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Oracle CRM software review
 
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on demand crm Oracle OnDemand CRM Software Review

By Edy Jacobson

Table of Contents

Executive Summary
Company History
Products and Prices
Sales Force Automation
Marketing Software
Customer Service
Business Intelligence (BI)
System Integration and Software Customization
Hosted Delivery Reliability and Security
Services, Support and Training
Other Comparable CRM Solutions To Consider

Executive Summary

Oracle On Demand customer relationship management (CRM) is Oracle’s delayed response to the software as a service (SaaS) movement popularized by Salesforce.com. Oracle entered the on-demand CRM software industry with its Siebel Systems acquisition of in 2006 and which was accompanied with a Siebel On Demand CRM application that was still in its early stages of release. Recognizing that Siebel On Demand was a weak competitor to Salesforce.com, Oracle invested additional resources to build a more formidable on demand CRM software solution. After three years of development efforts and the acquisition of another on-demand CRM software company (UpShot), Oracle has finally released a front office product to compete head on with Salesforce.com and other leading SaaS systems.

Oracle CRM On Demand continues to appeal to primarily to larger companies that seek a stand-alone sales force automation (SFA) application, that have an Oracle enterprise resource planning (ERP) system in the back office and that have deep enough resources to bridge any limitations in the CRM product through software customizations. Oracle OnDemand CRM integration to the Oracle ERP is accomplished with pre-built templates and integration routines making this an obvious candidate for customers running Oracle ERP and looking for on-demand CRM software applications. For those not already leveraging Oracle back office applications, the on-demand CRM system may still offer a solid sales force automation system. Unfortunately, the marketing management function is quite limited and will require third party add-ons or additional software customization effort to provide functionality that is standard in most other market leading CRM solutions.

Since Siebel was an industry leader in call center technology, Oracle CRM OnDemand inherits or embeds many of the same feature sets as the prior Siebel system. However, the Oracle CRM OnDemand call center system performance in a hosted model is quite questionable and may require an investment in customization to work effectively with the service module. For those organizations who need help putting the pieces together, Oracle’s internal consulting group, as well as a wide variety of system integrators are ready to step in and help – at a cost.

Company History

Shortly after its acquisition of PeopleSoft in December 2004, Oracle acquired Siebel Systems in September 2005 and that acquisition transcended Oracle into the software-as-a-service (SaaS) CRM industry. Oracle’s larger than life CEO, Larry Ellison, had first chastised the SaaS movement, however, later touted SaaS as a wave of the future in which Oracle would play a major role. Prior to the Siebel acquisition, which included the Siebel On Demand solution almost as a by-product, Oracle’s applications had no SaaS offering and the company offered no definitive public plans to be considered a player in the software as a service market.

In acquiring Siebel Systems, Oracle garnered a market share leading client/server solution, an impressive customer list and its first real SaaS solution with Siebel’s On Demand CRM product. At the time, Siebel On Demand was the much smaller offspring to Siebel’s well known on premise CRM product. It possessed dramatically reduced functionality and was delivered in a multi-tenant hosting model to the small and midsize business (SMB) market which did not possess the budget or operational means to procure the flagship Siebel on premise solution. It also allowed Siebel to achieve a degree of forward-thinking by demonstrating the company could participate in the SaaS movement.

At the time of the Siebel acquisition, Oracle’s primary message was focused on appeasing concerned Siebel on premise customers that the on premise product would continue to be supported. As part of its corporate communications, Oracle also reiterated its desire to maintain the Siebel On Demand product, which would quickly be renamed Oracle CRM On Demand. As there was a great deal of attention toward on the on premise CRM software market, the On Demand product essentially disappeared from the industry following the acquisition. Industry analysts and pundits theorized that Oracle was taking the time to migrate off IBM infrastructure to Oracle’s and that much work needed to be done to stabilize and mature the on-demand CRM software solution.

Oracle also acquired UpShot CRM which was a similar SaaS offering that possessed a more robust user interface than the Siebel On Demand solution. By combining Siebel’s experience in CRM with UpShot’s more contemporary technology, the combined teams set about the massive task of building a more competitive SaaS CRM product.

Two years later, Oracle CRM On Demand finally proved to be a formidable competitor in the hosted CRM market. Following near silence during the period it was being developed and adapted to leverage Oracle’s technology platform, Oracle’s public relations machine has only recently begun churning out press releases on new customer acquisitions. Analyst firm Gartner reports that Oracle has approximately 150,000 users for the Oracle On Demand product. Interestingly, the company reports in marketing materials that its Austin, Texas data center, “ … hosts Oracle applications for more than 3.6 million Oracle On Demand end users.” Consistent with Oracle’s historical trend of creative counting and exaggerated sales claims, the 3.6 million users is likely the total user base for all Oracle On Demand applications, which the company loosely construes to be any application they host from Austin.

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