Oracle is taking advantage of three recent acquisitions to build a better way for businesses to track and engage with their customers through social media. The company's new social relationship management (SRM) software platform offers businesses a way to track their customers on an ongoing basis.
While customer relationship management (CRM) software handles communication with customers individually, SRM software handles the interaction with all of them, said Thomas Kurian, Oracle's executive vice president of product development, during a Sept. 10 presentation.
More than just using social media to market to customers and make sales, SRM manages customer feedback, support and service; analyzes SRM data; and integrates SRM with existing Oracle business applications, said Kurian.
"You need an integrated piece of software â¦ that helps you as an organization listen to your constituents, to engage them, interest them, to market to them and then to monitor social interactions because it's through that process that you build these relationships," said Kurian.
The Oracle SRM suite is built on three recent acquisitions: Vitrue, acquired in May, a creator of cloud-based social media marketing campaigns; Collective Intellect, acquired in June, a cloud-based software product that helps companies understand and respond to consumers' conversations on social media platforms; and Involver, acquired in July, a social media software development platform.
Oracle isn't the only enterprise software company snapping up social media companies to better serve customers. This trend includes Microsoft's $1.2 billion purchase of Yammer, Salesforce.com's $700 million acquisition of Buddy Media and VMware's acquisition of Socialcast for an undisclosed sum.
Oracle's SRM suite is made up of two components, said Reggie Bradford, senior vice president of product development, who came to Oracle through the Vitrue acquisition.
The first is social engagement and monitoring.
"You have to listen first and understand what people are saying and how conversations are happening before you're able to engage and respond to those customers," said Bradford.
The second component is social marketing for building brands and leveraging social networks, the corporate Website and other offline properties in order to track and measure the lifetime value of the customers.
Although a number of enterprise social networking tools are coming on the market, businesses are still learning how to use them to grow their companies, said Oracle President Mark Hurd.
Hurd cited research that 75 percent of consumers say they have registered a negative comment about a company because of a poor experience but that many businesses fail to track and respond to those comments.
"Seventy percent of companies have little understanding of the social media conversations around their brand and have no idea how these conversations impact sales," said Hurd.
The SRM suite is also designed to integrate with existing Oracle enterprise applications such as Fusion CRM, its ATG e-commerce suite, RightNow for customer service and support and Taleo software for employee recruitment. Kurian said businesses can also use social media to interest people in coming to work for them.