New Oracle CRM On-Demand integrates forecast analytics

Large organisations are taking up what was initially an SMB offering

A better way of providing visibility through integrated data forecasting has been re-introduced to software firm Oracle's CRM On-Demand solution, a company executive announced in a conference call with reporters.

By rolling up data from a company's pipeline, Oracle's CRM On-Demand Release 17 will be able to extract visibility from the system, explained Anthony Lye, senior vice president and global lead for CRM, Oracle. "Combined with a rearview mirror, the new release gives the ability to adjust the forecast for a more accurate report," he added.

Lye said the capability has been with the offering for some time now, but the company has introduced some enhancements with the latest release. The enhanced forecasting module gives firms the ability to analyze current and historical forecast data against real-time information to evaluate trends, achievements, and quotas.

Redefining Enterprise-grade SaaS

Through its CRM On-Demand solution, Lye said Oracle is trying to redefine the meaning of enterprise-grade SaaS, which stands on the four pillars of insight, infrastructure, security, and pre-packaged integrations.

"We think [enterprise-grade SaaS] is a unique position for vendors, because the requirements are different [compared with other SaaS offerings]," he noted.

Initially, though, CRM On-Demand was conceived to be pitched for small businesses "who have no CRM before, and have little to no IT equipment and staff." What happened, according to Lye, was that enterprises started picking up on the offering, because there was no need for them to hire IT staff for maintenance, and the cost was relatively lower.

"In addition, we found out that for small businesses, CRM is nothing more than contact management," Lye stressed. For firms with 50 or more employees, however, CRM becomes a process automation tool, which calls for the need to have analytics to see how the business is changing.

Because of this market reality, Lye said, they have seen more adoption of CRM On-Demand by enterprise customers, prompting a shift in direction. "Salesforce.com has an 80 average number of users per instance. We have around 150 users per instance, so yes, I'd say most of our adopters are from the enterprise," he cleared.

In the Pipeline

In the next few years, Lye said Oracle is slowly carving a niche that will fulfill cross-channel CRM, which delivers the same level of experience across all channels. "It's a hard feat, but it's something that every [CRM provider] has to do," he noted.

Part of this initiative is the move towards social CRM, which the executive said is one of the capabilities to be built into the product in the near future. "It's certainly something we can focus on. But on a purely CRM perspective, social media has a very disruptive characteristic," he explained, adding that the dynamics of social media--where customers talk to each other based on a certain level of comfort--is slowly being integrated into the system.

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