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Oracle: Around the CRM world in 90 days

For many companies, implementing CRM software can mean: spending a lot of money, waiting for months on end and possibly watching the project fall flat. Oracle Corp. is offering an alternative to the long, costly implementation process. Its new campaign carries a guarantee of "Global CRM in 90 Days."

"Simplicity used to be for the small guys," said Jeremy Burton, senior vice president at Oracle Marketing. "Now, it's for big companies as well."

There are two ways to get software packages up and running, according to Burton. The first way is to purchase the software and modify it to fit the business, he said. The other option is to take the software and simplify the business around it, such as expense reporting and marketing campaign planning, Burton added.

The 90-day implementation offers configuration, but customers can't modify the software, Burton said. The goal of the 90-day implementation is to achieve 80% of what the business is looking for in its CRM, then to springboard from there and add functionality, he added.

The Global CRM in 90 Days installation allows for global sales forecasting, which is often impossible in many organizations, Burton said. The CRM software flows cover 15 to 25 modules in the Oracle e-business suite, is multi-channel, and covers all lines of a business, including sales, marketing and service, he said.

A flow covers all of the disciplines within CRM, including availability checks, supply chain and order management, as the information is needed, according to Burton.

"What businesses want are... best of breed processes," Burton said. Best of breed processes, as opposed to best of breed software modules, are efficient and save money because all the software the company needs is included in a larger software suite, he said.

Oracle attributes the rapid implementation time to the use of the Internet and a hosted implementation, according to Burton.

"CRM is like the Wild West," Burton said. "It's a unique model for implementation."

Oracle is calling the method of delivery "FastForward Flows," according to Valerie Borthwick, senior vice president at Oracle Consulting Services.

The implementation starts on Day One, when the customer orders the software and receives a URL to access the project workspace online, Borthwick said. This allows the customer to view a demonstration of the end-to-end process they have bought, and Oracle starts mapping the processes to better meet the customer's needs, she said.

Next, the customer joins a conference room pilot and Oracle works with the client to add data and define what is unique to that company's environment, Borthwick said. Oracle also trains the trainer with in the organization and tests the process end to end around the client's environment, she said. Concurrently, the customer is identifying data that needs to be converted into the system, she added.

As the customer converts more data, Oracle and the customer go into another conference room pilot and test the data through the end-to-end process, Borthwick said. On day 50 or 60, "we think about moving what we have hosted... to their site," she said. The CRM software is taken live in 90 days, she added.

"At the end of (the implementation), we either move the software to the client's site, in-house, or host it on Oracle.com or a third-party hosting provider," Borthwick said. Ninety days for the implementation is the high end, while some are anywhere from 45 to 60 days, she said.

With the simplicity of the software implementation, IT personnel are freed to work on other projects instead of installing the CRM software, according to Burton. "You can have IT work on something that will differentiate your business," he said.

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