Oracle, who have several code line families to care for and nurture, are announcing Siebel CRM 8.1.1 today, and more intriguingly from a collaboration perspective 'Oracle Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Gadgets for Sales', more evidence of the effort being put into Social CRM by Oracle.
As the images demonstrate, the CRM 'Gadgets' are essentially small floating desktop palettes created using Adobe AIR which display contextual accounts information.
These are the first of the new Oracle gadgets that securely drill down into Oracle enterprise application data and services, as well as delivering a user experience focused on the key activities and data required by sales professionals featuring a combination of personal information, Internet content, phone conversations and enterprise data.
Oracle CRM Gadgets for Sales are mini-applications with productivity-enhancing features that give quick access to critical business information without the need to launch a browser, log in, and most importantly saves users time navigating through a series of screens to access data.
With the capability of combining corporate data from an organization’s CRM system plus public data from the Internet, Oracle's CRM Gadgets manage user data while keeping sales forces better informed.
The gadgets enable access of enterprise data even when disconnected from the network through caching and updates user data automatically once a network presence is sensed on reconnection to the internet.
At the heart of this gadget universe is a 'gadget manager'. Essentially the user logs onto this mothership app and all other gadgets load and cache data under single sign on once security checks are made.
Browser and iGoogle based Adobe FLEX versions of these gadgets are scheduled for launch early next year along with an SDK to allow customers to build rich Internet gadgets in-house.
Oracle's descriptions of today's launched Gadgets:
My Contacts Gadget: Presents users with simple means of searching and interacting with the contacts from their Siebel CRM or Oracle CRM On Demand application. Users can click-to-email and click-to-call their contacts, as well as search for contacts across multiple Internet bases and social networking sites.
Top Accounts Gadget: Provides a mash-up of key account management data from the Siebel CRM or Oracle CRM On Demand system together with Internet-based content. Up-to-date news concerning the user’s account is accessed via equity market updates and RSS feeds, keeping a sales person informed of public events and information impacting their customers.
Top Deals Gadget: Gives users real-time insight into the status of sales opportunities that are scheduled to close in the current reporting period. Users can easily monitor their deal flow directly from their computer desktop.
Search Gadget: Available only for Siebel CRM, this gadget provides customers with a desktop-based search tool to search the data and content in their Siebel CRM application quickly and easily. Users can search against the entire CRM database or specific sub-collections of data.
Oracle Sales Quota Gadget: Supplies real-time information for current quarter sales pipeline, target for the quarter and the quota achieved to date. This gadget is also available only for Siebel CRM.
All gadgets are free downloads for registered users of Oracle’s Siebel CRM (7.7 and above) and Oracle CRM On Demand, and they can be deployed by an administrator from a central web interface. PeopleSoft will be taking the gadget manager and gadgets and plugging their own services in 'next year'.
It's not hard to imagine these enterprise class tools coexisting on a laptop along with other Enterprise 2.0 collaboration tools such as Twitter or similar.
I met with Oracle's Senior Vice President of CRM Anthony Lye and his team in Redwood Shores last week and was told the entire company will roll out internal use of Social CRM for all 50,000 employees worldwide next year.
This will be an intriguing effort given the diversity of Oracle's product lines and patch update schedules, but is evidence of a concerted effort to provide a more flexible approach to accessing the data goldmine living inside the Oracle product's databases spearheaded by the company's own employees.