Oracle's Anthony Lye gave a keynote at SIIA On-Demand where he gave a sneak preview of Oracle CRM On-Demand taking CRM beyond tracking and reporting sales to Social CRM. He showed a live demo of the product that was absolutely 'beautiful'. He emphasized that taking 20 year old on-premise functionality and providing it on-demand is not software innovation but networking innovation (as in leveraging the network to deliver remote solutions) - setting the stage for what he termed as social innovation.
Anthony, who leads Oracle CRM On-Demand, articulated the following key points ( and I paraphrase):
- Report Less, Sell More: CRM applications be they on-premise or on-demand have been viewed by the sales force as a (un)-necessary evil that is useful to the sales leadership in estimating and forecasting but does not really help them with their job - to sell more. Oracle has designed the new functionality to help sales people sell. One vivid example of this was a FlickR like library of sales collateral that sales people can preview (in an Apple Mac like interface) to cull and create a presentation or RFP response.
- Social CRM: The software industry has been abuzz with talk of mashups but there are very few useful examples of enterprise mashups beyond the customary mapping of addresses in Google Maps. Anthony showcased how prior sales could help a sales person plan for a particular account - for example, if you were planning to sell to Intel, it may be useful to know what applications were bought by large high-tech companies.
- Facebook for Salespeople: Another interesting feature was the ability to create and join groups. These could be pre-defined sales regions e.g, West Coast, South-East etc. or arbitrary groups created by user based on personal preference, likeness of accounts, etc.
- More to come at OpenWorld: While showcasing some of the key features, Anthony saved the best for the Oracle OpenWorld show next week in San Francisco.
View the OpenWorld agenda.
Update: Phil Wainewright has a great post Oracle goes for the CRM jugular with some very positive and interesting things to say.
(Disclaimer: These opinions are my personal views. Please read full disclaimer at the bottom of the blog.)