• October 3, 2012
  • By Leonard Klie, Editor, CRM magazine and SmartCustomerService.com

Oracle Gets Social with Its Cloud Offerings

SAN FRANCISCO (Oracle OpenWorld) --- Oracle CEO Larry Ellison yesterday boldly pronounced that his company now "has more [cloud-based] applications than any other vendor," noting its complete software suites for customer relationship management (CRM), human capital management (HCM), and enterprise resource planning (ERP), among others.

"We have, by far, more applications than anyone in the industry," he added.

Oracle's application suite, marketed under the Fusion bundle, has already been adopted by hundreds of companies, Ellison stated during his afternoon keynote Tuesday.

Of those companies, 38 percent have deployed CRM applications, 39 percent have deployed HCM applications, and 23 percent have deployed ERP. By deployment type, 65 percent are through the cloud, 26 percent are on premises, and 9 percent are on demand.

"Oracle is also the only cloud company that gives [customers] a choice of deployment options," Ellison said.

A few days earlier, Ellison announced during his opening keynote Sunday that Oracle would begin offering the Oracle Private Cloud, which allows customers to store some of their most sensitive data behind their own firewalls while still maintaining all the benefits of a cloud deployment. With that offering, the company now lets customers deploy solutions in the cloud, on premises, or as a hybrid of the two.

Signaling Oracle's recognition of the growing importance of social media to companies and how they interact with their customers, Ellison also announced that all the company's SaaS applications are being enhanced with social capabilities.

The central component of this is the Oracle Social Relationship Management Platform, which has four main parts:

  • Oracle Social Network, for internal collaboration;
  • Oracle Social Engagement and Monitoring;
  • Oracle Social Marketing, which helps companies establish a presence on social networks; and
  • Oracle Social Data and Insight, which aggregates data from enterprise, social, and external sources to enrich business applications and helps ensure that customer and prospect contact data is always up-to-date.

According to Abhay Parasnis,  senior vice president of the Oracle Cloud, the Oracle Social Relationship Management Platform is a response to what he sees as customer demand to standardize their social media activities onto one platform and bring all their disparate applications together.

Anthony Lye, Oracle's senior vice president of CRM, says social media's reach is expanding far beyond the marketing department, but that is still where it is largely based today. It's a very broad term, but it needs to be "an embedded part of the company culture," he said.

To highlight, social media's influence, 1.43 billion people around the world routinely log into social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, according to statistics presented at the conference. In the United States, 79 percent of adults have a profile on at least one site, and spend roughly 2.7 hours a day on such sites. Other data indicated that 42 percent of consumers have mentioned a brand in their status updates, 58 percent have "liked" a brand on Facebook, 39 percent have written a post about a brand to Twitter, and 51 percent have followed a brand on Twitter. Almost 20 percent have used social media to access customer service.

That brings up additional challenges for companies trying to manage their data, because social media information is unstructured. This data is five times to seven times more prolific than structured data, and is growing 3 times as fast, according to Oracle's senior vice president of product development, Thomas Kurian.


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