Tag: Oracle Sales Cloud

Oracle CRM OnDemand – Alive and Kicking?

Oracle CRM OnDemand (CRMOD) Release 16 was my first encounter with a ready to use, complete End-to-End CRM application in a SaaS model, and its needless to say that I am biased towards this application. However, the reasons are not just personal; the application now in its 23rd release (with a roadmap to R24) has come a long way. It is a mature application and is as good as (if not better) most of the other offerings in the market.

But recent events in this space have raised doubts of the application’s life term. Many would argue that Oracle’s focus has shifted to the development and enhancement of fusion applications and Oracle CRMOD is on its way to retirement. While this is not entirely false, we still need to understand that the application is part of Oracle Sales Cloud and with its existing customer base, Oracle would find it difficult to move away from this product.

This is well substantiated by the recent enhancements and the fixes I have seen in the release 23. Oracle has delivered more than 35 enhancements with major themes being – Customer experience, Industry Innovation and Lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). While the below screenshot shows the focus areas of Release 23, the roadmap for Release 24 is equally convincing.

CRMOD Release 23 features

R23 talks about integration with Oracle Social Relationship Management for Social engagement and monitoring and concentrated effort to build up the Life Sciences industry vertical for CRMOD. However, in this article, I would focus on the three most intriguing features (as per me) of Oracle CRMOD, their functionalities and recent enhancements.

1] Business Process Automation’: From updating a field to building complex validation rules, used for automating tasks which were painfully manual or for defining rules that control the application’s usage, Business Process automation module of CRMOD is probably the single biggest component in terms of impact towards the application adoption. A well defined and well configured Business process can ensure that your application is controlled and structured.

Oracle CRMOD provides a robust framework to establish these business processes. As a systems analyst, you can create innumerable combinations of Actions based on the triggers available. Think of any action below and combine with the trigger to define your process.

CRMOD Business Process

The predefined functions in Oracle CRMOD boasts of a comprehensive list, which when stitched together with the operators offered can help you define and configure the most complex of rules and processes.

R23 enhancements – With R23, one of the key features in business process management is that the function ‘JoinFieldValue’ (function to extract field value from another object) could potentially have any record as the source and any record as the destination. The source records were previously restricted to OOB objects and Custom Object 1, 2 & 3. This meant that while designing the system, we had to take into consideration this limitation. However, now you could map your business entities without thinking of this constraint.

CRMOD Keynote

2] Personalizing your Application’: Driven by its theme of ‘Customer Experience’ this section has seen a number of enhancements in the last few releases. The application though designed/configured globally in a certain way, provides the user the ability to control:

a) What they want see in the system &

b) How they want to see it

The list below (not limited to) highlights what users can control in the system, apart from being able to modify one’s personal information:

Application Personalizing with CRMOD

R23 enhancementsDynamic layout capability is one of the most sought after features in Oracle CRMOD. A feature not yet available in recently developed applications. Prior to R23, users could only add/remove related information sections for a layout and this did not impact the dynamic layouts. But R23, takes this a step further by giving users the option to personalize the layout with individual sets of related information, each set mapping to a driving value in the pick-list.

keynote R23 enhancement of CRMOD

3] Ad-hoc Actionable Analytics’: Oracle CRMOD is powered with a light weight yet robust analytics engine. Having worked with multiple applications, I can confidently say that the reporting capability of CRMOD is more powerful than most of the competitive software available in the market. I like to use the phrase ‘Ad-hoc Actionable Analytics’ because with limited training, users with the right privileges could create meaningful reports and dashboards on the fly.

Business scenario* – “Head of a wholesale banking business unit wants to know the overdue opportunities by industry but at the same time wants to find out why the opportunities has not been closed” *- Screens shown below are for demonstrative purposes only and may not  relate to real time scenarios

Oracle CRMOD provides a 3 step solution to this requirement:

A)     1st Level Dashboard Statistics :: Identify the Area of Concern

1st Level Dashboard Statistics for CRMOD

B)      2nd Level List of items :: Get More Information

DAP detail report of CRMOD

C)      3rd Level Record view :: Take Action

Account plan detail of CRMOD

R23 enhancements – Apart from support from multiple languages in analytics and introduction of some important subject areas, Release 23 brings in a personalization of Dashboards for user roles. Administrators could previously remove pre-built dashboards, but now you can customize and sort the display of dashboards.

R23 enhancement CRMOD

Oracle CRM OnDemand, is a critical piece in the Oracle Cloud applications suite. It may not be the Primary Focus and preference but it is not going to retire anytime soon. As per me, Oracle has every reason to continue its enhancements and support for the next two years at least, which is quite a long time in any application’s life. Oracle CRMOD is here to stay and is very much ‘Alive and kicking’!!

Pratik Bajaj
Principal Business Consultant – CRM & CX.
CRMIT Solutions

 

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

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