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Comparing Oracle E-Business Suite and Microsoft Dynamics CRM

Expert William Band provides an overview of the differences between Oracle E-Business Suite CRM and Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

Our company is using the Oracle Financials module in the E-Business suite. We are re-evaluating our CRM software, and one of the big decisions is between Oracle CRM and Microsoft CRM. What are the major differences between them, and how it will be different from what we're using now? Should we have any concerns with Oracle being more focused on Siebel CRM and PeopleSoft CRM?
Oracle E-Business Suite CRM is best suited for customers who need E-Business Suite integration.

Capitalizing on its success in the database business, Oracle built out Oracle E-Business Suite CRM, a comprehensive enterprise suite, over the past decade. Within this integrated application suite, the CRM product set has been steadily improved. E-Business Suite CRM is used by approximately 600 companies, comprising some 150,000 users, primarily large organizations committed to maintaining an Oracle infrastructure. Oracle is investing heavily in a next-generation product strategy, Fusion Applications, which will be based to a large extent on the E-Business Suite schema and functionality. This means that E-Business Suite CRM is -- and will remain -- an important product in Oracle's portfolio.

Overall, the E-Business Suite CRM software provides broad support for all areas of CRM functionality, with strong capabilities in the areas of sales, field service and partner channel management. Marketing is also being improved, and the solution is fully capable of being deployed globally. Customers benefit from strong pre- and post-implementation support from Oracle. Areas of relative weaknesses include customer data management, eCommerce and a lack of customized solutions targeted toward key processes in specific industries. Like other large-scale CRM enterprise applications sold primarily through an on-premise perpetual license model, application complexity, high cost and lengthy implementation schedules are drawbacks. This means that the product is an especially good fit for buyers who:

  • Are committed to Oracle for a platform and applications. Oracle E-Business Suite CRM is well integrated into the company's overall E-Business Suite, using the same database instance, schema, user interface and analysis tools. Oracle E-Business Suite financials and ERP shops should give preference to the CRM product to leverage the built-in integration and infrastructure.

  • Need comprehensive multinational functionality. Oracle is a good choice for enterprise accounts, whether multinational or single country in scope, including government organizations. The E-Business Suite CRM software has a broad footprint and scales well for high-volume CRM processes. Overall complexity, cost and the lack of a Software as a Service (SaaS) play, however, limit Oracle's E-Business CRM's suitability for companies with fewer than 1,000 employees.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM is best suited for organizations committed to its platform.

Microsoft has more than 7,500 customers worldwide spanning a variety of firm sizes and industries. The vendor goes to market through a combination of direct sales and a vast partner network focused on small and midsized businesses (SMBs) or specific industries. It is gaining acceptance by enterprise-class organizations as well.

Microsoft provides easy-to-use CRM built on a strong architecture that facilitates integration with existing IT systems. The product has well-rounded CRM functionality that can be adapted to fit a range of industry needs. Microsoft sells its CRM software as an on-premise offering and relies on partners to provide hosted versions; in mid-2007, the vendor plans to release a multi-tenant SaaS version.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM is a good fit for buyers who want:

  • Basic CRM functionality that is in line with a Microsoft platform strategy. The product provides fundamental capabilities in sales, customer service and field service but falls short -- relative to most enterprise-class solutions -- in most other areas. Still, enterprise buyers who have made a commitment to a Microsoft infrastructure to lower their total cost of ownership (TCO) in buying and managing business technologies should put Microsoft CRM on their short list.

  • An Outlook-like experience that reduces the learning curve. Microsoft has a major usability advantage in owning the most popular email client in the world. By creating a similar user interface for Microsoft Dynamics CRM, the vendor makes it intuitive for sales representatives to navigate the system and add, delete or update records. Additionally, the product can be built into Microsoft Office products, allowing users to access CRM functionality from Outlook, Word or Excel.

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