• April 15, 2008
  • By Marshall Lager, founder and managing principal, Third Idea Consulting; contributor, CRM magazine

Oracle Helps Seal the Deal

As part of its Collaborate '08 conference in Denver this week, Oracle yesterday announced the availability of Oracle Deal Management, a module enabling sales professionals to optimize the deal process, control price erosion, and make better pricing decisions during negotiations, resulting in higher company profits. The technology, which the company acquired in June 2007, is now built on Oracle Fusion Middleware as part of Oracle Price Management. It supports Siebel CRM 8.0, Oracle E-Business Suite 11.i.10, and Release 12, with open APIs for integration with non-Oracle applications. "Oracle Deal Management uses analytics to look at the 'deal,' the fuzzy area between opportunity and order, seeing it in relationship to other like deals within the pricing segment," says Anthony Lye, Oracle's senior vice president of CRM. The price a company chooses to set has an impact in the current negotiations as well as in other deals, he explains, and it can be important to know ahead of time if the customer's historic orders match usage, or if the sales team has overpromised. It provides a workbench incorporating deal histories, embedded analytics, and past and real-time market metrics, as well as the ability to model scenarios during negotiations. "It helps enforce policy and workflow, and to understand and interpret profit margin. Oracle Deal Management is the analytical complement to CRM and guided selling." The original product came from developer Revenue Technologies, a company Oracle acquired in June 2007. The acquisition brought a list of existing customers along with it, industrial manufacturing giant Honeywell chief among them. Companies like Honeywell often engage in long-cycle, consultative sales processes with extensive product configuration and package deals, something not always associated with price optimization, but Lye says there are many places where the technology can help. "It's not just for high-volume, low-cost situations like retail," he notes. "Many segments can benefit." Analysts agree. "Deal management is one of the outputs of price optimization, and the perception is that price optimization is a black box technology that's hard to make accessible to line-of-business users," says Noha Tohamy, a research director on AMR Research's market services team. "Oracle Deal Management looks at behavior and suggests a range of price points that are right for both the prospect and the vendor, tying it to win/loss probability," something a salesperson can understand and work with. Companies who are already familiar with the former Revenue Technologies will recognize much of the new product. "Oracle has more or less kept the intellectual property and leveraged it to fit into a bigger footprint," Tohamy says. This makes it blend with existing enterprise systems rather than stand out as something new to learn and consider. "Most competitors to Oracle Deal Management are best-of-breed solutions. Oracle's value proposition is that they can offer it as a component of ERP or CRM."

Related articles: No Markdown for Price Optimization Applications in Gartner MarketScope Over the next few years, pricing technology will have a more direct impact on increasing revenue or margins than any other CRM technology, according to the research firm. Pricing Practices Start to Make Change A new survey reveals more resources -- time, money, and employees -- being dedicated to managing prices in B2B industries. Predicting Profitability After years of trial-and-error, enterprises are finally developing innovative strategies and incorporating new software to allow them to identify -- and sell to -- their most profitable customers. The Price is Right: Price Optimization 101 A session on the emerging technology kicks off the destinationCRM2007 conference in New York, and focuses on how businesses are maximizing profitability analytics. Real-Time Mobile Solutions Can Maximize a CRM Investment Seven tips for rendering data real and actionable. Enterprises Are Profiting From PMPO Pricing solution deployments are budgeted at up to $5 million for large companies in this relatively untapped market. How BPM Technology Helps CRM Deliver on Its Promise Extend the reach of your CRM application beyond its traditional silos. Market Watch: Many Possibilities, One Price Companies are finding that price optimization software can ease the path to smarter sales and increased profitability.
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