Category: Guest Articles

Oracle Sales Cloud (Fusion CRM) release 7, winning back core SFA!

Sales Cloud (Fusion CRM) release 7 is quite refreshing for those using the application since earlier releases. When I drove through the latest release 7, I knew the wait and the hype built around this release are justified.

Apart from bringing much anticipated enhancements around improving user experience, this release tried to take Mobile, Social & Analytics features to a new level.

From the perspective of an administrator, attempts made in the areas of Extensibility, Data Management and Environment Migration are appreciated.

Let me give you few specifics

User Experience: Navigation
Navigation was a major concern in previous releases. It was complicated and inconsistent or was just not there.

Now I see lot more availability and consistency in desktop UI.

Except Sales Calendar where the context of a calendar item isn’t completely built {this observation is addressed by FUSE (Simplified UI)}, navigation among core sales entities is fully enabled.

User Experience: Search
Enhancements in this area are focused around removing constraints, de-coupling search options and predefined lists and rectifying issues with filters etc.

Other notable improvements are role based saved searches (driven by admin), user level personalization of filters and introduction of record set attribute etc.

User Experience: Contextual Help
Contextual help is consistently available across all high use pages in the application. The help directory content is now fully aligned with the section form where it is invoked.

User Experience: FUSE
FUSE (Simplified UI) is for quick performance of regular tasks. A major enhancement to achieve buy-in from Sales folks.

You could perform all actions at par with desktop UI and can also quickly move to desktop UI to access more advanced features or more detailed information.

You could personalize the user experience by setting up required logo, theme etc. and setup a homepage announcement.

Though role based customization of simplified UI is possible, it is limited to overview/list pages only.

FUSE (Simplified UI) screenshot
FUSE (Simplified UI) screenshot

Core SFA: Sales Process Management
FUSE (Simplified UI) for quick action and Search, Navigation enhancements across core SFA modules brought this area back.

Other enhancements include
• Marketing insights for a Lead and Contact from Eloqua
• Customer Center Improvements –
> Competitive Presence – For Sales/Account Planning
> Graphical demonstration of Account Hierarchy (vs. Org. hierarchy)
> Tracking Contact ‘relationships’ by timeframe – An important detail sought by many customers/prospects alike.
• Lead Qualification/Management is now moved to Sales functional area

Core SFA: Sales Performance Management
Except few incremental improvements, enhancements in this area are minimal. From our experience simplification of Territory Management is very much required and it is a roadmap item.

Business Process Composer
Business Process composer is another big leap enhancement and kind of re-introduced in release 7.

As part of Oracle SOA Suite, the Oracle Business Process Management Suite contains a design-time tool for creating and adjusting BPMN 2.0 compliant BPEL processes, known as the Process Composer. Logically, as this tool can make significant changes to the way functionality runs, it is not therefore for use by normal end-users or administrators, and so is not found embedded inside Fusion Applications.

The Process Composer contains extensive options for creating new processes, as well as importing, adjusting, and redeploying the standard BPEL processes provided by Fusion Applications. Amongst other things, this includes support for manipulating Oracle Business Rules (OBR) to add complex conditional processing logic, as well as Human Workflow for interacting with users for hands-on activities, such as approvals.

Business process flows (e.g. approval flows) created using the process composer could be triggered using object workflows (e.g. of an Opportunity) that initiate based on some change in an object e.g. field update.

The seeded templates in Oracle Business Process Composer provide services, business rules, and tasks, which we can use for configuring customized processes.

Business Process Composer-Seeded flow screenshot
Business Process Composer-Seeded flow screenshot

 

Marketing: Eloqua Integration
Eloqua integration with Sales cloud is expected to augment customer interaction history in Sales Cloud, provide bi-directional lead nurturing between marketing and sales along with fully enabled Marketing automation and multi-channel campaign capabilities. Following table demonstrates what Eloqua Marketing cloud has to offer in comparison to Fusion Marketing (though it is purely driven by what is missing in Fusion Marketing)

Eloqua Marketing Cloud Vs. Fusion Marketing
Eloqua Marketing Cloud Vs. Fusion Marketing

Reports
Most anticipated feature in the area of reports is ability to drill/navigate from a report to a transactional record using Action Links and it is available in release 7. It is facilitated through calling web pages instead of using ADF contextual event.

Action Links are available for the following objects:
• Customer
• Contact
• Lead
• Opportunity

Other enhancements include
> Use alerts to proactively detect issues and business potential (condition based report scheduling)
> Add enhanced visualizations, like a waterfall chart to your reports
> Embedding OSN conversations in custom report/dashboard (i.e. see all conversations for a record in one place using report view)

Environment Migration
This allows export and import of setup data and customizations across Oracle Sales Cloud environments on the same release and patch.

