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Oracle reveals RightNow "road map" to revitalise CRM

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1st Feb 2012
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With the RightNow deal now closed, Oracle has become somewhat chattier about its intentions for the Cloud CRM firm.

When Oracle swooped on Cloud CRM firm RightNow last October, the stakes were upped in the Cloud applications market. That much we all knew. What was less clear was what exactly Oracle planned to do with its new toy once the short-term thrill of seeing some crestfallen faces over at Salesforce.com had faded.
 
With the RightNow deal now closed, Oracle’s become somewhat chattier about its intentions which, according to Oracle co-president Mark Hurd are built around "a very aggressive plan to invest” and the creation of “a stronger road map than ever before."
 
In a clear pitch to RightNow customers and employees, Hurd stated: “I want you to know you’re in good hands. I’d say great hands. This is a big deal for us… and we’re going to invest in this.”
 
That’s an essential message to get out there. In Montana – HQ to RightNow – there have been those who expect the Oracle takeover to spell major changes. One RightNow staffer posted online: “First firings will be the finance, sales and marketing teams. Then they will tell the software developers and support people to train the team in India that will do the future product development. After that (which will take a year) they will shut down the Bozeman office (They will call it something like merging with another division). I have seen this at so many companies that Oracle has bought.”
 
That’s the downbeat version of the future; a more upbeat one is the notion that adding RightNow into the Oracle mix will reinvigorate some existing CRM offerings as well as beefing up the bigger firm’s Cloud credentials.
 
“What is notable about these early plans  is Oracle’s intention to bring RightNow deep into the business and use it to revitalize its own CRM offerings,” suggested Angela Eager of research firm TechMarketView. “It feels like Oracle CRM lost momentum while the company focused its efforts on Fusion applications, the lacklustre Sun hardware division, and its Exa-everything appliances.” 

Social customer experience
 
From a product perspective, integration of RightNow’s offerings into the Oracle portfolio will begin at once. For example, the Oracle Customer Service Cloud will blend Oracle's marketing, sales, ecommerce, search and business intelligence software with RightNow's service capabilities to deliver customer experiences across all channels and customer touchpoints: on the Web, in a shop, over the phone or via mobile devices.
 
Another effort will combine components of FatWire web content management, Siebel marketing, Endeca search technology, ATGCommerce, and Fusion Applications such as financials and supply chain management, with RightNow and the Social Network.
 
It’s all about ramping up the social customer experience in the end. Greg Gianforte, RightNow's founder and CEO, said: "In a very real sense the basic rules of business have changed. Globalisation has increased customer choice and supply now exceeds demand for most products. This gives consumers power.  The only thing left is word of mouth. The only way to do that is deliver great experiences."
 
From Oracle’s perspective, the deal is also intended to put more meat on the bones of its new-found commitment to Cloud. “That was the prime reason for the acquisition,” argues TechMarketView’s Eager. “By creating end-to-end usage scenarios and wrapping RightNow into the wider portfolio Oracle is positioning Cloud as an integral part of its business (not a late add-on).”

But it’s not going to be quite that simple, she cautioned. “That might well work for Oracle itself and Oracle-heavy enterprises but we feel it misses some of the essential points of SaaS and the Cloud such as flexibility and the ability for enterprises to chose the set of technologies that best suit them,” she argues. “Moving from an on premise stack to a cloud-based stack is not making the best use of the Cloud. However, Oracle’s plans will open up opportunities for partners, who will be able to go to market with the Cloud gap filled.” 

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