Back in February, we posted a blog on Fusion CRM where we highlighted some of the key features of Fusion CRM. In the meantime Oracle announced general availability of the Oracle Public Cloud in June. Now that we have configured our first environment we would like to share our initial thoughts.
With a lead-time of around 6 years, and a multi-billion investment by Oracle, Fusion Applications must be the most eagerly anticipated product suite in history. After many sneak peeks, PowerPoint slides, screenshots and lots of rumors, Capgemini has obtained a Fusion CRM Software as a Service (SaaS) environment. Our first hands on experience started with a steep learning curve, as the setup is completely different from the existing SaaS CRM offerings. The setup is done in the Functional Setup Manager and is fully task driven. Out of the box it is not immediately clear which of the numerous setup tasks have to be completed to get the application configured to a level where it is ready for go-live. Initial thoughts during the setup of the Fusion CRM SaaS environment are that this process needs some more guidance and written instructions. At this point the setup process is not yet in the spirit of SaaS, where most configuration tasks are done with clicks. Only once the application is sufficiently configured, you start to see its potential.
Fusion CRM shows a huge potential
Fusion CRM in its current version 1 (v1) release has a huge potential to become the most wanted CRM platform for Enterprises. It is built on a solid architecture and really overcomes many limitations of its predecessors, like the lack of sandboxes . Features like Sales Predictor will help your sales force to be more productive. Based on a predictive model, the application helps to identify hot leads and assigns them to Sales Reps. Many built-in features, like Sales Campaigns help to close the gap between Marketing and Sales. This will eliminate the debates between Marketing and Sales on lead quality. In Fusion CRM, Sales Reps can create professional mailings with a few clicks. Sales is in control of the relation with their customers while Marketing keeps control over the branding of the marketing messages.
New concepts, like Territory Management, where a territory can be formed based on 11 dimensions like geography, product and industry is really powerful. Especially since you can model a new territory on the fly in your production environment and for instance immediately see the impact when a Sales Rep leaves the company on the distribution of opportunities. With a couple of clicks, a Sales Manager can make modifications to the territory distribution rules, so that the Sales Reps are evenly balanced over the territories.
That said, after working with the application for some time, it does become clear that we are working with an initial release version. Not all functionality is implemented at this moment. The Business Process Composer is one of the four application composers used to configure the application and is not yet available. It will be made available over the next few months, allowing the modeling of business processes in a graphical editor. This is one of the powerful features of Fusion Applications and we are looking forward to reviewing this.
Performance is a big deal for Oracle. Weekly patches are –unnoticeably for the end customer– rolled out to improve performance based on input from customers. Even with all the testing performed by Oracle, practice always provides valuable input to the product development team. This team, with whom we are in direct contact, shows an immense dedication to tackle issues, develop patches and have them rolled out at a speed not seen before at Oracle. Patches can be rolled out in weeks, with a major functional release planned each quarter. The roadmap is packed with interesting and exciting features and makes you accept some of the minor issues we are confronted with in the current release.
Best of suite
SaaS CRM applications have pioneered and proven the SaaS business model. However, nowadays CRM is more than just capturing customer contact moments. Therefore in our projects we usually see requirements for many integration points with existing (on premise or SaaS) HCM, SCM and Finance applications. With Fusion Applications, Oracle took a different approach by making CRM an integral part of the Fusion product family. As a result you get a “Best of Suite”. All products combined provide the customer with the best suite of software products available in the market. Advantages of this approach are, among many, a single truth and growth at your own pace. The single truth means a customer is only entered once and used throughout Fusion Applications, whether it is HCM, SCM or any other Fusion Application. Grow at your own pace, adding functionality such as Business Intelligence or Real Time Decisioning features is like clicking Lego together.
What you get is what you need
Oracle took a fundamental different approach when designing Fusion CRM. They asked themselves the question how they would design a system from scratch, not being limited by what’s currently available, and actually did that. Typically, CRM systems tend to show you a whole lot of information on the screen, which has a negative impact on the user experience. With Fusion CRM “What you get is what you need”, meaning that the information that is relevant to carry out your day-to-day tasks is “pushed” to you. As a Sales Rep, you know what is going on at a customer through the social network. Imagine the reduction in e-mail messages when you get this information you need to know on your screen, without having to search or ask a colleague. The overall user experience is dramatically improved with embedded, real-time Business Intelligence. A typical task starts with an analysis of a report, where you can navigate to a record in CRM, create a task, send an e-mail and so on.
Although Fusion CRM is not (yet) positioned to replace all existing Siebel functionality, the open character of the Fusion Platform allows partners like Capgemini to build additional applications to expand functionality. An example of this is the Service Request module we have created, which supports default functionality in this area.
Fusion CRM is suitable for customers in many industries as it is provides many possibilities to extend the available functionality. However, it is not the package of choice for all customers. Case management for instance is typically a process where Siebel CRM would be the preferred application. If you are in a situation where you would like to evaluate the possibilities for Fusion Applications in your organization, we invite you to contact us.
The wait is over, the next generation CRM is now available in the cloud. At Capgemini, a dedicated team is more than happy to discuss the business benefits Fusion Applications or Fusion CRM bring to the table.