Breaking Down Oracle’s Extensive Customer Experience Platform

by:
on April 5, 2016

Confused about Oracle’s customer relationship management (CRM) solutions? You’re not alone. I was, too!

Over the last few years, Oracle has made numerous acquisitions and combined them all into a smorgasbord of options they call an “integrated CRM solution.” It’s great for buyers who want options, but the Oracle Customer Experience (CX) system is easily confusing because of its breadth.

The good news: Oracle’s CX system is actually easy to understand with a little guidance—and I’m going to break it down for you.

Here’s what we’ll cover:

(Click below to jump to a section.)

Overview: Oracle Customer Experience
Deep Dive: Capabilities of Individual Solutions

Next Steps

Overview: Oracle Customer Experience

In a nutshell, The CX platform is made up of a comprehensive portfolio of cloud applications that span the entire customer management process.

These applications are designed to help with everything from marketing to configure, price and quote (CPQ), and everything in between.

The cool part? They can be deployed together or modularly. Use the entire system as an integrated, end-to-end CRM solution, or mix and match as you please from the menu of CX options to tackle specific business challenges.

Here’s a brief overview of Oracle CX applications:

 

Oracle Customer Experience Applications

 

Marketing Cloud
Combines technology from a number of Oracle’s acquisitions including: Eloqua, Compendium, Responsys and BlueKai to help users run marketing campaigns on the Web, social media and via email. It also provides content marketing tools (like publishing, planning, workflows and analytics).
Jump to more details
Sales Cloud
Provides a complete set of tools for managing sales activities, including: sales force automation, sales performance management, analytics and forecasting and social collaboration. It also offers mobile sales tools.
Jump to more details
Service Cloud
Enables customer service engagement and interaction across multiple channels (like Web and social) and devices. Applications include knowledge management, automated policy management and field service management, among others.
Jump to more details
Commerce Cloud
Provides the tools to launch and maintain e-commerce sites and helps companies manage omni-channel commerce experiences, personalization, search and navigation and promotions. It offers tools to support both B2B and B2C companies.
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Social Cloud
Offers tools for social relationship management including social listening and engagement, social marketing and a private social collaboration tool for employees.
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CPQ Cloud
Designed to help companies manage the entire quote-to-cash process—from inquiry to order fulfillment. It helps standardize the sales process for resellers and distributors.
Jump to more details
Data Cloud
A data as a service (DaaS) offering that offers consumer data to inform and measure marketing. It helps companies connect with the right customers, personalize customer interactions and measure the effectiveness of engagement.
Jump to more details

 

Deep Dive: Capabilities of Individual CX Solutions

Oracle CX solutions can be used together for end-to-end customer management, or on their own to manage specific parts of the customer management process.

Below is a list of capabilities and key features offered with each application. Though not an exhaustive list, this will help you understand the basics of what each application does.

Marketing Cloud

Oracle’s Marketing Cloud provides a comprehensive set of tools that cover a range of digital marketing needs. This includes tools for cross-channel marketing, i.e., marketing automation for both B2B and B2C marketers, as well as data management, content marketing and social media marketing.

Cross-Channel Marketing

The Oracle Marketing Cloud provides two solutions for cross-channel marketing:

Oracle Eloqua: Marketing automation for B2B marketers, including:

  • Targeting and segmentation
  • Lead management
  • Marketing measurement
  • Sales enablement
  • Web marketing

Oracle Responsys: Cross-channel orchestration for B2C marketers, including:

  • Consumer profiles
  • Email marketing (and a message designer)
  • Mobile marketing
  • Display advertising
  • Analytics and insights
  • Commerce marketing

These solutions promise to “leverage real-time behavior data to deliver an individualized experience across marketing channels.”

Here’s a short video about Oracle’s perspective on the challenges of the chief marketing officer and how their Marketing Cloud can help:

Data Management Platform

The Oracle Data Management Platform (DMP) is a marketing intelligence solution that connects a company’s proprietary data to third-party information from Oracle Data Cloud.

Think of the DMP as a central hub for managing data from email, mobile, social, search and display advertising. This helps marketers identify potential customers, build and refine target audiences and find the best revenue opportunities across multiple channels. For example, it might show that social media is a better channel than paid advertising.

What’s more, DMP is fully integrated with Oracle Responsys, Oracle Eloqua and Oracle Social Relationship Management platforms for immediate cross-channel benefits.

Content Marketing

Oracle’s content marketing solution provides the tools to create and distribute compelling content across multiple digital channels.

Use it to publish content to websites, blogs or landing pages, or over email or social channels. Content planning is managed with an intuitive calendar-based tool. Users can set up specific content workflows to prevent redundant content production.

