Oracle Debuts New Cloud Services

SAN FRANCISCO—On the heels of CEO Larry Ellison's big introduction of Oracle's new in-memory function, Thomas Kurian, the company's executive vice president of product development, unveiled a slew of new cloud services during his keynote address at Oracle OpenWorld Tuesday morning.

"To realize the true benefits that cloud computing offers, organizations need access to flexible, reliable, and secure cloud services that are designed to meet their specific business needs," Kurian said. "With the broadest selection of enterprise-grade cloud solutions in the world, Oracle is uniquely positioned to meet this demand. With an expanding portfolio of functionally rich, integrated, and secure enterprise cloud services, Oracle continues to lead the cloud computing industry by delivering instant value to both business users and developers."

While Oracle added 10 services to its cloud platform, Kurian focused specifically on the introduction of Oracle Marketplace as well as on improvements made to Oracle's Human Capital Management tool and Sales Cloud.

The Marketplace, a global marketplace where partners can publish applications and customers can browse through and discover new solutions to address their business needs, will feature a large collection of business applications developed by Oracle partners and enable customers to easily find, evaluate, and buy innovative applications that extend their Oracle Cloud solutions.

Kurian also demonstrated improvements to Oracle's HR cloud—the Human Capital Management tool. The tool, now integrated with Oracle Analytics, will help human resources executives not only recruit, hire, train, and retain employees, but also provide key insight into employee behavior.

"The HCM system is smart enough to predict what's going to happen, meaning it can determine if an employee is thinking about leaving the company, or asking for a raise. In such situations, the system enables HR representatives to make changes right in [the] system. They have the capabilities to promote, relevel, or make other decisions right there," Kurian explained. The new predictive analytics tool promises to revolutionize HR's interactions with employees, he said.

Kurian also touted major improvements to Oracle's Customer Experience Cloud, boasting the industry's "most sophisticated marketing automation tool" and a new service component that allows customers to help themselves through a knowledge management capability and other support communities, and zeroed in on the redesigned Sales Cloud, which streamlines and unifies sales, marketing, and service components.

Kurian demonstrated the six stages of the sales process in Sales Cloud, starting with an "opportunity page" that presents sales representatives with a lead generated through a thorough analysis of a customer's behavior on the marketing end. The opportunity page incorporates data from social media, marketing email clicks, search, and other channels, and gives the sales representative a "360 [degree] view of the customer" to create a more qualified lead, Kurian explained.

"The opportunity page adds a new level to social listening as well," Kurian added, "because it can display information that's relevant to that particular salesperson." He described a case in which the sales rep and the customer have two connections in common on LinkedIn. "This is very valuable information that can be leveraged to make the sale."

In subsequent stages, the sales team can evaluate the customer's previous and current service requests to determine if any issues remain unresolved, draft a quote for the customer, submit the quote for approval from executives, receive real-time updates as the needed signatures are obtained, and finally, submit the contract to the client.

"Throughout the entire process, the Oracle social network is monitoring the process, and providing notifications and updates to everyone involved in the sale. That way, if there is a service issue that is still not resolved, for example, the sales rep can get in touch with the service rep within the Sales Cloud, and the two can resolve the issue quickly and effectively, and move on with the sale," Kurian said.

"The updated Sales Cloud integrates flawlessly into the rest of our customer experience offerings," he added. "It will no doubt help sales reps know their customer better, drive smarter sales, sell more, and make more money for themselves, and for their company."

Companies such as payment technology provider CardConnect are already bracing to make the most of Oracle's new offerings, namely Marketplace and Sales Cloud.

CardConnect, which today launched CardConnect Payment Gateway—an app that securely accepts credit card transactions within Oracle Sales Cloud—is looking forward to providing users of Oracle Sales Cloud with the ability to accept payments directly through CRM.

"We are excited to offer users of Oracle Sales Cloud the ability to accept payments easily, simply and—most importantly—securely through the CardConnect Payment Gateway. This will allow them to sell more products and grow their businesses," Jeff Shanahan, president at CardConnect, says. "CardConnect's participation in the Oracle Cloud Marketplace further extends our reach into the Oracle community and enables customers to easily reap the benefits of the CardConnect Payment Gateway. We look forward to leveraging the power of the Oracle Cloud to help us achieve our business goals."

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