Oracle OpenWorld 2017: The CX Cloud Helps Transform Companies, Speakers Say

SAN FRANCISCO — On day two of Oracle’s OpenWorld conference, in a general session titled “Exceed Skyrocketing Customer Expectations with Oracle CX,” speakers detailed the vision and promise of Oracle’s Customer Experience (CX) Cloud, which spans sales, customer service, and marketing functions.

According to Rondy Ng, Oracle’s senior vice president of applications development, the Oracle CX Cloud has evolved significantly in recent years and continues to do so. “Since I took over the organization, we’ve started to shift our focus on bringing an extra level of services to the customers we’ve been partnering with,” he said—specifically, to those companies that are going through transformations, as they face new competition and explore new markets. The leading companies, he said, are leveraging data-driven, innovative technologies such as artificial intelligence and augmented reality to connect with customers in groundbreaking ways.

“Oracle is no longer just about the technologies, but the partnerships of our customers, [and] how we really work together to bring all of these technologies together into next-generation solutions,” Ng said, adding that Oracle works with top companies in a variety of  industries—financial services, higher education, government, retail, and others.

One such company is Levi Strauss & Co., and Marc Rosen, its executive vice president and president of global commerce, described the 164-year-old clothing company’s ongoing transformation from wholesaler that sold through other channels to direct-to-consumer seller with a full-fledged e-commerce platform. “What we’ve had to do is get our data in place to know who our consumer is and interact with them,” he said. The company is focused now on using data it has centralized on Oracle’s Marketing Cloud, and leveraged its Responsys and Bluekai offerings, to drive personalization in its communications, and connecting online and offline into seamless experiences, among other things.

In the future, Rosen said, he envisions the company combining a variety of technologies to digitally help customers as they try to see what they’ll look like in the clothes and put together their outfits. The company recently launched a “virtual stylist,” which allows customers, through social media messengers or the website, to enter into an exchange with a bot that can communicate with them using natural language understanding and link them to user-generated content that shows how average people look in the items they’re browsing. “As we move forward with that, we’re looking at taking it even further” and implement, among other things, 3-D imaging to see what a particular fit and style would look like on a customer.” 

Jack Berkowitz, vice president of adaptive intelligence and data science at Oracle, said that Oracle’s approach to AI is about providing companies with “immediate time to value,” which the company achieves by building apps preconfigured for specific domains, including sales, service, and marketing. The apps are built on three layers: the Oracle Data Cloud; domain knowledge built into the apps, such as algorithms for functions such as price optimization; and connectors, which enable users to drag and drop their apps into separate systems such as Oracle’s Responsys marketing automation platform.

This all “means that you can get going quickly and experiment,” Berkowitz said. “You can decide to roll something out in a week, not five or ten months or something like that.”

Berkowitz noted that a major advantage of Oracle’s CX suite—enhanced with six AI-driven capabilities for Adaptive Intelligent Apps, announced yesterday—lies in the vast and reliable amount of data it can access to make decisions. “The Oracle Data Cloud is the world’s largest collection of advertising data,” he said, and it is composed three pieces: data collected via Oracle’s platform, picked up via widgets placed on web and social media sites; contributions from the more than 1,500 data provider partners, such as Kayak.com and others, which allows companies to create deep consumer profiles; and consortium data, or data collected from companies that hand it over in exchange for data from other companies.  

This week, Berkowitz pointed out, the company further strengthened its data portfolio by establishing new relationships with a number of business data providers, including Dun & Bradstreet and HGData. The partnerships, he said, “provide us with a rich understanding of a business.” Companies can see who a business buys from and sells to, any vulnerabilities in its supply chain, and other information, including news about the business or events associated with it. “All this information comes together to inform the AI,” Berkowitz said. “It’s not just about displaying the information; we actively interpret it on the fly.”

Berkowitz said that Oracles cloud customers benefit from the “connected intelligence” pooled from the Oracle ecosystem, which includes cloud offerings for HR and ERP or supply chain data. “That idea of having everything interconnected in your business—only Oracle can do that, because we’ve got this full suite,” he said.  

Laura Ipsen, general manager and senior vice president of Oracle Marketing Cloud, agreed, pointing out that marketing and service data need to be connected for companies to create “one-to-you” marketing experiences. “If you just had a bad service experience, it doesn’t feel good to open up an email saying, ‘Hey, happy customer, I have something more for you to buy.’” Marketers can benefit from changing their messaging in real time.

“The customer isn’t changing—the customer has changed,” Des Cahill, Oracle’s CX Evangelist, said to close out the session. “We are all tough customers, so I really think we are entering a new phase of CX,” driven by rapid innovation. 

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