Theta Solutions had an ulterior motive for using Oracle’s free hosted sales automation applications. As well as needing basic customer management tools, the Auckland software development house wanted to see how successfully an offshore application could work.
Theta was developing a hosted seed database for Waikato-based developer Xenacom that would be accessed by more than 30 international seed companies.
“We wanted to test browser-based applications because we wanted to use that technology ourselves,” says managing director Rob Benson. “We wanted to see whether we could use an application over the web successfully.”
Theta had a team of five people using the Sales.Oracle.com service. Based on Oracle 11i e-business suite, Sales.Oracle.com and Support.Oracle.com are free online services hosted by Oracle in the US.
The Auckland-based company, which employs 50 people, used the service for managing sales — contacting prospects and customer interaction. Benson describes Sales.Oracle.com as “an easy in” to customer relationship management. “It was basic CRM.” Companies that want to can pay to use the expanded parts of the application, he says.
Benson says Theta was attracted by the fact it could easily start and stop using the service and didn’t have to invest in extra hardware.
“You only need a browser to access it. I do a lot of travelling, especially to Australia, so I could use it at the airport on an airport terminal.”
Benson says the service is backed up and secured by Oracle and available 24 hours, seven days a week.
“Availability was really good. Oracle would advertise a certain amount of down time each week in which they would do maintenance and repairs—- usually a Sunday morning.”
Eventually Theta developed its own CRM system. “We had the option of either buying the full blown CRM package from Oracle, which was overkill for us, or carrying on using the free version which wasn’t quite specific enough. We’re a development house so we could easily ‘roll our own’ so to speak.”
Oracle says more than 85 local companies including city councils and academic institutions are registered to use its free hosted sales automation applications.