Oracle has taken what it deemed to be the best CRM features from Siebel 8 and PeopleSoft 9, as well as some of its own native functionality, and incorporated them into its latest E-Business Suite release, version 12.
“There have been improvements made across all three applications,” Mike Betzer, vice president of Oracle’s CRM Strategy, told CRM Buyer.
The common thread running through the three enhanced applications, he continued, is increased usability. “Our whole focus has been to make the user interface easy to use.”
For instance, he said, features in the new release allow a telesales representative to create an order within a CRM sales application without going through the supply chain of the application to create or manage orders.
Path to Fusion
Sometime in 2008 — Oracle hasn’t released an exact date — the company plans to introduce Fusion CRM. Betzer cannot describe what the platform will look like yet or the features it will offer but did say the user interface available in this application will likely be a familiar sight in Fusion CRM.
“It’s a balancing act between investing in these three applications and the next point releases against making investments in Fusion,” he said. “The user interface is one way we are bringing the worlds together.”
One examples of the user-friendly features included in Oracle E-Business 12 include dashboards that provide sales managers with a consolidated analytical view of sales performance, and the account planning capabilities provide a foundation for developing long-term strategies and maintaining long-term relationships.
Even without the pressure of knitting together its disparate acquisitions, Oracle would be wise to focus on usability, AMR Research analyst Rob Bois told CRM Buyer. “The user interface is where a lot of companies are competing now. Microsoft Dynamics CRM, for instance, is growing rapidly because it is baked into Outlook.”
CRM is still a notoriously difficult application to implement and then master, Bois said. “There is still a frighteningly low level success rate. Vendors are targeting usability as a key issue.”
New CRM features in E-Business Suite 12 include the following utilities:
- Cross-Industry Business Processes and Task Flows. A redesigned CRM task flow enables users to complete business processes within the CRM application, such as order creation or tracking.
- Cross-Suite Application Integration. Out-of-the box and supported integration between Oracle E-Business Suite 12 and Oracle Contact on Demand, providing enterprises with an entry point into Computer Telephony Integration (CTI).
- Multi-Org Access Control. This increases the efficiency of shared services across multiple operating units.
- New reports and productivity enhancements. A new XML publisher provides companies with standards-based flexible reporting and document output capabilities.