At this year’s Collaborate, Oracle plans to make a formal announcement of Release 8 of the Oracle Sales Cloud, but behind the scenes new customers can use the release now and existing Release 7 customers are being ported over in the next few weeks. This presents the market with something of a paradox since the Oracle Sales Cloud is both a new product and a mature product at the same time. While it has unusually deep functionality for a new product in features such as integration and territory management, it is also subject to the same rules of software development as any new product and customers of past releases encountered some major hiccups during adoption.
Yet the overwhelming consensus among customers, partners, and other interested parties we talked with was that with Release 8 the Oracle Sales Cloud has finally come of age. The proof, of course, is in the pudding, but if the platform has stabilized, the time has come to examine the mature aspects of the product. These include:
- Integration – Among the early adopters we spoke with, the most important factor in choosing the Oracle Sales Cloud was integration with either their existing Oracle E-Business Suite or JD Edwards back office systems. Customers also cited Microsoft Outlook integration as being a key factor in their decision to use the product. Oracle also integration with Siebel and other Oracle CX products as well.
- Analytics - The customers we talked with were universally able to improve forecast accuracy and build executive management support for their projects based on the prebuilt reports in the system. Oracle also has brought into Release 8 some features it developed for its own internal use. Based on our interviews, early adopters found analytics be one of the strongest parts of the product and one that surpassed their expectations.
- Usability –Oracle beefed up the user interface and gave the product a more consumer-like look and feel. User adoption is an area the company is investing heavily in to improve not only in the way the product looks but also the way it works. Even without the new interface, some early users of the product reported a measurable increase in sales rep adoption.
- Mobility – Although mobile demo versions of the product can be downloaded today from Google Play and the Apple Apps stores, most customers we spoke with were only just beginning to use this feature although oddly it was often cited as the most promising aspect of the product to roll out in the future.
- Complex Territory Management - Most of the customers we spoke with were midmarket organizations with relatively straightforward territory and account plans and did not make use this features. One large multinational customer with direct and indirect channels did cite the territory management features as an important reason they selected the Oracle Sales Cloud.
- Social Collaboration - Given the nature of the business most of the customers we spoke with – specialty chemicals, industrial manufacturers, system integration, transaction processing – the social collaboration features has not been leveraged although one customer reported using the social media features to communicate with their system integrator.
If the platform proves stable in production over in the next few weeks, and given its advanced features and the fact we are entering the time of year when Oracle is most aggressive in offering discounts, organizations considering new CRM systems would be well served to take a careful look at Oracle Sales Cloud Release 8.