Life Cycle Management
Life Cycle Management

Functional Setup Manager (FSM) is used to migrate setup data.
Customizations Migration used to migrate:
• All Sales Cloud customizations, including
> Customizations created with Application Composer, and Page Composer
> Sales Cloud security changes (role hierarchy changes)
• Customizations for other Fusion Applications (not just Sales and Marketing)

Currently available ‘Extensions Manager’ used to migrate customizations created with Application Composer (Sales and Marketing only) would be phased out.

Refer to My Oracle Support Doc ID 1534289.1 (for Setup Data) and Oracle Fusion Applications Extensibility Guide(for Customizations) migration possibilities.

Modularity Consolidation
Now we can
> Call attributes from one object to the other. This is limited to ‘Common’ application area and limited to Sales Account.
> Build relationships among objects from across application areas e.g. now we can connect a custom object created under Sales application area with a custom object created under ‘common’ application area.
> Build cross application validations e.g. When a sales account (Customer Center application area) status is turned ‘Inactive’ prevent sales user from creating an opportunity (sales application area)

Brief detail of other enhancements

Groovy Web Services Invocation
This is great. Now we could invoke a web service using the groovy in object workflows.

E.g. when an opportunity has reached ‘Closed/Won’ stage, invoke a service to create a quotation through Big Machine and update finally approved quote value back to sales cloud.

Mobile: Fusion Mobile Sales (SMARTPHONE)
Oracle Fusion Mobile Sales includes several enhancements in Release 7, including:

• Child Objects for Leads
• Forecasts
• Contact Photo
• Android Support

Mobile: Fusion TAP
Oracle Sales Cloud on iPad using Fusion Tap has become ‘general availability’ from release 7 which is a specialized application for tablet devices.
With Release 7, Oracle Fusion Tap is available in 21 languages.

Mobile Analytics: Fusion Mobile Sales
Apart from 6 standard reports, release 7 allows users to access custom reports as part of Mobile Sales application. Users can change report views and apply report filters.

Mobile Analytics: Fusion TAP
From release 7, users can access custom reports.

Social Network (OSN)
Social objects available to be enabled in Release 7 are Customer, Opportunity, Lead, Partner Account, Reference, Competitor, Organization, Person and Group. Sales Cloud administration can decide which objects to enable as social, and which fields to expose on the objects’ Wall.

Desktop UI Configuration
In Release 7, we can edit subtabs using Page Composer.

In summary, Oracle Sales Cloud release 7 is simple to use, considerably improved and strengthened its core SFA solution and ahead of competition in providing Sales Performance Management and Customer Data Management functionalists.

I would like to thank my colleagues at CRMIT Solutions for their support in writing this article.

C.A.Mohammed
Senior Principle Business Consultant, CRMIT

Originally Published on Ahmed’s Blog

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Social CRM Systems and their Benefits to a Business

Social CRM is the latest update in the Customer management Industry. With the sudden growth in social media platform, it’s through social CRM that you can connect in a more personal level with your consumers and track their daily activities. Nowadays, you will find a number of software systems that are ready to help you with social CRM technology. Let’s not waste another minute in chit chat and start exploring the following points that will help you in understanding their work methods and how you can achieve effective results with the system –

Social CRM
Social CRM helps you to Connect with Consumers on Social Media Platform

Features

Do you really wish to make a difference with your social CRM techniques? Then it is essential that you buy software systems that help you to employ an equipped CRM method technique. With these software systems you will be able to collaborate efficiently with others who belong to the other side of the mark of formal authority. This will significantly help you to accomplish your goals in a definite period of time.

Now, with social CRM, you can also follow people, their status updates and even share your views with them. With every post that you update, you can even attach a CRM linked file. With social CRM, you will be able to maintain customer interactions and engagements with transactions and operations being a byproduct. The system is also enabled with active tool management that makes it really simple to connect with your consumers through comments, file sharing and links.

You can even improve your company products through social online forums, where consumers will disclose their views and regards about the products and how you can improve them to attain better customer relationships. Most of these software systems are created with web technology 2.0 as base framework. It is chiefly information sharing stand point where consumers and sellers get to know each other in a more personal level.

Benefits

These software solutions are great problem solvers. You can use them to assist you in both cross and up sells. They help you to build a strong customer bond and improve the productivity of the business. You also get to establish a number of social profiles and groups through the means of automated centric processes.

The platform is secure which makes it absolutely safe for your organization to share information with other potential members of your company. You also get to create system feeds of records that are closely followed by users.

