Oracle claims its CRM is ten times cheaper

Oracle says its aiming to knock Siebel Software from the top perch in the customer relationship management market by making implementations 10 times cheaper.

Oracle says its aiming to knock Siebel Software from the top perch in the customer relationship management market by making implementations 10 times cheaper.

According to an AMR Research report on CRM supplied by Oracle, released in February, software accounts for 24% of the cost of a CRM implementation, while the remainder goes on infrastructure and services.

Last week Oracle announced its “global CRM in 90 days” strategy, which it says cuts those costs by focusing on business processes, or flows as Oracle calls them, rather than products. The company has labelled nine of these flows and sells the products supporting them, for example “plan to campaign” and “campaign to results”.

“Click to order”, Oracle-speak for the process of selling items on the web, includes the products Oracle Marketing Online, iStore, Marketing Intelligence, Sales Intelligence, Oracle Discoverer, Telesales and Scripting. “It’s about information flow between different parts of the CRM business — marketing, sales and services,” says Oracle marketing head Jeremy Burton.

It’s still a huge investment. Burton estimates that a fixed cost, global implementation for one of the business flows will cost from $150,000 to $395,000, but he claims this is “an order of magnitude” cheaper than Siebel. “The cost of the software might be the same but the cost of implementation would be ten times cheaper.”

Oracle has also refined its rapid implementation methodology to support the “business-flows” approach. Called Fast Forward Flows, the entire implementation process is done online. Burton says the day after signing up for Oracle’s CRM system the customer gets a URL, which links to a website where the customer can see the software running. A “conference-room pilot” is done with Oracle consultants with a “map/gap” analysis, mapping the customers’ business processes onto the software. This goes on for 30 days, at the end of which the customer’s data is entered into the online system. At the end of 30 days, conference room pilot two starts, which is about finishing off change management. By day 60 the customer has to decide whether they want to take the system in-house or have Oracle host it from the US.

Oracle CRM is part of the company’s 11i e-business suite, of which the financials module has been most successful in New Zealand to date. The new CRM offering won’t be available here for another two to three months.

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