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2007: how was it for you? Part two

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5th Dec 2007
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By Stuart Lauchlan, news and analysis editor

Similar sentiments came out of Datamonitor, which controversially argued that only SAP and Oracle are safe bets when it comes to CRM investment. Datamonitor concluded that Oracle is a clear market leader with an impressively versatile and highly competitive CRM portfolio while SAP was recommended as an automatic shortlist choice due to the excellence of its CRM modules and dominant impact on the market.

“Although the CRM applications market is very competitive and there are plenty of players who can challenge the current leaders in specific circumstances, only two vendors, Oracle and SAP, can be considered as market leaders,” said Trifkovic. "It is safe to assume that market leadership will continue with Oracle, and probably SAP."

Certainly it's been a good year for Oracle – despite the departure of one of its most senior applications executive – with the firm increasing its mindshare among IT influencers and decision makers. An October survey of 1,780 people involved with IT spending in their organisation showed Oracle as the main vendor to invest in for BI, CRM and ERP.

Late in the year, Oracle began to push the idea of social CRM – the bringing together of the user friendly look and feel of Web 2.0 applications such as Facebook and LinkedIn with the functionality of traditional enterprise business applications. "The big thing that's going to disturb the enterprise is Web 2.0," said Anthony Lye, senior vice president of CRM On Demand at Oracle. "People will exploit those advances to drive knowledge workers."

photo of Dave Duffiend"Our standards are Amazon, eBay and Google, not Oracle, SAP and Lawson. Today’s information worker is younger, and more tech savvy. They have Yahoo! and Google accounts – and they are used to a radically different way of doing their personal business over the internet." Dave Duffield, founder of Workday

Examples of Social CRM, will include an application that predicts sales opportunities by mashing up information about orders and territories from internal systems, along with external information in order to recommend who are the most likely prospects and what products are they most likely to be interested in. There's also the inevitable campaign creation and management application, but with this social CRM version campaigns can be shared with others – internally and externally - without exposing the specific contact details and orders associated with the campaign.

The emphasis is on taking the familiar interfaces and models that business people are used to in the social networking world of Facebook and MySpace in a bid to overcome the resistance to traditional CRM and SFA applications that so many salespeople complain about. So, one application makes it easier for salespeople to create and join Facebook-like groups and communities, while another lets users integrate their LinkedIn contact list for access by other users. There's is also a FlickR-like library of sales collateral, complete with tag clouds, rating and comments, that sales people can preview to create a presentation or RFP response.

It's going to be a big deal for Oracle in 2008 and beyond, but it has to be noted that firms such as Salesforce.com have been talking about this need for far longer. A number of SaaS firms, such as Workday, openly acknowledge that the Web 2.0 phenomenon is a major influencer.

“Our standards are Amazon, eBay and Google, not Oracle, SAP and Lawson,” said Dave Duffield, PeopleSoft veteran and now founder of Workday. “Today’s information worker is younger, and more tech savvy. They have Yahoo! and Google accounts – and they are used to a radically different way of doing their personal business over the internet. They want and need that kind of experience at their job – a better and more intuitive user experience that helps them do their professional job better."

For part three of Stuart Lauchlan's overview of CRM in 2007, click here.

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