Oracle Revs Its Cloud Engines for a Better Customer Experience
"What is going on here is that everyone is recognizing that the key to success in this brave new world of cloud and SaaS is the customer or end-user experience," said ThinkStrategies principal Jeff Kaplan. "In this case, Oracle is trying to improve the quality of the individual end user's experience as well as from the administrator's point of view."
Oracle has upgraded its Customer Experience cloud-based application with enhancements throughout the platform, including the sales, marketing and service modules, the company announced on Wednesday at its Oracle OpenWorld event.
From a 30,000-foot view, the Oracle CX improvements can be summed up as offering deeper social integrations, more mobility and streamlined and more intuitive interfaces.
"Organizations need to be able to easily establish the operational systems and infrastructure that is required to deliver simple, integrated and relevant experiences across all channels and touch points," said Ken Volpe, senior vice president for Oracle product development.
An Oracle spokesperson was not immediately available to provide further details.
Improved mobility and increased configurability are among the highlights of the changes to the Oracle Sales Cloud portion of the product, for example.
By leveraging the native Oracle Tap iPad application, meanwhile, Oracle Service Cloud now supports servicing customers when agents are away from their desks.
Many of the improvements are incremental, which is not surprising as Oracle regularly updates its application, Rebecca Wettemann, vice president of Nucleus Research, told CRM Buyer.
Still, there are distinct themes to this latest set of changes, Wettemann noted.
"One is usability. Oracle Sales Cloud, for example, is designed to have zero training for onboarding sales reps, which it does," she explained. "It is quite impressive, actually -- the intuitive nature of the application and the design work they have done with this goal in mind."
The software uses as few buttons and fields as possible, she pointed out. "The sales rep doesn't have to ask, 'what is the next step?' because she can see what it is."
Integration was another focus for Oracle in this release.
"Oracle has recognized that customers want all of these pieces to fit together seamlessly so they can focus on adding value to their business," Wettemann said.
One example of that in this release is the improved configurability of the mobile piece. Specifically, there is now a visual drag-and-drop tool for users available from one place for both Web and mobile applications.
"What is going on here is that everyone is recognizing that the key to success in this brave new world of cloud and SaaS is the customer or end-user experience," ThinkStrategies principal Jeff Kaplan told CRM Buyer.
"In this case, Oracle is trying to improve the quality of the individual end user's experience as well as from the administrator's point of view," he said.
Much of the new functionality comes from Oracle's formidable portfolio of acquired companies. Updates to the Marketing Cloud module, for example, include marketing functionality from Eloqua.
It is an impressive portfolio of software companies, noted Michael Ni, chief marketing officer at Avangate, touching on almost every functional area and across multiple industry verticals.
"With recent acquisitions such as Eloqua, Taleo, Involver and some older ones such as ATG and Endeca, combined with the long-in-progress Fusion CRM, they can indeed claim a complete portfolio of solutions," he told CRM Buyer.
"Customer behavior has changed," Ni said. "To meet the more demanding needs of a buyer who is engaging across multiple channels, it is critical to have complete presence and control."
'There Remains a Key Gap'
Ni did offer one caveat about the upgraded platform, however: "Where the solutions are still short is addressing the evolution of the market with respect to commerce."
Specifically, "while there are several products in Oracle's portfolio that 'almost get it,' there still remains a key gap in the ability for companies to monetize these customer experiences into revenues," he explained. "The reality in today's market is, customer experience simply isn't enough without addressing the purpose of it all -- a predictable, recurring revenue stream."