Changing From a CRM Caterpillar to a Customer Experience Butterfly

“Thank you for the opportunity to vet what CX means to Oracle, our customers, and it’s relation to CRM.” That’s the first sentence of David Vap’s guest column at ZDNet. He’s a group vice president for Oracle Applications who responded to CRM thought leader Paul Greenberg’s challenge to technology vendors to defend their claims of being all about customer experience.

In a recent article, Greenberg questioned how it is that so many vendors could now be focused on customer experience when not so long ago their primary focus was something else. “What are the things that … changed them from a CRM caterpillar to customer experience butterfly? What was it, besides jumping on a trend that made them transform themselves?” He invited a handful of companies to “get their stories straight and their portfolios aligned and present their new features and functions that make them more than what they were months ago.”

Interestingly, Oracle started this exercise with a leg up. Greenberg wrote this as he issued the challenge, “At the moment, what I do see is Oracle has a product portfolio they have aligned around customer experience that includes their CRM products (though I have different concerns about that not part of this) among other things. SAP has a book on the subject.  Beyond that, I just don’t know or perhaps am missing something.”

So how did David Vap respond? As you can imagine, he makes a very compelling case for Oracle being focused on customer experience. He acknowledges that social, mobile, and cloud have greatly impacted the way businesses must serve their empowered customers. But serving up a great customer experience is about far more than implementing new software. It requires “a cultural shift and leadership commitment inside a company.” He says that CX requires a holistic approach to understanding how a customer interacts with a company so that the people, processes, and technology can support the entire lifecycle.

Once the customer journey is defined and a strategy is set, then a company can explore software solutions. “At Oracle we have been busy building a comprehensive portfolio of applications to meet this challenge. In fact, RightNow, which is one of Oracle’s more recent acquisitions, has been a leading proponent of software driving excellent customer experience. Oracle is well known for leadership in the CRM category, which we view as a subset of the CX portfolio. We continue to broaden our portfolio of CX applications to meet market needs across marketing, sales, commerce, and service.”

Vap ends the article with confidence. He says, “Oracle is meeting the customer experience challenge every day, by giving our customers the knowledge, resources, and tools to identify their unique customer experience challenges and by helping to develop strategies to address those pain points. The real challenge for us is, and will remain, in helping our customers to achieve success with theirs.”


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