I was at Oracle’s Analyst day today, and spent time with the Customer Experience Team drilling into the technology that allows organizations to deliver consistent, cross-channel, cross-touchpoint experiences across what Oracle terms the buying and owning journey – and which parallels Forrester’s viewpoint quite nicely. Here is Oracle's view of this journey:
Most companies cannot deliver consistent customer experiences across the explosion of touchpoints and communication channels. This is, in part, because companies have historically implemented customer-facing technologies in silos, disconnected from each other. Here's some data points about customer service that backs this up. In a survey of eBusiness professionals, only 19% and 21% of the respondents believe that they are effective at multichannel integration and back-end integration, respectively. More than that, companies are not treating this problem as pressing: In our latest Forrsignts survey, only 34% of companies interviewed are planning to do any type of multichannel integration – and again, this is data for customer service only!
Oracle is offering a single-vendor solution to this problem. In the last several years, they have been focused on acquiring the building blocks of capabilities to support the end-to-end customer journey: Some of the acquisitions include: Eloqua (2012) for marketing automation, Virtue (2012) for social marketing, Collective Intellect (2012) for social intelligence, RightNow Technologies (2011) for customer service, Endeca (2011) for enterprise search, InQuira (2011) for knowledge management, ATG (2010) for ecommerce to name a few.
Oracle is now focused on integrating existing assets as well as newly acquired assets together in an end to end customer experience management suite which includes capabilities for marketing, sales, commerce, and customer service.
The end result has definite benefits to the buyer: it decreases overall total cost of ownership, it pushes the integration headaches to the vendor, and makes financial contract management much simpler. Yet, there are red flags: no company will start from a blank technology slate, and the problem that Oracle is attacking is really hard due to different code bases, architectures and deployment options of these assets. It will be interesting to see how many companies adopt this strategy and realize real benefits.