Marketing is a key strength for Oracle on Demand. As published in separate Vantive Media advisories, with the exception of RightNow Technologies, most SaaS CRM suites give little credence to marketing automation making this the weakest component among CRM suites. Oracle has elevated the marketing function to keep pace with sales and service as well as outpace the rest of the cloud CRM competitors in this category.
Release 18 delivered advanced lead management and integrated sales and marketing not found in other on demand CRM suites. In fact for SaaS CRM competitors to achieve comparable lead acquisition and management capabilities requires a third party marketing automation product such as Aprimo, Eloqua, Marketo or Pardot. In reality, these third party lead management solutions may exceed Oracle's standard marketing capabilities in some areas so customers must determine just how much marketing automation is right for them.
Oracle's lead management stems from its 2010 Market2Lead acquisition and includes tools for landing pages and microsites, digital prospect tracking, progressive profiling, lead scoring, email marketing, nurture campaigns, automated distribution of sales-ready leads to the sales team and marketing analytics. With a single vendor sales force automation and lead management solution customers achieve cost savings, tighter integration, a unified revenue pipeline and a single data repository for sales and marketing reporting.
The email marketing capability facilitates professional quality HTML and text email campaigns based on segmentation and flexible customer data fields, conditional logic for more personalized messaging and delivery response tracking of opens, click-throughs, bounces and opt-outs.
Using the workflow tool in the marketing module, managers can create notifications or escalations to ensure that sales-ready leads distributed to the sales force are followed up timely.
Service accommodates incident resolution with traditional case or ticket management functionality. Flexible assignment rules route service requests to designated agents who can then use scripts or knowledge base access to retrieve solutions. Incident escalations can be flexibly configured using the workflow tool.
The knowledge base uses search and a solution scoring feature to rank relevance among multiple answers and help ensure the most useful responses gravitate to the top for future inquiries. Service pros can add their own solutions to the knowledge base in order to expand the breadth and depth of the repository over time. Service includes customer satisfaction surveys to monitor customers' service experience and ensure that managers receive early warnings to take corrective actions when necessary.
Service can also be used for light inventory management objectives. For example, support tickets can associate products or services with cases and customer accounts to track inventory or asset information such as SKU, associated part, warranty, and contract information. Flexible custom fields can be inserted to increase product tracking depth or develop analysis reports by product attribute. This solution won't compare as well to CRM applications with fully-integrated back office accounting or ERP systems, however, does better than most CRM-only solutions.
For contact centers, CRM On Demand is integrated with Oracle Contact On Demand, a hosted contact center module. Oracle Contact On Demand manages multi-channel support—voice, voicemail, fax, email, chat and Web—as well as unified communications of phone calls, emails, chats and more into a single queue, email to case receipt with auto response, computer telephone integration (CTI) with inbound screen pops, hosted automated call distribution (ACD), interactive voice response (IVR) call routing, additional call routing based on workflow rules, call recording and interaction tracking, knowledge management and various other tools essential for contact center operations. I also liked the Whisper Coaching feature which permits supervisors to speak with agents during customer calls without the customer hearing the sidebar conversation. It can also be used during supervisor-to-agent chat.
While service dashboards and reports are comparable to other CRM competitor solutions, Oracle's data warehousing and OLAP (online analytical processing) gives its product a clear edge in business intelligence.
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