Conclusion

Social CRM systems help you to find and import leads. You get to measure the amount of money spend on marketing. You also get to scrutinize the effect of every single marketing program. Apart from these, you get to capture the contact information and important sale news. You can also recognize the sale prospects through the means of advanced search options. I hope that the article provides you with enough knowledge of Social CRM and how they work to help you in building customer relationships.

Author’s Bio: Alisa Martin is a profound writer and is popular for her authenticate writings. She mainly writes about business advertisement such as “Social Media marketing is one of the most proficient ways of online marketing(http://completeseoservice.com/)” and several other topics.

IRCTC (www.irctc.co.in) and Customer (Citizen) Experience

It is written several times by several people on pathetic performance of Indian Railways online ticket booking site www.irctc.co.in. Still nothing stops me in writing this blog post as I believe there is lot more can be done by Government to make the basic facility of online ticket booking experience better.

IRCTC and Customer (Citizen) Experience
IRCTC and Customer (Citizen) Experience

The fundamental issue to the problem is capacity (number of seats available in the trains) not able to meet the demand (millions of reservations). Unless the fundamental issue is solved by effective planning and execution by Indian Railways over long time, the frustration with online reservation portal www.irctc.co.in can never be resolved. But knowing the fact that in long term, we are all dead, what is it government can do in short term to alleviate the citizen’s concerns?

I have penned down few of those things here….

Facilitate offline booking in peak load without forcing people to stand in virtual queue

The site so far to my knowledge is not PCI complaint and this stops the website from storing customer credit card information. Making the site PCI complaint can facilitate customers to store their credit cards to do offline booking without users waiting for response in the virtual queue from payment gateway / booking engine in the web browser. The continues retries only make the situation worse.

All www.irctc.co.in has to do is to facilitate storing the customer ticket booking request (from date, to date, train selection, passenger details etc), do the booking offline with stored Credit Card info and send a confirmation mail after booking. This will improve the Customer Experience of people who are today subjected to hassle during peak loads (Tatkal, Festival Seasons, Vacations etc)

For TATKAL booking too people should be able to schedule an offline booking request and IRCTC can execute this in an efficient manner as per the sequence of registration of these requests in the back-end than spoiling the performance of the whole site and bringing down the UX.

Go for Elastic Cloud using Industry leading Platform As A Service (PaaS) vendors like Amazon

IRCTC should go for elastic cloud similar to one offered by AWS than trying to manage the whole IT infrastructure by itself. Here we are taking about Indian Railways train tickets where the demand is subjected to serious fluctuations due to multiple factors. There is no meaning in investing in hardware for peak load capacity (couple of hours) and pay for it 24 X 7. It makes sense to go with elastic cloud backed-up by vendor like Amazon who can scale to IRCTC’s needs on-demand basis and facilitate Pay-Per use model rather than a CAPEX / OPEX intensive model of maintain all hardware / software infrastructure by themselves.

Hook the web reservation system directly to PRS

Scrap the one more additional layer of database at IRCTC and hook the web-channel directly to PRS (Passenger Reservation System – The backbone of Railways ticket booking). By hooking directly to PRS the unnecessary overheads / bottlenecks on IRCTC can be avoided as the PRS is proven to scale for millions of transactions. I know this means a lot in terms of modifying the existing PRS but that is what Government have to do if you intend to create a true Citizen Experience.

Government to scrap the monopoly of http://www.irctc.co.in

Scrap the monopoly of IRCTC and facilitate vendors like makemytrip / flipkart / Cleartrip etc to invest and hook directly to PRS than going via the intermediary IRCTC. I believe the monopoly is one of the root causes if all these issues and this will put an end to it.

IRCTC, Please focus only on train ticket booking

IRCTC has to keep the focus on one and only in train ticket booking as there is lot more to do. Just be in the business of web booking for train tickets and not to waste their investments and engineering resources in trying to become an ecommerce vendor / web marketing channel. There are 100s of people there does that. Invest your precious resources in train ticket booking only…….

For all those the above makes sense spread the news :)

Venkatesan Sundaram
Senior Director, CRMIT

Originally Published on Venky’s Blog

Stop Typing and Start Speaking to your CRM

Does it sound interesting? Yes, it is  fact that Oracle is working on a new app “Oracle Voice” that works with Oracle Sales Cloud facilitating data entry / update in CRM by Sales team over voice than typing it out …

 

As you see over there some of the most common tasks like contact creation, task creation, opportunity update, meeting notes etc can all be entered by speaking over to your phone than typing it.  The added advantage over here as you see in the right side of the image is an interactive step by step Wizard where the system speaks to you to gather info in a logical manner to update it in CRM ….

