Oracle Releases a Social Services Suite

Last week software vendor Oracle made a different kind of social announcement. A departure from the social CRM news we have become so accustomed to, Oracle released a suite of applications for a more traditional area of social -- government social services. With new versions of Siebel CRM Public Sector 8.2 and Oracle Policy Automation 10, Oracle offers an end-to-end solution for social services organizations, a vertical move that Oracle senior vice president of CRM Anthony Lye gushes:"It's bigger than teleco; it's bigger than financial services; it's bigger than hi-tech."

In addition to the social services play, Oracle updated its CRM On-Demand software, enhanced its mobility and field service tools in Oracle E-Business Suite, and announced two big customer wins. Here's a breakdown of the news from Big Red:

Siebel CRM Public Sector 8.2 and Oracle Policy Automation 10

In this release, Oracle is utilizing technology gained from the October 2008 acquisition of Haley, a provider of policy modeling and automation software. "We are seeing an interesting opportunity emerge in health and human services as government services look to transform from legacy siloed solutions to front-office, citizen-centric strategies," Lye says. The lynchpin of this release, Lye says, is the eligibility automation it provides for agencies. A problem in many government agencies is the wait-time that occurs from the time when a law is passed until it is actionable. Oracle adds automation to the eligibility determination process, ensuring that clients or citizens quickly receive the correct entitlements.

Brent Leary, founder of CRM Essentials, points out that the solution can be a "win-win" for both the agency and the constituents. "Anything that allows services to be consumed more easily by the folks who are in need is going to be impactful right away," Leary says. "Organizations and government agencies they are looking how to streamline and because they are working with less and still providing services because we still expect them... anything that allows that to happen is going to be huge." Leary notes that the Oracle release is reminiscent of Government 2.0, evidence of the public sector merging with Web 2.0

Oracle CRM On Demand Release 17In the latest version of Oracle's software-as-a-service CRM application, the vendor has furthered its pre-built integrations (for instance with order-to-cash functionality) and has dug deeper into analytics. Lye points out that Oracle CRM -- which happens to be the vendor's fastest growing business application -- has, on average, 120 sales people per company use case. Because of the large number of sales people, analytics have become an upmost need. 

Oracle CRM On Demand 17 includes industry-specific additions for hi-tech, automotive, medical devices, and financial services. Now, Oracle has added life sciences to that list, providing a unique application geared toward pharmaceutical sales people. 

The Life Sciences Edition, Lye says, is unique in that to-date pharma software has been inward facing. The Oracle pharma solution, however, is a tool that can be used internally for salespeople to assess their effectiveness, but it can also be used in interacting with a physician or whoever the "customer" might be. The solution captures signatures digitally and provides tools for rapid presentation creation. 

"That's something I have never heard of before in terms of having the CRM product for the customer view as well as the employee view," Leary says. "When it comes to the area of pharma sales, [sales people] don't have a lot of time in front of doctors .... so this is a way to spend less time in front of the doctor and still be able to get the information and the sentiment and the story across." The solution also includes a "planned activities" feature that allows pharma sales people to track visits to health care facilities that may not result in an actual sale or consultation. Before, Lye says, something like that would go unreported. 

Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12.1.2

New features and functionality in Oracle's Mobile Field Service and Oracle Field Service enable users to personalize interactions with customers -- even from the road. The latest release includes open standards for organizations to extend their mobile platforms and to do more in terms of mobile applications, searches, and emailed receipts. Oracle Advanced Scheduler has a new interface and includes enhancements to its location and mapping capabilities.

Customer wins

Oracle is boasting two large companies have signed on with Oracle CRM On Demand.   DundeeWealth, an Independent Wealth Management Company with more than 1,200 employees, plans to run Oracle On Demand as its core business process and Integrate it with other lines of business including o all of its lines of business, including capital market, retail, wholesalers, marketing, compliance, call centre and operations divisions. MonierLifetile, U.S. Manufacturer of Roof Tiles founded in 1997, signed with Oracle CRM On Demand as its first-ever CRM system.

News relevant to the customer relationship management industry is posted several times a day on destinationCRM.com, in addition to the news section Insight that appears every month in the pages of CRM magazine.

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