Oracle Revises Social Offerings - InformationWeek

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Oracle Revises Social Offerings

Oracle SRM encourages customers to take platform, rather than point solution, approach to social relationship management.

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Many organizations have moved from the question of, "Should we incorporate social into our business practices?" to "How do we incorporate social into our business practices?" But now they are faced with another, age-old IT question: point solutions or platform? With its Social Relationship Management platform, Oracle is suggesting that the latter is the way to go.

Oracle, like Salesforce and SAP, has made a number of social technology-focused acquisitions in the last year or two. In Oracle's case, these acquisitions have been aligned with the company's existing enterprise apps. Oracle's social relationship management platform, or SRM, is the result.

"We've heard from our customers how important it is now to have end-to-end solutions," Erika Brookes, Oracle's VP of product management for the social platform, said during an interview with InformationWeek. "We've heard that point solutions are too siloed or stove-piped."

[ Sometimes the tightest relationships are not the most powerful. Read Why Your 'Weak' Relationships Pack Strength. ]

It's not surprising that Oracle would take this tack, but as social becomes more tightly woven into an increasing number of business functions, it can be difficult for IT and business managers to determine what they need to move forward, let alone what's the best choice from among the different offerings available.

Oracle SRM, part of the Oracle Social Relationship Management Suite, unifies social marketing and social engagement and monitoring capabilities. Oracle says the product is designed to "create a seamless transition between listening and content creation, to moderation and analysis of a company's social media efforts."

Oracle SRM integrates existing Oracle products with Vitrue, Collective Intellect and Involver platforms. This integration provides companies with the ability to perform social marketing, engagement and monitoring tasks, as well as analyze data and use that data to develop content and make informed decisions.

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This kind of integration is especially useful, said Brookes, as social expands from the marketing department. "Once again, marketers led the way into social, and it was very focused on building audience at first," she said. "Now we're really shifting, and we're seeing that customers are saying, 'Now that I've got an audience, how do I take all of these likes and turn them into loves?'"

Part of the challenge, Brookes added, is making sure that all of the data generated from customer interactions is routed to and among the right people at the company -- from marketing to sales to service, and so on -- and ensuring that the process is carefully managed.

SRM's enhanced workflow and automation capabilities help users track and manage required actions, collaborate with co-workers and schedule content across channels.

"The enhanced user integrated experience is the overarching story, and the big thing there is you have a single sign-on now to reach your listening product and your engagement product at the same time," said Brookes. "That's really powerful. We've added workflow permissions, so now a team can make decisions around, say, 'You have permission to create a post, but I need to approve it before it goes out.' Or it might even be something like, 'You've got approval to monitor, but someone else will have permissions for things like moderation.' As social has expanded to multiple teams and multiple people, there has become an increased need for visibility into who's doing what."

The platform offers improved listening and analytics capabilities -- Brookes said it will be easier, for example, to discern between mentions of a common noun and mentions of that noun when it's used as a company name -- as well as integrated analytics and listening features that enable organizations to more accurately determine consumers' intentions and interests.

Oracle SRM offers out-of-the-box integration with Oracle applications including Oracle Eloqua, Oracle RightNow Cloud Service, Oracle Fusion CRM and Oracle CRM. In addition, Oracle SRM expands support to 29 languages.

Follow Deb Donston-Miller on Twitter at @debdonston.

Companies must build more social networking bridges to customers, suppliers and partners -- not just among internal users. Also in the new, all-digital Get (Truly) Social issue of InformationWeek: Instead of worrying about overseas hackers, worry about the sorry state of your information security defenses. (Free with registration.)

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User Rank: Apprentice
3/13/2013 | 2:51:48 AM
re: Oracle Revises Social Offerings
The workflow within social tool is a major step forward. Like BYOD and Cloud, Social conversations need to be monitored and controlled for ensuring enterprise level security, privacy and reliability.
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