Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Oracle World 2008 - 9/22

9 am:

Amazing cello musician this morning. But w/ all the red lights it was kind of creepy and intense. Keynote was by some oracle executives. Good explanation of where oracle is heading w/ fusion. Definitely looking to help folks out w/ simplifying the product landscape and building out the integrations for you on soa standards. They featured a new oracle collaboration product called Beehive. Looks like they are taking on sharepoint!

Also, Michael Phelps came on stage and answered a few questions. I wonder how much he was paid.

10 am:

I went to a session today called “Achieving Successful International CRM Deployments that Deliver Solid ROI” led by a gentleman who’s worked for BMW and HP. He listed out top reasons why CRM projects fail:

Big Bang Implementations
Lack of Exec Buy-in
No defined Measures of Success
CRM as a IT Project
CRM as a One Time Event
CRM not in line w/ Business Strategy
Lack of Focus on Processes

I couldn’t write the reasons down fast enough but based on my observations it seems that these are in line w/ how my company is taking on our new CRM project.

His rule of thumb on deployments was this: if you can’t do your phase of the CRM project in 6 months, you shouldn’t do it. The thinking was that anything longer and you risk losing momentum and over long periods of time your goals change and even (key) people on the project will change.

He suggested getting voices from local offices into one room periodically to hammer out common processes across geographies. Further, he had a great chart, which I have doodled in my notes, for showing locales where their requirements stand in relation to the rest of the enterprise.

He was big into change management and cited a Harvard Business Review study which said that 87% of CRM projects fail due to lack of change management. He summarized change management w/ a story about JFK visiting a NASA launch and when he asked a janitor what he did there, the janitor replied, “working to put a man on the moon”. Message should be strong from the top and everyone should be aware of the mission.

Other thing he suggested was keeping Oracle involved in projects. Skin in the game will keep them invested in the success of the project.

Final suggestion: use your CRM implementation as a oppty to simplify processes, rather than enable unnecessary complex processes w/ customized technology.


I snuck into a session that I hadn’t originally pre-registered. It was a product road map for Siebel on premise and on demand and there was a heavy focus on social network capabilities.

The lecturer described social networking as “disintermediation” where the network stands between you (the business) and customer. The example he gave was a google search for a camera: you’re likely to come across user groups, user reviews, message boards, etc before you come to the brand’s website. This is the disintermediation.

He described the effect of social networks as changing B to C and B to B, to C to B and C to C, with little visibility into the conversations the customer has before he/she arrives at your door.

CRM evolution is seen at oracle as transactions (90s) to analytics (up to last year) to conversations (to 2018). So they are heavily investing in becoming a part of the conversation that disintermediates the customer and business.

They demo’d oracle on demand and show cased some new apps: Deal management, sales library, oracle pulse, and a few others. The oracle pulse was very slick: it blended transactional CRM info w/ data harvested from social networks like Ning, Linked in, etc. The key takeaway was that each of the new apps enables sharing/collaboration, blogging, creating networks within the organization, and other web 2.0 features. They also mentioned that the apps are net-new, meaning they were built from the ground up.

They also demo’d a very slick interactive interface for the iphone, which they are heavily investing in and made several comments about salesforce.com’s inability to provide the same interactivity. Apparently sfdc is screen scraping for the iphone.

Very cool stuff. A shame we are not seriously considering on demand. Would be a great hybrid solution b/c of prebuilt integrations to on premise available (described below). Sfdc can’t be built for both mom and pops and the world’s biggest companies. They’re not going to do both extremes very well.

2:30 pm

Oracle recently launched a product suite called “application integration architecture”. Its basically a prebuilt set of soa compliant connectors for a bunch of their apps (including CRM on demand). BPEL compliant with orchestration and comes loaded w/ best practice processes for common things like (order 2 cash, quote 2 order). Has a few cool features like UPK which provides users help in the context of the process, which may span multiple apps.

The CEO of corizon gave a demo of how his company uses AIA to help customers build mashups of applications. This was a very cool demo and gave a sneak peak into what is coming in the fusion suite: you can break down enterprise apps to very small reusable chunks and mash them together to create a comprehensive composite app.


I got into another social networking focused CRM session which covered more oracles new apps in depth. The lecturer cited a familiar stat: 50% of all SFA will by SaaS by 2010 (gartner).

The following apps, are great add-ons to your existing CRM (including sfdc). Also worth noting is that they all fit into the whole campaign->lead->oppty->quote->order cycle:

Sales Prospector – will take customer attributes, order history, products sold and run them through an oracle engine to come up w/ predictions for purchases. These leads can then be fed to your CRM. Available today.

Sales Library – allows you to search docs, rate, review, tag, share and upload. Again, all social network context. Available in November.

Sales Campaigns – allows you to manager contact lists, find campaigns within a social network (rate, review, share campaigns) and track effectiveness. Available November.

Deal Management – allows you to do pricing analysis, what if scenarios, price/profit analysis, analyze customer price history and offers some slick charting of pricing against your peers for a given accnt, product.

Gadgets – oracle appears to focused around google’s gadgets and being compatibile w/ google’s igoogle. Will be available in 2nd half of 2008 (soon!). appears to be a separate license. The gadget they demo’d had amazing functionality: it was a list of top accnts, each one had a button to a rss feed, a button to make an outgoing call using your cellphone!, a mashup w/ google finance to get quotes and a link on the accnt name to take you directly to the accnt record in either your on demand or on premise Siebel.

An amazing demo on the iphone using Siebel marketing and a brand loyalty app for the iphone for bath and body works. Imagine going into a store w/ your iphone, getting coupons sent to your phone, being able to redeem loyalty dollars and share the savings w/ a charity or a friend. Iphone displayed a bar code to enable the cashier to apply the discount. No need for your plastic loyalty card!

5:30 pm

This session wasn’t too good. It was more talk about the AIA suite and had a good customer testimonial from a company called Rackable. Basically the same content, but less technical, than the 2pm.

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