Go go Gadget: Oracle boosts Social CRM

12th Nov 2008

Oracle demonstrates its commitment to Social CRM with its new Siebel upgrade and the release of CRM Gadgets.

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By Stuart Lauchlan, news and analysis editor

Oracle has rolled out a major upgrade of Siebel with Version 8.1.1 leaning increasingly towards the company's Social CRM vision.

“CRM needs to understand new relationships that are developing between customers and business and between customers and customers,” said Anthony Lye, Oracle CRM vice president at Oracle, adding that businesses need expand their communication channels accordingly.

"CRM needs to understand new relationships that are developing between customers and business and between customers and customers."

Anthony Lye, Oracle CRM vice president

To that end, Oracle will now offer Siebel Chat and add more self-service web capabilities by updating Siebel Self-Service with Java-based J2EE applications that are based on the Fusion Middleware.

Siebel eCommerce applications have been updated with industry-specific customer self-service while Siebel Marketing has been upgraded with a closed-loop feature that automates strategy, planning, multichannel response and lead management execution. Siebel Sales has an enhanced user interface, and its forecasting capabilities have been extended to allow sharing of data in cross-functional teams and to perform ad-hoc adjustments that help improve sales quota attainment.

"Now more than ever, companies need to support cost-effective CRM efforts while improving the customer experience," said Rebecca Wetteman, vice president of analysis firm Nucleus Research. "CRM solutions that drive greater visibility into customer communication across the organization deliver both bottom-line cost savings and top-line benefits in greater customer retention and profitability."

Go Gadget CRM

Another sign of the commitment to Social CRM came with the release of Oracle CRM Gadgets. Oracle CRM Gadgets for Sales offers desktop gadgets that mash up data from a company's CRM system with data from the internet to deliver current information to salesforces even when they are disconnected from the corporate network.

"CRM needs to understand social networks and has to employ collaborative techniques."

Anthony Lye, Oracle CRM vice president

They cover search, sales contacts, top accounts, top deals and sales quotas to provide business information without requiring a sales person to be online. “CRM needs to understand social networks and has to employ collaborative techniques,” Lye said. “These Gadgets are small applications that leverage desktop and Adobe Air.”

He added: "Oracle is, once again, pushing the boundaries of Social CRM innovation Oracle CRM Gadgets for Sales' ability to aggregate relatively isolated CRM information in the enterprise with late-breaking business data from the web and phone calls is an unparalleled addition for our customers' CRM and sales arsenal."

The various Gadgets tackle different functional elements. The My Contacts Gadget, which gives users a way to find leads, prospects or customers in social networks and other Web sites, and then click to email or click to call them from their Siebel CRM or Oracle CRM On Demand application. The Search Gadget is a desktop-based search tool to let workers search their entire Siebel CRM database or specific sub-collections of data.

A Top Accounts Gadget provides users a mash-up of key account data from the Siebel CRM or Oracle CRM On Demand system together with internet-based content while the Top Deals Gadget provides real-time insight into sales opportunities that are scheduled to close in the current period. Finally, the Sales Quota Gadget pipes current information for quarter sales pipelines, target for the quarter and the quota achieved to date for Siebel CRM users.

The sales gadgets are pre-built with integration with Oracle Contact Centre On Demand, so that users can make phone calls and capture the call information directly into the CRM system, providing analysis for sales managers. The gadgets, available now as free downloads to existing Oracle CRM customers, will work on any desktop operating system or any Web browser. The tools also support Oracle's Siebel CRM (7.7 and above) and Oracle CRM On Demand.


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