SAN FRANCISCO (04/05/2000) - Oracle Corp. today released details of nine CRM (customer relationship management) service modules due to ship in May as the company's Service 11i component of its CRM suite. Three of the nine CRM service modules are new product offerings, with the rest being upgrades of the company's existing CRM 3i suite, which shipped last year.
All nine modules are part of Oracle's plan to offer CRM applications that bring together information held in other software products such as ERP (enterprise resource planning) systems and drawn from four major channels -- the Web, e-mail, call centers and field workers -- according to Juliette Sultan, Oracle vice president of CRM product strategy.
CRM software aims to help companies better manage their dealings with their customers, especially in terms of having readily accessible data about individual customers so that their needs can be best served in order to retain their business.
The three new CRM service modules are Customer Intelligence, iSupport and eMail Center, Sultan said in a phone interview yesterday. Oracle first mentioned the trio of new products at market research company Gartner Group Inc.'s Internet & Electronic Commerce (iEC) conference in New York in February.
Customer Intelligence will enable companies to view and analyze the information they hold on customers. "It fully integrates all transactions between customers and a corporation into Web reports which are then available to all (authorized) users," Sultan said. A company agent can use the module to access ERP or other back-office information in order to better understand the customer to whom they're talking, for example, in terms of the customer's order status, possible future business opportunities and any issues the agent might need to be careful about when talking to the customer, she added.
ISupport is an online information portal that customers can use to carry out self-service support, since they can view all the information related to their invoices and payments and search a knowledge base for answers to any queries they might have.
EMail Center facilitates inbound and outbound e-mail to establish Net-based customer service as well as direct marketing.
The remaining six modules are customer support, field service, scheduler, spares management, depot repair, and contracts.
All of the modules have been 100 percent developed by Oracle and have the same schema and Net architecture as the company's other applications, Sultan said.
The company is not yet releasing any pricing on Service 11i. Like all Oracle applications, the modules will run only on Oracle's relational database Oracle8i and support the HP-UX, Solaris, Windows NT and Linux operating systems.
Sultan expects that Oracle will deploy Service 11i internally before the end of this calendar year. The only module the company is unlikely to deploy out of the nine announced today is Field Service since Oracle doesn't really have technicians out in the field, she added.
In other Oracle applications news, the company also announced today that it has completed the internal deployment of its Internet sales applications, with more than U.S. 4,000 Oracle field and call center agents currently using the Net software. Oracle is now operating a single order entry system through its online store front Oracle Store.
"The Net is a less costly channel," Sultan said. "An order processed through Oracle Store is less costly than an order processed by a field sales person or an agent." She said that by using Oracle Store, the company has been able to standardize the pricing of its software and have a single Net global sales system instead of a number of different client/server-based sales systems.
"This has helped us achieve our nearly 12-point improvement in operating margins," Sultan said, though she added it was too early to give specifics on cost savings related to Oracle's Net-enabling of its sales operation.
Oracle has made great play of the cost savings it has realized through moving more and more of its business operations online. When the vendor announced strong third fiscal quarter financial results last month, Oracle said it had slashed U$1 billion annually from its own costs by running e-business applications within the company. [See "Oracle Net Income Rises 80 Percent in Q3," March 15.]Oracle, in Redwood Shores, California, can be reached at +1-650-506-7000 or via the Internet at http://www.oracle.com/.