The application is expected to be available soon, stay tuned …

Venkatesan Sundaram
Senior Director, CRMIT

Originally Published on Venky’s Blog

Client On-boarding and Customer Experience

Anyone who has gone through the process of setting up a B2B (Business to Business) Account with a Bank would swear by the poor experience they are met with due to highly inefficient and ineffective client On-boarding process that they are subjected to. Banks these days have to realize this to ensure they make the first best impressions to their clients to avoid losing them to competitors.

Enabling Customer ExperienceThough part of the problem is compounded by ever growing regulatory compliance requirements like Anti Money Laundering, Terrorist Funding, Foreign Tax Account Compliance Act etc that the Banks have to adhere to, they just cover only one side of Poor Client On-Boarding experience.

The primary reason for poor on-boarding experience is attributed to few other reasons too.

  • Lack of Customer Centric Systems – Most the banks traditionally inherit systems that are Typically Product Centric than customer / relationship centric
  • Viewing the process of Client on-boarding as a back office operation than as an engaging front office with collaborative back-office framework to seamlessly work with numerous back office groups who play a facilitator role in the on-boarding process
  • Lack of metric / Key Performance Indicator (KPI) driven approach in place to plan, measure, correct and reward performing groups / Individuals who make significant difference to the client on-boarding experience

Though putting in place a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system is not a magic wand that wipe-out all the issues listed above in one go without fundamental change in the way Organizations operate, an effectively designed / implemented CRM that mitigates the above challenges can be a sure differentiator for Banks to improve not only the customer experience but also the Net Customer Life Cycle Value.

Here I have articulated few suggestions and tips on how a CRM system can help Organizations to effectively improve the client on-boarding process.

On lack of customer centric system…

It is never going to be an easy task to just like that replace your product centric legacy back-end systems in one go into a customer centric system. The next viable best alternative available over here is to put an overarching CRM system that wraps your entire product centric core banking systems and make the CRM as a Centralized front office Application for your Relationship managers, Product Specialists and other Sales / marketing teams. The key design attributes of this CRM to facilitate On-Boarding should be below.

  • For new customers to be on-boarded, enrich the basic prospect data that you have collected in CRM with rich info that is available by integrating with Trusted Data Service Providers like D&B, Hovers etc. These systems provide very rich info about your clients like Client Organization Structure, Business diversity, Geographic Diversity, Key Client Contacts & their profile, financial data etc. This ensures a lot of info is already built in your system to do your KYC (Know Your Customer) as well as Risk Rating / Assessment in an effective manner by asking minimal info from your customers.
  • For existing customers, ensure your customer profile details (demographic, relationship, financials etc) spread across multiple internal products centric systems are cleaned and de-duplicated in the new CRM system. This would make it easier to facilitate on-boarding of existing customers to some your new products & services lot easier eliminating duplicity in asking info from customers that you have already with you.

On collaboration…

It is a common phenomenon observed in many Banking Organizations that Customer On-Boarding is considered either as a complete Back End (risk, legal, finance etc) responsibility or in few cases as sold Front end responsibility forgetting the underlying need of effective collaboration of front-end and back-end teams to make it easier for the customers.

The CRM one deploys should have all ways and means to make this collaboration between back-end, front-end teams and customers possible without any compromise on data security.  The collaboration could be facilitated by in-built email management solutions in CRM, a self-service portal that is integrated with CRM where customers can log-in and have visibility on his on-boarding process as well as share / submit additional info & documents needed, an internal discussion thread / business social features that can make interaction between back-end and front-end teams lot seamless and easier etc. In reality today many of these happen in an adhoc & in-efficient manual manner making it a time consuming as well as frustrating experience for the end customers.

On KPI Measurements…

None of the above systems and processes would work unless people on the ground are mandated to adhere to stringent KPI (Key Performance Indicator)/ SLA (Service Level Agreement). Assuming there is a commitment at the top to make it possible in having them in place, the CRM should provide support to have in place interactive dashboards and reports to report on these KPIs to identify the bottlenecks in the process and streamline it. The reports / metrics can be as simple as one that provides info on on-boarding throughput, performance of adherence to SLAs by various departments managing the on-boarding process, overall lead time, ageing analysis to identify critical bottlenecks etc. The KPIs should serve as a key input to your performance management team to see continuous improvement over a period of time.

So in net, going back to my original point, would like to share that Customer On-Boarding is an important process in establishing a new relationship with your client and making it effective / efficient with a well designed CRM system can make a big difference to Banks as well to Customer Experience.