Key functions include:

  • Content planning and organizing
  • Content workflow management
  • Content publishing and integrations (through social and cross-channel solutions)
  • Content marketing analytics

Social Marketing

Oracle’s social marketing platform offers a unified social management solution that includes:

  • Social listening
  • Content creation
  • Publishing and engagement
  • Social analytics

Oracle offers Latent Semantic Analysis (LSA) technology to identify and capture relevant signals from social media channels. With this, users can identify where conversations of interest are happening and patterns among consumers based on social activity.

Key analytics include:

  • Engagement rates, total actions, e.g., likes and shares
  • Recommendations on how to increase social followers
  • Details on what factors are mentioned most in social conversations

Oracle’s social marketing analytics functionality helps marketers understand their customers and target demographics.

 

Back to Overview

Sales Cloud

Oracle Sales Cloud combines sales force automation with sales performance management, sales analytics and social collaboration tools.

Key functions of each tool include:

Oracle Sales Cloud Functions

Sales force automation
  • Pipeline management
  • Sales catalog and product recommendations
  • Lead and opportunity assessment
  • Deal calendar and task notifications
  • Territory management
  • Configuration and customization toolset
Sales performance management
  • Sales productivity tools:
    • Sales Coach, Sales Lightbox and Whitespace Analysis
  • Territory modeling and what-if analysis
  • Top-down and bottom-up quota planning
  • Sales performance dashboards with scorecards and leader boards
  • Compensation plan automation for cash and non-cash incentives
Sales analytics and forecasting
  • Recommendation Engine: To segment customer data, data-mine past opportunities and identify the next-best products to position in each account
  • Track and forecast key performance indicators
  • Sales rep activity management and forecasts
  • Partner sales activity with information tracking
Social collaboration
  • The Oracle Social Network lets users share information and receive updates on accounts, leads and opportunities.

 

Oracle also offers mobile sales options to help on-the-go sales teams using smartphones and tablets. Mobile Sales Cloud functionality includes:

 

Oracle Sales Cloud Mobile App: Includes functionality to prepare for customer meetings, log sales calls, follow up on sales opportunities and update sales forecasts.

Call Report App: Helps salespeople record key sales activities and offers functionality to update related opportunity data.

Mobile Dashboards: Lets users deliver custom, interactive dashboards that can be accessed via Oracle Sales Cloud Mobile.

 

Here’s a video with a “day in the life” scenario showing the many ways Oracle Sales Cloud can be used:

 

Back to Overview

Service Cloud

In 2011, Oracle acquired RightNow Technologies, Inc., a leading provider of cloud-based customer service technology.

It was incorporated into Oracle Service Cloud as a set of applications to help companies deliver unified, cross-channel customer experiences across call centers, the Web and social networks. It also offers applications for knowledge management and policy automation.

RightNow Web Experience

The Oracle RightNow Web Experience lets consumers engage in customer service interactions with companies via the Web.

The following products are all part of Oracle RightNow Web Experience:

Oracle RightNow Web Experience Products

Oracle RightNow Intent Guide Understands consumer intent on your website and guides consumers to high-value interactions.
Oracle RightNow Customer Portal A customizable customer service experience platform that is used to add branded self-service content (such as help pages) to any Web page.
Oracle RightNow Web Guides customers to easily find the information they need from anywhere, at any time, without the need for agent assistance.
Oracle RightNow Mobile Delivers self-service for smartphones and other advanced devices.
Oracle RightNow Guided Assistance Prompts customers through troubleshooting guides to help them find answers without assistance from a customer service agent.
Oracle RightNow Chat and Oracle RightNow Cobrowse Offers direct text and visual connections between agents and customers.
Oracle RightNow Email Management Provides intelligent email deflection. Helps manage inbound emails and escalations and track progress.
Oracle RightNow App Builder Experience Designer Extends Oracle RightNow Web Experience capabilities by providing customer portal designer functionality.

 

RightNow Contact Center Experience

The Oracle RightNow Contact Center Experience enables end-to-end management of the customer service experience by unifying customer data, contextual knowledge and interaction channels.

Here are a few key features:

    • Desktop workflow: A drag-and-drop workflow engine that steps agents through one or more business processes.
    • Contextual workspaces: Presents only the information an agent needs in the context of the conversation and specific customer issue.
    • Guided assistance: A troubleshooting tool that guides agents to correct resolutions.
    • Agent scripting: Provides interaction scripts such as cross-sell and up-sell offers.
    • SmartAssistant: Leverages Oracle RightNow Knowledge Foundation Cloud Service and patented artificial intelligence technology to suggest answers.
    • Standard text: Templates for frequently used responses and URLs.
    • Hot keys: Shortcuts for common functions and insertion of standard text.

