New Oracle CRM Stratgey Aims for Next-Gen Customer Experience

By | Jul 3, 2012
Topic: CRM/ERP

Technology giant Oracle has been hounded over the last few years--lawsuits against both Google and HP have not only tarnished its reputation but helped set precedent whereby even minor issues of intellectual property are settled in courtrooms rather than boardrooms. Now, co-president Mark Hurd has unveiled a new customer relationship management (CRM) plan he hopes will win back customers and ultimately generate greater revenue. But can this Oracle CRM strategy--from a company that has shown itself reticent to embrace new technologies like the cloud--really see substantial gains?

Out With the Old

A recent CRMBuyer article discusses the Boston Enterprise 2.0 conference and researcher Denis Pombriant's experience at some of the conference's panels, including one on Big Data and CRM. During the discussion, Pombriant heard the story of a company that had migrated to a new CRM platform and deleted years of sales data in the process.

Initially, Pombriant and others in the room were dismayed, thinking of all the opportunities lost for performance analytics and customer relationship development, but as they delved deeper, it became clear that cross-sections of sales data alone weren't really worth keeping; like single lines in a novel, they didn't tell the whole story and as a result couldn't act as fertile ground for the seeds of analysis.

This is the trick for IT admins looking at CRM solutions--not just knowing that you can analyze data, but knowing what data is worth analyzing at all. Making this kind of determination is even more important as the amount of Big Data produced by a company grows--there's no sense in holding onto information that won't be of use.

Buy Buy, Hurd-y

An article at IT World Canada talks about the new Oracle CRM strategy, which can be summed up in one word: acquire. The company has already acquired ATG, FatWire, and RightNow--which have capabilities for e-commerce, Web content creation and CEM vendoring, respectively--and plans are in the works to grab social media software marketer Virtue and social data analysis firm Collective Intellect. According to Anthony Lye, Oracle's senior vice president of CRM, "[Customers] want to interact with a company wherever and however they want," and he acknowledges that the "lifetime value of a customer has changed," incorporating not only how much they spend but their worth as a social catalyst.

It appears that Oracle is attempting to match efforts by other large tech firms like IBM and Salesforce.com that are on the hunt for acquisitions, though Lye asserts that none have the depth of Oracle's offering. Their plan, he says, is to "compete for each opportunity that presents itself within customer experience," rather than selling their mega-stack of CRM products as a unified solution. Ideally, the company's disparate solutions will not only provide improved front-end interactions for users but also provide actionable data, data that's worth analyzation. It's one thing for Oracle to acquire provider after provider, but if they can't generate information worth analyzing, all their spent money won't mean a thing.

For midsize business IT admins, the new Oracle CRM strategy speaks to a wider net being cast by big tech firms across the nation: Acquire as much as possible and hope for the best. IT pros don't have the luxury of that kind of capital, however, and need to consider not only what specific CRM solutions will best serve their needs, but what data they have is best analyzed and which is best thrown away.

This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet. Like us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.

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