Sales force automation (SFA) and user experience management have pitted Oracle and Salesforce against each other with Marketo snapping at their heels. All three have been piling the pressure on with new releases and announcements as they battle to dominate the market.
Yesterday, at its Collaborate annual conference for the Oracle application and technology community, Oracle added some major enhancements to its CPQ Cloud. It also announced a number of upgrades to it sales cloud that are focused principally on making SFA more mobile.
If Oracle was hoping to steal the limelight on this one, Marketo beat it to the punch.
Marketo announced a day earlier that it had expanded its suite of customer engagement products. These products enable marketers to develop personal relationships with customers by overseeing digital marketing and campaign strategy in real time. Marketo also announced a new partnership with Acxiom to add data and analytic to the platform, enabling users to customize marketing content across enterprise customer touch points.
Oracle's Big Move
The Marketo announcement provided some mouth-watering insights of what is now possible for marketers in real time. However, yesterday was Oracle’s day in the sun.
It may be a coincidence that Oracle made these two announcements the same week as the Marketo conference. But with Oracle there are no such things as coincidences, especially when it comes to securing a market share in a technology space that is as competitive as this one.
At Collaborate, Oracle finally capitalized on the potential and technology of the configure, price and quote (CPQ) vendor, BigMachines, which it bought last October for $400 million. CPQ software automates the sales process by providing order processing with guided selling, workflow approval processes on the cloud, and making those processes accessible on mobile devices.
At the time of the deal, Oracle noted the acquisition would give it cloud-based, end-to-end sales automation capabilities, and provide sales teams with the information, access and insights they need to maximize revenue opportunities in all phases of the sales cycle.
By adding BigMachines’ CPQ Cloud to the Oracle Cloud, companies will be able to drive more revenue and increase customer satisfaction with a seamlessly integrated process across marketing and sales, pricing and quoting, and fulfillment and service.
The deal was closed at the end of last year and since then all has been relatively quiet. However, with this announcement, Oracle is providing users with access to the entire CPQ suite via mobile tablets.
Other enhancements include extended support for integrations with Oracle Sales Cloud and Salesforce.com, which will effectively automate the entire sales process for inquiry to sale closure.
There are other enhancements here, too, that make the administration and process around the sale a lot easier, including formula management, migration rollback, which recovers from the inadvertent migration of flawed content between test and production environments, and more product support.
It also ensures that new users will still be able to connect to their existing sales force automation product, and specifically Salesforce.com, which is a nice touch when you consider that the two are at each other’s throats in this particular space.
But that’s not all. Oracle also announced it has updated its Sales Cloud by providing a new user interface, which Oracle describes as easy-to-use and intuitive, as well as improvising mobile access n to the Cloud.
According to a statement from Oracle, this set of upgrades focus on improving sales productivity improving sales automation for mobile mobile experience for sales representatives and sales and making it simpler to use and requiring less training for users.
Oracle Sales Cloud as of the end of this December, and without today's improvements
However the improvements are not just for mobile devices. Oracle has redesigned the interface for all users.
The other major enhancement here is the addition of real time analytics — again for both mobile and desktops — which, Oracle noted, will enable organizations hone in on the deals and negotiations that are most likely to succeed.
Information from the analytics tools are presented through real time configurable dashboards that enable sales managers and sales executives to focus on areas at risk and problem deals, instead of spending valuable time collecting data.
These are only the latest releases from Oracle in the SFA and engagement space and still only April. However, it is unlikely that this will be the last updates we will see here this year with Oracle Open World in October and the competition in the space.
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