I started this post yesterday but was interrupted by meetings and personal life, so now back to my discussion with Oracle on their Social CRM offerings.
I said the tools were limited in functionality, but let me explain in more detail. They are NOT limited in functionality within the firewall, but external user generated content is not something that seems to be in the current products. Yes you can use your favourite social network to background check potential customers. I can understand some of the reasons behind this but the options should still have been incorporated.
The products have a nifty looking UI, some of which is modelled on what looks like Apple’s iTunes. For example the Sales Library product allows user to flick through presentations by tag or to search traditionally. If you like a slide drag it to your area, then continue browsing. Once you have all of the slides you want, download and Sales Library creates a brand new powerpoint chart pack based on your selected slides. You now make your own changes and then upload the revised product for others to use. A great tool for building those sales presentations. What is missing is linkages to tools like SlideShare to bring in user generated content.
The linkage with social networking tools of your choice allow you to complete detailed research on your existing and potential customers. for example if you are selling a new eLearning system, go find out which sports team the learning manager supports, what their favourite hobbies are, where they went to school.
The tools have a fantastic integration with the iPhone allowing seamless integration with the CRM products. Which for example if you make a phone call to a CRM contact, automatically updates the CRM from the iPhone handset over the air that the call was made. The CRM tool provides a nice interface showing appointments, tasks and contact all over the air from your CRM on Demand product. Just wait, get lost on your way to see a client, a single click on the CRM contact on your iPhone and you have the Google map appearing showing the location.
A final thought I know more a more companies who are using traditional CRM tools as part of the recruitment process to manage the relationship with candidates. The additions into the Oracle product line make this application even more compelling.