Oracle Ups Ante vs. Salesforce.com with CRM On Demand Refresh

Software

Revving its SAAS enterprise applications engine, Oracle introduces Oracle CRM On Demand Release 16. The latest iteration of Siebel cloud computing applications boasts custom object support, better BI and partner relationship management. Oracle also throws down the gauntlet for Salesforce.com’s multitenancy model with a new single-tenant CRM On Demand delivery option.

With the economy in a recession, enterprise applications makers are facing increased pressure to provide customers with products that help them conduct business with greater efficiency and even insight.

That’s why Oracle has refreshed its applications for helping sales teams boost their ability to close deals. Hoping to trump rival Salesforce.com in SAAS (software as a service) CRM, Oracle 27th January will launch Oracle CRM On Demand Release 16.

The platform will include new customisation tools, new PRM (partner relationship management) utilities and a hosted single-tenant standard edition, challenging Salesforce.com’s philosophy that SAAS has to be multitenant.

Multitenant architectures call for customers to share the same application server and database. As an alternative, Oracle is now offering On Demand Single Tenant Standard Edition, a SAAS offering in which customers access a dedicated hardware and software stack instead of sharing the same resources.

The sharing of application infrastructure resources leads to occasional SAAS outages, Oracle Senior Vice President of CRM Anthony Lye told eWEEK.

“The bad thing with multitenancy is when it goes down, you guys write about it on the front page,” Lye said. “I don’t want to be on the front page for anything bad,” he added, alluding to Salesforce.com’s recent SAAS outage.

Previously, Oracle offered multitenant SAAS, where everyone got simultaneous upgrades, or On Demand Single Tenant Enterprise Edition, which let customers pick their own maintenance and upgrade window. On Demand Single Tenant Standard Edition sits between those two to offer all the benefits of single tenancy without the configurable maintenance and upgrade windows.

This, Lye believes, will help Oracle stand out next to SAAS leader Salesforce.com. “We’re winning deals because we have single tenancy, so we’re bringing single tenancy to more and more customers.”

CRM On Demand Release 16, which supports sales teams’ sales, service and marketing efforts, includes new tools to let users review critical information about any related object without leaving the current page, and customise columns and defaults in lookup windows to better find information.

The release boasts better reporting tools from Oracle’s business intelligence suite. This covers companies that do unit-based forecasting, as well as companies with quarters that start on days other than the first of the month, or have 13-week quarters.

Release 16 also now supports an unlimited number of custom objects, which includes business data that may not be in the main product, Lye said. This includes real-time reporting for data, custom fields, the ability to integrate external data, page and related item layouts management, role security and list management. CRM On Demand 16 also features the ability to load objects from other systems or files through Web services or import/export.

Oracle, which is chasing the success Salesforce.com has garnered over the last decade for its own SAAS CRM platform, also spruced up its tool set for PRM.

Specifically, PRM On Demand in Release 16 extends the current partner license option to support indirect channel management capabilities. Oracle is essentially extending the capabilities from Oracle’s Siebel on-premises PRM products to Oracle’s SAAS products to form PRM On Demand, Lye explained.

This solution will include new management features for partner programs, profiles, special pricing, lead pooling and deal registrations. Lye said Oracle will offer it with CRM On Demand or as a stand-alone application.

In the coming weeks, Oracle will detail five more Oracle CRM On Demand Release 16 solutions, including SAAS self-service billing; the Sales Library social content management application; price management, enterprise disaster recovery and integration between Oracle CRM On Demand and JD Edwards EnterpriseOne.