Anthony Lye, the senior vice president of CRM at Oracle, gave a brief 45 minute "chalk talk" with CRM analysts, press and bloggers at Oracle Open World. It was a small and intimate setting with around 30 or so people who were free to ask any questions they wanted about Oracle CRM. Anthony also took 20 minutes to brief the room on exactly what was going on with the CRM side of things at Oracle.

Oracle CRM 18

Anthony said that that CRM 18 on Demand is adding a best in class marketing solution to the existing CRM product. This is great news because the marketing piece has always been lacking. Customers always had to go to third party solutions for marketing solutions and they ended up with two contracts, two databases and two pipelines.  

Customers want and expect one pipeline and one system that can handle sales, marketing and support. Oracle is now going to be able to offer something that can provide a single solution for all these elements instead of having customers go to multiple parties to make this happen.  

CRM 18 is also going to add a social relationship management feature, basically integrating social media into the product. While many may be excited about the addition of social functionality it's to be expected and at this point should be a standard..

Anthony also mentioned that CRM 18 is going to add business planning features. For example, you can add business plans for things such as territories, opportunities and accounts. These business plans which are typically written in Word and left somewhere on a computer can now be brought into the CRM system. Users will be able to monitor how well they perform against their business plans.

The Oracle database stack will also be upgrading to 11g and adding data vault, it will also be able to run as Saas.  

Innovation Packs for Siebel

An exciting announcement for people who are on the Siebel platform. Increased functionality is going to come through innovation packs. Basically this means that customers can get upgrades and updates without actually going through the full upgrade process.

Companies using Siebel can now just consume new functionality by rolling it out onto their existing environments. According to Anthony, 80% of the their customer base is currently on the latest one or two versions of the software.  

CRM in the Fusion Application Portfolio

CRM is also a big part of the fusion application portfolio. Fusion can be deployed on premise or on demand, there is also a hybrid model which allows some pieces to be on demand while others can stay on premise. The entire fusion portfolio can be deployed as a suite or on multiple databases. Regardless of the option selected, the company should still have a consistent view of the customer.  

Questions From Attendees

Some of the questions asked by attendees:

Denis Pombriant from Beagle Research: "Congrats on paying more attention to how people do their jobs.  The way sales people work is changing and it's great to see Oracle trying to support that. Can you please provide us with more details on the business planning and how goals get set and how system does tracking?"

Anthony: CRM 18 is going to have fields, drop-downs and customizable variables such as win/loss ratios. The application records these ratios and tracks how many leads and opportunities flow into your territory and track your win/loss ratio. (To me this sounds like something Cloud-9 analytics has been doing for quite some time albeit it's built on top of Salesforce).

This system will tell you how well you are progressing against your goals and will provide support in real time. For example, you can specify how many leads you want and the system will tell you how many you have vs what you projected. You can set the business plan to look at any object either out of the box or customizable.

Paul Greenberg from the 56group and Zdnet: You said you were developing social relationship management functionality which allows for internal collaboration and also external outreach. Is "social relationship management" what you are calling it? How are you doing influencer outreach and measuring it?

Anthony: No, we are not officially calling it "social relationship management," it's just a term I came up with off the top of my head.  

The current enterprise software hypothesis is that if you establish peer-to-peer visibility, sales reps can follow each other and co-create value by having insight into what peers are doing and working on. Activity streams and spaces allow for a very rich set of collaboration activities built into Fusion. This means that people can pull other people together and follow objects.

On the outside there are already great collaboration channels such as Facebook and Twitter. If someone tweets something favorable about you, you can reach out to them via the CRM application. You can also follow them directly from the CRM solution and deliver materials to the person in the form of a TinyURL. When that person shares the URL, the CRM closes the loop and allows you to see how influential that person is. You can look at what purchases the person made directly and also what purchases the person influences indirectly.  

Michael Krigsman: So you are primarily equating influence with the amount of measurable purchase dollars that a social media participant brings in?

Anthony: No, you are measuring the lifetime value of a customer by what you purchase directly and what you influence other people to purchase. Dollars and sense is one variable that goes into understanding influence.