Oracle has rolled out its CRM On Demand Release 10, upgrading the customization features, deepening list management functionality and introducing additional vertical expertise.
Typically, releases of Software as a Service (SaaS) applications tend to be more frequent than enterprise software upgrades — and thus comparatively routine.
This release stands out to a certain extent, because it is the first release of Siebel’s On Demand application since Oracle closed its acquisition of the company earlier this year.
Although hardly unexpected, it was reassuring to see that this latest version did not take a detour from the earlier product roadmap, said Yankee Group CRM analyst Sheryl Kingstone. “It needs to maintain visibility and momentum” — which stalled a bit during the acquisition — she told CRM Buyer.
Many of the upgrades were to meet customer and competitive demands, Kingstone added. Oracle On Demand has been feeling some heat from Salesforce.com’s Appexchange.
New features in Oracle CRM On Demand Release 10 include new custom objects and custom tabs; single sign-on and enterprise logon capability; advanced list management; deeper support for the sales and services processes; and expanded vertical functionality.
Now, Oracle On Demand supports multiple sales processes and provides better scripting capabilities in the service module.
It also provides call detailing and smart call functionality for its Life Sciences edition, along with new relationship management functionality in its Wealth Management edition, and new data management capabilities overall, including Record merge, Mass update and Batch delete.
It was the Mass update functionality that prompted one customer to choose Oracle CRM On Demand over Salesforce.com.
“We have seen huge productivity gains just with these advanced list management capabilities,” said Dave Hannum, National Sales Manager from Technogym USA Corporation.
“In particular, the context-sensitive help quickly and easily guides sales people through defining list criteria for their own outbound marketing efforts,” he explained, “giving them more time to spend selling instead of on administrative overhead.”
Oracle CRM On Demand has to make far greater inroads if it wants to catch up with Salesforce.com’s huge lead in the market, according to Kingstone.
“No one else is even close,” she commented.
Of course, it is not always reasonable to make an apples-to-apples comparison of vendors in the on-demand space, as each takes a slightly different approach to the market.
NetSuite is leveraging its suite capabilities, for instance, while Siebel is concentrating more on the enterprise end of the market. Siebel — now Oracle On Demand — needs to focus more around its marketing efforts, Kingstone suggested.
“Salesforce.com is very aggressive about that and they need to match it,” she said.