It also includes tools to manage multiple customer interaction channels:

  • Voice self-service and intelligent routing
  • Web self-service
  • Email response management
  • Chat and cobrowse
  • Feedback
  • Support communities
  • Cloud and social media monitoring and management

Knowledge Management

The Oracle Knowledge Management platform offers an integrated set of knowledge management capabilities companies can use to provide more personalized, cross-channel service and support.

To help specific types of businesses, Oracle offers two versions of the platform:

    • Oracle Knowledge for Contact Center: Designed for agents who provide direct service to customers.
    • Oracle Knowledge for Web Self-Service: Designed for companies that want to enable customers to find answers on their own.

Oracle Knowledge is compatible with other Oracle technology, including the Oracle Database, WebLogic, Oracle Data Integrator and Oracle Business Intelligence.

The platform includes functionality that works to empower customers to self-serve, reduce incident handling time and improve customer service resolution rates.

Capabilities include:

  • Natural language processing (NLP) search
  • Flexible authoring/publishing
  • Analytics and customizable self-service
  • Agent-facing knowledge applications

Here’s a video showing how the Knowledge platform works:

Policy Automation

Oracle Policy Automation (OPA) is used for developing rules and rule based applications. It offers tools for capturing, managing and deploying complex document-based policies across channels and processes.

Although OPA was originally developed for and sold to the public sector it can also be used in private industries.

The system is meant to help businesses deliver a more consistent customer service experience by helping them:

  • Implement policy-based decision making
  • Maintain transparency
  • Deploy and enforce policy controls across applications and teams
  • Respond quickly to policy changes
  • Analyze existing policies
  • Assess the impact of policy changes

What’s more, Oracle offers a mobile app for iOS and Android devices. It’s also available as a Mobile Archive that can be used to create and deploy your own corporate apps based on the OPA platform.

Here’s a video overview of OPA platform:

Field Service Management

Each module in the Oracle Field Service Cloud Service solution uses the time-based, self-learning and predictive engine to automate and optimize field service operations. You can pick and choose the modules you need to help meet your business objectives.

Oracle Field Service Cloud Products

Oracle Field Service Capacity Helps ensure maximum utilization of available resources.
Oracle Field Service Collaboration Provides the means to contextually connect field employees for instant peer-to-peer communication and knowledge sharing.
Oracle Field Service Core Manage Provides tools to help manage field operations centrally with a real-time view of the field.
Oracle Field Service Customer Communication Helps companies proactively inform customers, teams and coworkers about the status of appointments.
Oracle Field Service Forecasting Offers predictive tools to help companies plan field service activities.
Oracle Field Service Mobility A browser-based mobile field service app compatible with any HTML5-compatible mobile device.
Oracle Field Service Routing Offers an automation engine to tailor field employee routing.
Oracle Field Service Smart Location Lets companies monitor the real-time location of all field resources by viewing and comparing actual routes against predicted routes.

 

To help explain how the Field Service Cloud modules, Oracle offers this 360 degree view of that shows how the application is designed to provide a comprehensive field service solution.

Field Service Management: 360 View

Source: Oracle

 

The latest release (2016) of Oracle Field Service Cloud also offers a mobile solution for field service managers. With this app, supervisors can track progress from the field, manage field resource schedules, respond to issues and assign unscheduled work to resources with availability.

With Oracle’s field resource app for managers, supervisors can view schedules and access resource details while in the field.

 

Back to Overview

Commerce Cloud

Oracle’s CX Commerce solution may trickier to understand than their other applications.

Oracle offers two options: Oracle Commerce Cloud and Oracle Commerce Platform. Oracle Commerce Cloud is a part of the Oracle CX offerings, whereas the Commerce Platform is not.

Oracle Commerce Cloud

The Commerce Cloud was officially released in 2015. Oracle suggests this scalable cloud-based ecommerce solution for fast-growing retailers or those moving from limited small business ecommerce platforms, homegrown solutions or overly complicated open source solutions.

Here are a few key functions of Commerce Cloud:

Commerce Cloud Functions

Deployment and Management
Customer Experience
  • Product catalogue management
  • Media content management
  • Automatic upgrades
  • API-first architecture
  • Developer tools
  • Preview and staging
  • Content/media support
  • Starter store templates and widgets
  • Guided search
  • Unlimited client-side customization
  • Modern experience management
  • Modern HTML client side
  • Responsive design
  • Automatic image scaling
  • Single page checkouts
  • Search engine optimization (SEO)

 

And here’s a video overview about how you can use Oracle Commerce Cloud:

Oracle Commerce Platform

Though not technically part of the CX Cloud of applications, the Commerce Platform has existed for over a decade, and Oracle considers it “the heart of the Oracle Commerce solution.” Thus, it’s worth mentioning here.

