is,in its own right,actually an outcome-based community, what has been called an activity in prior parts of this book,that exists to improve the chances for that sales opportunity to succeed. It gives the particular salespeople and those in the company who need it access to presentations that can be rated,tagged,and commented on. Those presentations are being discussed via these tools by a community of interest built around the opportunity. The content can be broken out by slide or by presentation. If any participant sees a particular presentation as valuable they can promote that presentation so it can be included in the discussion.
Aggregate-tag,rate and comment
Oracle Sales Library—aggregate,tag,rate,and comment

Sales Campaign
This application borders on being a marketing application,but the beauty of the application is that a salesperson can create an HTML or e-mail campaign and track the results with or without the marketing mavens’ involvement. That has a potentially big upside with the ability to develop a campaign quickly that is both professional and can track its own results. The downside is that marketing might get upset that your unaligned sales self is doing that. But it is a very important part,though the least sexy,of the Oracle Social CRM suite.

More Products to Come
In March 2009,they announced several substantial additions to the Oracle CRM On Demand portfolio,including:

  • Oracle Self Service E-Billing On Demand

  • Oracle CRM On Demand Deal Management

  • Oracle CRM On Demand Enterprise Disaster Recovery

  • Oracle AIA integration between On Demand and JD EdwardsEnterpriseOne

They aren’t stopping for anything.
They are champs and deserve to be recognized for their pioneering efforts for Sales 2.0 for the enterprise. So I will.

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