Oracle Outlines Customer Experience Strategy

Software giant Oracle drew close to 400 analysts, members of the media, and customers to Gotham Hall in New York City last night, where the company outlined its customer experience strategy and discussed its string of big-name acquisitions.

"We've been able to pull together a portfolio of best-in-class solutions and we feel we're in a position to offer our customers a suite of applications driving customer experience," Anthony Lye, senior vice president of Oracle CRM, said. "We are [looking to make] IT enabled for line of business."

Last October, Oracle bought cloud-based customer service software company RightNow Technologies for $1.5 billion. This May, Oracle's RightNow CX Cloud Service was integrated with Oracle Fusion Sales to foster stronger cross-channel customer interaction capabilities. Oracle picked up e-commerce mega-company ATG in 2010, which Lye says was "one of our greatest successes."

Oracle also picked up Endeca last October, another e-commerce and BI score for the software company. Lye made mention of its acquisition of FatWire, which added Web experience management to the mix. Most recently, Oracle announced plans to acquire cloud-based social media marketing platform Vitrue and social analytics company Collective Intellect.

"You have to be able to connect to the customer where they want to connect, and when that occurs, you have to remember that that relationship can last seconds and minutes," said Mark Hurd, president of Oracle, during a presentation. "You have to offer the right information at the right time...and you must be able to transact."

Lye says businesses must give their customers flexibility in choice when that transaction occurs. "Today, [most] companies don't know who their customer is," he asserted. "Some measure a customer based on transactional value, but companies must be able to calculate [who their customer is] based on social and referral value," while incorporating behavioral data for deeper insights.

In light of its recent flurry of acquisitions, Oracle still acknowledges the inherent challenges. "Sometimes, when we buy a company, we do have to do some rewriting," Hurd explained. Lye concurred, and remarked that the company realizes "we can't integrate everything to everything." Building an experience suite does not erase the fact that there are strong single-point solutions on the market. However, Oracle is asking itself, "Can we enable multichannel, cross-channel [transactions]?" Lye said. "We have to make sure our solutions are available to customers in the cloud. We wanted to be a leader in this space."

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