It’s a highly scalable application suite that automates and personalizes the online buying experience. It supports even the most complex digital businesses by reaching new touch points and geographies.

Commerce Platform works best for enterprise B2B and B2C organizations that want an on-premise solution, a highly customized website and have an in-house team with the skill set to build and maintain it.

Back to Overview

Social Cloud

Oracle Social Cloud is a comprehensive social media management system that offers social marketing, engagement and monitoring, publishing and analytics.

Social Engagement & Monitoring (SE&M)

Oracle SE&M listens across more than 40 million sites, such as social media networks, message boards, blogs, consumer review sites and video sites. It uses latent semantic analysis (LSA) and sentiment to identify contextual meaning. It also offers influencer identification.

Social Marketing

Oracle Social Marketing offers tools such as:

  • Drag and drop content creation
  • Multiplatform publishing
  • Paid media capabilities
  • Dynamic link tracking
  • Advanced workflow approvals

It also includes a library of apps and an interactive dashboard. Users can publish in 31 languages, making it a good choice for companies with global customers.

Social Network

Oracle Social Network is a secure private social network with a broad range of social tools to help teams collaborate and leverage collective expertise. For example, it provides real-time online chat, document sharing and content collaboration functionality, as well as WebEx or Avaya conferencing options.

Because Social Cloud is a unified platform, this application makes sense for businesses that want to replace multiple best-of-breed systems with one comprehensive solution.

Also, the system integrates with other CX applications, such as Oracle Marketing, Oracle Sales Cloud and Oracle Service Cloud, making it a great choice for those that already use (or lan to use) those applications.

Back to Overview

CPQ Cloud

Oracle Configure, Price and Quote (CPQ) Cloud (formerly BigMachines) helps manage the entire quote-to-cash process—from inquiry to order—with quoting software capabilities.

CPQ Cloud offers three products meant to help standardize the sales process for resellers and distributors:

CPQ Cloud for E-Commerce: Built for ecommerce (B2C) companies, it enables companies to build a customized, self-service website. Customers can generate quotes and orders on a company’s website, and businesses can capture product configuration and guided selling rules. It also offers e-commerce activity analytics.

CPQ Cloud for Channel Partners: This product is designed for companies to help their channel partners serve customers quickly. It enables partners to generate rich branded or co-branded quotes and sales proposals for their customers.

Express CPQ Cloud: CPQ Express is designed for medium or growing businesses. It offers similar functionality to the other versions of CPQ Cloud, but is built entirely on the Salesforce platform. This makes it a good choice for smaller companies that already use Salesforce.

Here’s a list of key CPQ Cloud features:

CPQ Cloud Features

Channel Partners and E-Commerce
Express CPQ
  • Searchable product catalog
  • Configurable products
  • List and customer-specific pricing
  • Discounting
  • Extensible scripting and data structures
  • Output document generation
  • Guided selling
  • Product bundling
  • Volume, tiered and maintenance pricing
  • Account specific discounting
  • Dynamic proposal generator
  • Automated renewal quotes

 

Back to Overview

Data Cloud

People interact with brands in different ways, e.g., websites and social channels, and on various devices, such as laptops, desktops and mobile devices. These interactions can vary, depending on the channel and device.

Oracle Data Cloud, a DaaS offering, helps users reconcile people’s identities across various digital channels. It collects and combines consumer data from various sources through media integrations and data providers. Reportedly, it reaches more than 90 percent of U.S. online consumers by connecting active cookies, mobile IDs, emails, registrations and social IDs.

Data Cloud users can connect network identifiers, such as Facebook and Twitter handles, and device-centric identifiers across desktops, tablets and mobile devices. This provides a coherent picture of customers’ digital identities.

Data Cloud can also be used with any of Oracle’s software offerings. Users acquire this second or third-party data and plug it in anywhere in the Oracle software stack.

For example, if you think of Oracle’s Marketing Cloud as a vertically integrated software stack, Data Cloud is the horizontal data access you can plug into it.

Ultimately, this cross-channel consumer information and understanding can help companies tailor their communication to specific customer behaviors across devices and platforms, leading to more meaningful and relevant customer interactions.

Next Steps

Need help choosing the right Oracle CX applications? Here are some steps you can take to narrow down your options and get more information:

Email me at lukewallace@softwareadvice.com. I’m available to help you start the software-selection process, or to answer any additional questions you might have about Oracle CX offerings, marketing or sales software.

• Check out detailed comparisons and reviews of popular customer relationship management platforms and marketing software.

 

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