Oracle: Back on Track?

Oracle Corp. has not been gaining the kind of momentum other competitors its size have--in CRM magazine's leaders issue in September 2002, we rated Oracle fourth among major enterprise CRM players. However, the company may be on the verge of a market turnaround, according to Rod Johnson, vice president and general manager of the customer management strategies practice at AMR Research. Johnson woote in a recent AMR paper that by most accounts, Oracle has not positioned itself well in the recent past to meet current business demands. He noted that the integrated E-Business Suite is contrary to what businesses want--smaller, targeted solutions that can be easily deployed. Also, Johnson wrote that Oracle's sales force has not adequately segregated itself to cater to database and CRM buyers effectively, nor has the company had success in creating a product image that drives home quality and durability. "Sounds bleak--and in many ways it has been for Oracle, which has suffered a significant decline in the application business as competitors like SAP and PeopleSoft have rebounded and built momentum," Johnson wrote. "However, as we reviewed some of the recent organizational changes and talked to recent adopters of the latest versions of Oracle 11i CRM, there are reasons to believe that Oracle is poised to rebound in the second half of 2003." Johnson pointed out that in late December 2002, Oracle began significantly restructuring its North American sales force, finally splitting the sales organization into two teams: applications and technology. This fact, coupled with Oracle's going after more effective leadership and promoting its product with references from successful high-profile implementations should help resuscitate Oracle's image and boost sales, according to Johnson. "Oracle is by no means finished with its work, but customers should begin to see a marked improvement in the alignment of strategy and execution," Johnson added. "Based on the changes Oracle has made and will make in the near future, we would not be surprised if 2003 was the year that Oracle applications returns as a market force."
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