Know Who. Know How.By Marta Bright
Oracle CRM On Demand turns customer knowledge into business success.
Customers are the lifeblood of any business. Finding them—and then keeping them—is critical. And to do that, companies must know who their customers are, what they want, and what will keep them satisfied. Customer relationship management (CRM) software helps companies understand their customers’ needs, buying patterns, and even complaints. Oracle CRM On Demand goes one step further—offering companies a portfolio of software-as-a-service (SaaS) and managed applications that reduces risk and lowers the total cost of ownership for the companies that use them.
“On-demand software provides a tremendous amount of value to an organization that doesn’t have all of the resources required to deploy an on-premises application, or the organizational requirements don’t justify the need for an on-premises solution,” says Anthony Lye, senior vice president of CRM at Oracle.
From banking and finance to education and government agencies, hundreds of Oracle customers around the world have examined their requirements for CRM and found that Oracle CRM On Demand provides the functionality and ease of use they need.
A Lifetime of Learning
Established more than 150 years ago and spread across 16 campuses in New York, Ohio, Virginia, and Wisconsin, Bryant & Stratton College is a private career college that helps students develop professional skills in specialties ranging from graphic design and nursing to information technology and hotel and restaurant management. A 22-year veteran at Bryant & Stratton, IT Director John Grieco led a project to implement Oracle CRM On Demand to manage marketing and career placement services for close to 1 million potential and existing students.
“The true value of IT is not in keeping machines up and running,” says Grieco. “It’s in what you can gain from an IT department’s knowledge of the business. To maximize and use that knowledge to its greatest capacity, I think we are well served to let Oracle worry about managing IT, so we can worry about running the college’s business.”
Grieco completed the integration of Oracle CRM On Demand with a third-party collegiate administrative suite of student, financial aid, finance, human resources, and advancement systems running on Oracle Database. The integrated Oracle CRM On Demand environment is especially useful for marketing to Bryant & Stratton’s different student populations—recent high school grads, who are usually more tech-savvy, and nontraditional older students, who may not have as much experience in using Web-based technologies, Grieco says.
“Oracle CRM On Demand has given us a far better understanding of our prospective students and existing students,” he says. Oracle CRM On Demand enables the college to track advertising to prospective students and determine accurate costs for each lead; application; and registered, attending student.
“Being able to figure out how much all of these marketing programs truly cost has led us to look at what we did in the past and say, ‘We always thought that campaign was very successful, but in reality it’s not compared to this campaign. Maybe next semester we’ll allocate more resources to this campaign and not worry about what we did last year,’” Grieco says.
Creating an environment that supports independent, as-needed use by the marketing staff is a great fit for a business like Bryant & Stratton, says Amy Konary, a research director with IDC. “If your salespeople are widely distributed and they need to contribute to one system, standardizing them on one system of record is valuable, and having a single database for that is especially valuable,” she says.
Green Miles to Sustainability
VicUrban, located in Melbourne, Australia, demonstrates how an Oracle CRM On Demand solution can improve the customer experience. As well, it can unite and simplify IT for a diverse sales team that had been using multiple software solutions.
VicUrban is the state government’s sustainable urban development agency; it works with the public and private sectors to build sustainable communities and create opportunities for industry development. Created in 2003 after a merger between Victoria’s Urban Regional Land Corporation and the Docklands Authority, VicUrban has focused its projects primarily on developing communities that address the challenges posed by population growth and climate change.
Because one agency had been based on a Microsoft system and the other had been based on Oracle technologies, the merger required some retooling of the IT infrastructure. “Some of the primary considerations involved were cost, unifying on a single platform, and robust industry standards,” says David Morton, information and communications technology (ICT) service delivery manager at VicUrban.
The new organization decided to implement an all-Oracle solution based on Oracle Database, Oracle Application Server, and Oracle E-Business Suite to ensure system longevity, compatibility, and integration. The agency also adopted Oracle CRM On Demand to make it easier for staff first to access and capture customer information and then to use that information to market to prospective buyers more precisely.
Indeed, Morton and others at the agency are enthusiastic about the benefits that SaaS provides. “It’s much easier for Oracle [rather than VicUrban] to make sure the availability is appropriate for these applications,” says Morton.
Morton is very happy to have the SaaS model to serve the agency’s business computing needs and as a role model for sustainable practices. VicUrban has embraced sustainability as a credo, a concept that was reinforced when the agency moved into its new “green” offices in Victoria’s first heritage-listed building during the intense heat of Australia’s summer season and achieved the Green Building Council Australia’s 5 Star Green Star Certified Rating for office design.
“We want to take a leadership role in the area of sustainability, so one of the things we’re trying to do with ICT is to ‘green’ it,” Morton says. “One way I’m doing that is by implementing services like SaaS, including Oracle CRM On Demand, which will reduce power consumption even during heat waves.”
VicUrban is trying to push the green initiative by implementing services such as Oracle CRM On Demand that will both reduce the power consumption at the VicUrban offices and demonstrate that people can follow a similar path with their own lives and business initiatives. “Sustainability,” says Morton, “is not only about the carbon; it’s also about improving lifestyles.”
Marta Bright is a senior editor with Oracle Publishing.