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3 Game-Changing CRM Strategies at Oracle OpenWorld
Oracle OpenWorld '09, Day 2: Executives detail Oracle's broad strategy as a systems provider, and its head of CRM delves into transforming technology at the application layer.
Posted Oct 14, 2009
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SAN FRANCISCO, October 12, 2009 — Splitting time onstage during the Oracle OpenWorld Day 2 keynote presentation here on Monday, Oracle Presidents Safra Catz and Charles Phillips took turns telling the 37,000 attendees where the "hard work" of technology exists today.

Catz pointed out that, although many of Oracle's products are number one in various industries, achieving that status is not what's hard -- from either the vendor's or the customers' perspectives. "It turns out…we were sending you little pieces of technology…and you had to make it work together," she said, making the analogy to a car that can't run without its parts connected. "Companies like us had to take more of the responsibility in making systems work together," she added. 

"That's what the acquisitions were all about," Catz said, referring to the dozens of deals the company has made over the previous few years. "Making the solutions [work together] so you don't have to do it."

[Editors' Note: Other destinationCRM coverage of Oracle OpenWorld '09 can be found here and here, and blogposts about the event can be found here.]

Earlier presentations dedicated to "illuminating" the details surrounding Oracle's acquisition of Sun Microsystems had taken place on Sunday (or "SUNday," as Oracle's marketing materials called it, in honor of the deal). Without precisely clarifying Oracle's plans to incorporate Sun's various pieces, on Monday Phillips referenced Oracle's success in absorbing applications — specifically CRM — as a harbinger of good things to come. "It's instructive to look at that track record when people wonder about Sun," he said, adding that not only does Oracle integrate seamlessly but it makes acquired products better than they were before. 

Joel Koppelman, the head of project management company Primavera -- an October 2008 Oracle acquisition -- took the stage to speak of the integration of project management with financials and enterprise resource planning. Oracle, he noted, is on the verge of releasing integration of Primavera's P6 with existing Oracle products E-Business Suite and JD Edwards Enterprise. The integration with PeopleSoft is also underway, he said.

The Monday keynote also featured speakers discussing integration efforts to close the loop in processes such as budgeting, retail, and supply chain management. 

Anthony Lye, Oracle's senior vice president of CRM, ran through a demonstration on integrating trade promotions with marketing campaigns and supply chains. "Our customers told us they wanted [Oracle to] prepackage Siebel [with supply chain solution] Demantra," he said. 

In a later session, Lye and fellow Oracle CRM executives shared specific strategies for Oracle Siebel and Oracle CRM On Demand. The session, Lye noted, was held in a space three times the size of the room used for a similar presentation at Oracle OpenWorld 2008 -- a sign of the growth and interest in the application, he said. "My job is to identify where the transformation, the reinvention, and the innovation is taking place," Lye said. "I try to commoditize the heck out of it, and put it in the product so you get the benefit of the innovation dollars."

Lye -- who was recently named one of CRM magazine's Influential Leaders in the 2009 CRM Market Awards -- outlined what he called three game-changing CRM strategies that Oracle is fusing into its CRM vision:

1. Executing the cross-channel customer experience flawlessly: Lye promoted the idea that we have moved beyond multichannel, and that the industry's current emphasis is -- or should be -- in cross-channel customer engagement. Customers don't start and end in one channel, he said. They often begin a purchase process in a store, then continue that on the Web. Increasingly, customers are involving mobile, as well. 

2. Tapping into the power of the social Web: On the social CRM side, Lye said, when you think you're talking to customers, "surveys and forums isn't good enough." The value comes from embracing implicit customer-to-customer relationships, and Lye told the crowd that the race is already on. "Whoever can facilitate customer-to-customer relationships will do better," he said.

3. Delivering CRM data when, how, and where users need it: This means integrating with social network data and mobile devices. 

Oracle CRM team members then took attendees through several demonstrations involving mobile applications, loyalty strategies, and social CRM engagement. One particular demo, involving Swedish Rail, showed a customer purchasing a train ticket on his iPhone using loyalty points. The customer was then able to post his travel details on his social network of choice. Another demonstration involved a shopper who interacted virtually with a high-end retailer's sales representative. The sales rep was able to view the customer's purchase history, loyalty information, and demographic data in real time -- and was able to make suggestions for cross-sells based on the intelligent data. 

Lye also promised the crowd that Oracle will soon be announcing new -- and major -- releases of both Siebel and Oracle CRM On Demand. Regarding the lingering question of Oracle's investment in on-premises solutions, he noted that, for Oracle, CRM is about addressing business requirements -- it's not really about the delivery. Oracle's on-premises Siebel offering is extended by Oracle CRM On Demand, he said.

"It's not an 'or' situation - It's an 'and' situation."

News relevant to the customer relationship management industry is posted several times a day on destinationCRM.com, in addition to the news section Insight that appears every month in the pages of CRM magazine. You may leave a public comment regarding this article by clicking on "Comments" at the top; to contact the editors, please email editor@destinationCRM.com.

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