Oracle gives CRM another shot

Oracle gives CRM another shot

Oracle is counting on the latest revision of its E-Business Suite, aimed largely at improving sales processes, to finally give it the elusive traction it has sought in the customer relationship management (CRM) market for years.

The company is expected to announce Oracle CRM 11i.10, an upgrade that includes a revamp of its sales, marketing and partner relationship management modules. The new CRM application is part of an ongoing E-Business Suite upgrade that earlier this month yielded Version 11i.10 of its Supply Chain Management application.

Timed for release as corporations are expected to be willing to once again invest in customer-facing applications, CRM 11i.10 was designed to enable the alignment of sales activities with company goals, boost the effectiveness of individual salespeople and bolster collaboration between in-house and indirect sales forces, Oracle's senior vice-president of applications development, John Wookey, said.

Among the new tools in CRM 11i.10 is the Oracle Audience Workbench, which can access data from the Oracle sales and marketing modules and present it in a single screen to help managers identify the best customers to target for up-selling or cross-selling.

In addition, managers can now craft compensation packages that reward salespeople who fulfill corporate objectives.

According to Wookey, analytical technology will enable managers to track sales by product or other categories and create a holistic view of companywide CRM activities.

Users could access sales status information, do historical and predictive analyses, and report on potential deals, Oracle said.

The CRM 11i.10 release was the latest of several attempts by Oracle to gain share in the CRM market - an effort that so far had yielded few results, an analyst at Forrester Research, Erin Kinikin, said.

By building in features that helped salespeople save time and make more money, the suite might be appealing enough to ease their historical aversion to CRM software, Kinikin said.

All Oracle CRM 11i.10 modules will be available within the next eight weeks.

Pricing per module starts at $US3995 per user, subject to conditions in Oracle's E-Business Suite pricing schedule.

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