Venkatesan Sundaram
Senior Director, CRMIT

Originally Published on Venky’s Blog

Fusion CRM (Oracle Sales Cloud) and User Experience (UX)

No wonder CRM selection committees consider User Experience (UX) as the most important parameter in selecting right CRM solution as it is proved repeatedly that a good user experience (UX) is the driving factor behind User Acceptance. User Acceptance is a key driver that differentiates a successful versus doomed CRM implementation.

Oracle Fusion CRM is built from scratch with User Experience (UX) as the core central theme. For beginners on UX it is important to note that the UX extends beyond the look & feel and application performance. It touches multiple aspects of an application and few of the important ones are below

  • Supporting the natural user workflows in the system
  • Built in tools that help the users to perform their day to activities
  • Embedded reports / dashboards that provide insights on customers / territories / markets and
  • Access to right information at right time to CRM users

Here in this blog I would present some of the interesting UX features in Oracle Fusion CRM.

The key UX challenge in designing the application for a “Sales Manager” is to organize all relevant information that is required for “Sales Manager” in one central location. Fusion CRM “Territory Management” module is one single location where a Sales Manager can effectively perform all his day to day operations.

Sales territory management – In one centralized place, a sales manager can define the set of products / customers / geography that every sales person reporting to him is mandated to sell along with his Sales Quota. As this is a crucial activity for a sales manager to perform, the system provides certain interesting tools to make the sales manager’s life easier.

To start with rather than hard-coding the sales territories, system provides a dynamic way to assign territories by one of the eight standard dimensions that are predefined in the product (Geography, Product, Organization Type, Business Size, Sales Channel, Account and Account Type). The territory can be a combination of one or more dimensions

If you are sales manager managing dozen of sales team members, the system provides flexibility to quickly check whether there are any Overlaps / Gaps on click of a button. Overlap basically helps to find out whether the same territory is added to someone else and Gaps would let you know the territories for which you still haven’t assigned the owner.

territory2

You can also select a territory and on click of a button understand the Potential Accounts / Revenue lines that are assigned to the territory on basis of territory dimension. This gives a quick short-cut to check how well balanced the territory assignments are and if required re-balance it in an iterative manner

From a day to day operation stand-point the system provides flexibility to define multiple metrics on territories like Number of Accounts, Closed Revenue, Market Potential, and Forecasted Revenue etc by “Time Period” dimension. On click of button “Show Analytics” you would get a detailed view of these metric figures along with interactive reports for each of the territory on the metrics that you have defined. The reports are good to cover various time periods as well as compare and contrast performance of one territory against another and multiple child territories under one parent.

territory1

Now coming back to the role of Sales representative, the customer center is a single place to get the complete 360 degree view of the customer right from basic customer profile information to contacts, organization chart, interactions, tasks appointments, leads, opportunities, revenue lines etc. In addition to the above it provides an interactive assessment tool to assess the quality of leads using a well structured predefined questionnaire.

customer_center

On Collaboration front, the system has an embedded “Discussion Thread” to collaborate on the account with Account Team members and Oracle Social Network for Social Styled Conversation on an opportunity or account.

osn

Similarly with sales representative’s limited bandwidth, the optimal outcome would come out only by working on most promising opportunities. Fusion CRM Predictive Analysis Engine helps the sales representative to get answers for some fundamental questions like product that he should consider offering for a prospect / customer, kinds of customers buying certain type of products, potential revenue impact of the deal and the sales cycle time to close the deal etc. It does all the above by comparing Sales transaction history against the customer / account history.

predictor

On Mobility / Multi-channel access front Fusion CRM provides multiple ways to access your CRM information including critical reports / dashboards via Tablets, Mobile Phones as well as in your Outlook. The applications are designed in such a way that common tasks handled by people on the field can be captured using these devices when they don’t have an online access to Fusion CRM over the web. The information that you capture in your local device can be synchronized back to the server whenever you get the internet connectivity

tap iphone outlook

In addition to the above the release 7 of fusion CRM provides a Sleek Clutter Free interface as an optional interface via web to the users to perform the most common sales tasks without getting hindered with too many details. It is a so sleek that it can provide a consistent interface across multiple devices you can potentially use to access the application.

fuse_ui

For Tele-Marketing / Call Center users the application provides a Robust Telephony Interface framework that you can use to plug your back-end telephony systems to Fusion CRM. Once you are done with it, the system provides Click-To-Dial (Dial on click of a phone field) as well as Incoming Call Pop-Up on basis of caller information wherever application.

In net if you look into the aspect of User Experience in a holistic manner beyond look & feel and application performance, I would say Fusion CRM is an application that is really designed for UX….

Venkatesan Sundaram
Senior Director, CRMIT

Originally Published on Venky’s Blog