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Oracle Adds Call Center, Marketing to CRM as Salesforce Rivalry Heats Up

By Vangie Beal     Feedback

Oracle's latest cloud CRM release comes amid controversy with rival Salesforce.com.

Oracle (NASDAQ: ORCL) has unveiled new call center and marketing features for its cloud CRM service – just as the company's rivalry with Salesforce.com (NYSE: CRM) heats up.

The release of Innovation Pack for Oracle CRM On Demand Release 19 came on the same day that Oracle moved Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff's keynote from Wednesday morning to what would likely be a less-attended Thursday morning slot. Benioff said Oracle's move was the equivalent of a cancelation, and he planned to appear at a nearby hotel on Wednesday instead.

Oracle told the New York Times that the move was due to session changes because of "overwhelming attendance," but some suggested that the move could be in retaliation for Benioff retweeting negative comments about Oracle CEO Larry Ellison's Sunday keynote on his Twitter account.

Oracle said its latest CRM On Demand release gives customers marketing and call center features without having to rely on outside partners or other providers.

"The release of Oracle CRM On Demand Release 19 Innovation Pack with Hosted Contact Center and Oracle CRM On Demand Marketing Release 5.4 heralds a new opportunity for organizations to reduce the cost and dependency on outside partners for individual features and services," Anthony Lye, senior vice president of Oracle CRM, said in a statement. "Oracle CRM On Demand Release 19 is yet another example of how Oracle executes on our vision to innovate and improve organization-wide business value with lowest total cost of ownership."

With the new Hosted Contact Center, existing hosted voice, voicemail, email and customizable IVR and ACD capabilities are augmented with chat, co-browsing, response libraries, multi-party conferencing, suggested email responses and a pre-built integration interface for third-party telephone hardware and software companies, said Oracle.

In the CRM On Demand Release 19 Innovation Pack, Oracle has included Marketing Release 5.4, which the company said simplifies the marketing process by allowing marketing professionals to build and manage campaigns, websites and other customer-facing documents.

Oracle CRM On Demand Marketing Release 5.4 offers improved list management that creates specific segments to target the right content to the right customer, as well as new role management capabilities that allow marketers to tailor Oracle CRM On Demand to unique business processes and to market individually to each user.

New deployment options in Oracle CRM On Demand Marketing Release 5.4 lets companies implement department-level or global instances, creating the opportunity to expand usage over time while minimizing costs, said Oracle.

At this week's OpenWorld San Francisco, Oracle's big focus has been on accelerating applications with its new Exalytics and Big Data in-memory analytics and business intelligence appliances.

Enterprise Apps Today Editor Paul Shread contributed to this report.

This article was originally published on October 5, 2011
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