Both Oracle and RightNow Technologies released the next iterations of their respective customer relationship management suites May 8. And both companies, though hoping to attract a similar audience, are taking decidedly different routes to customer information.
Oracles new CRM applications are available through the Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12 and allow users to streamline business processes and provide better insight into customer trends.
RightNow, which offers multitenant, on-demand software (to a much smaller customer base than does Oracle), is taking more of a vertical approach to CRM. The company announced RightNow Retail that combines CRM with best practices for retailers.
The retail software is based on RightNow 8, the companys latest iteration of CRM that encompasses sales, services and marketing—the classic CRM triumvirate—and software functionality to help retailers reach the right shoppers and improve customer loyalty.
For better tailored communications—those links in e-mails that send shoppers to a retailers Web site—RightNow Retail provides insight into every customer and every interaction that allows retailers, in turn, to send tailored messages to customers.
To improve customer loyalty the software makes it easy for shoppers to register products that they own, locate specific product information and move easily through the purchase process by providing relevant information during each step of the process, officials said.
RightNow, based in Bozeman, Mont., has developed much of the functionality for its Retail suite by working with retailers the likes of Hallmark.com, Sharper Image and Drugstore.com.
Oracle, of Redwood Shores, Calif., is taking more of an on-premises approach to its latest CRM applications. The suite comes, first and foremost, with a simplified user interface. Cross industry business processes and task flows have also been redesigned and streamlined to help users complete critical business processes—order creation or tracking, for example—within the CRM application.
The 12.0 iteration of the Oracle E-Business Suite has been integrated with Oracle Contact On Demand to provide an entry point for those users interested in Computer Telephony Integration. Oracle has also upped the functionality to allow users to share services across operating units.
For the sales team, Oracle has added an XML publisher for reporting and document output capabilities.
"With the latest Oracle CRM release we are providing increased value to our customers by enabling them to do much more with CRM applications," said Mike Betzer, vice president of CRM strategy at Oracle.
"For example, a telesales representative can create an order within CRM sales application without going through the supply chain of the application to create or manage orders."
The 12.0 iteration of Oracles E-Business Suite also includes hundreds of services that allow users to integrate the suite into business processes. The suite, including CRM, is available on demand, which in this case means a monthly subscription rate with the option of having Oracle manage and maintain the applications.