Winning the War on Marketing

Oracle launches CRM 90-day implementation campaign

Redwood Shores, CA  April 25, 2001  Oracle's making headlines again. This time, it¹s for the company's new CRM marketing initiative, a new offering that falls under the umbrella of Larry Ellison's new "Winning the War on Complexity" campaign.

In an effort to increase CRM sales, (and recognize that CEOs are no longer jumping at the chance to shell out $1 million for software), Oracle has announced that it can guarantee implementation of its Global Customer Relationship Management application in 90 days or less. The 90-day offering is delivered using Oracle Consulting or their implementation partner, the FastFoward Flows methodology, for a fixed price ranging from $150,000 to $395,000.

The offering sounds great, and is definitely a smart move for Oracle in a tight economy. Nevertheless, I'm wary. Maybe it's the phrase "Winning the War on Complexity. Or maybe it's the heading on their Web site that reads "Spotlight: Why Oracle is Right". Whatever the reason, one is compelled to read the fine print when dealing with Oracle. I did just that, and this what I found.

First off, Oracle's 90-day implementation offering comes complete with a list of "details, limitations and restrictions" that might take 90 days just to finish reading. (Actually, it's not THAT long. The complete list, which appears on Oracle's Web site, is included below.) But here are a few highlights you might want to note. "The CRM applications must be installed on select computer hardware & the CRM applications may only be installed on certain HP and Sun systems." "No data conversion is included as a part of the offering." And, also appearing in the not included fine print are "no integration" and "no customization."

I also took some time to read the executive overview of the "Winning the War on Complexity" white paper, the basis for Oracle's new marketing campaign. I found that a company can win the war on complexity, and the answer is to let Oracle handle everything. Simple, huh? Here¹s my favorite part: "Oracle has built an integrated suite of business applications designed to work together. e-Business efficiency is derived from seamlessly linking parts of an organization. But we've taken this one step further. Our applications are standardized to eliminate the need for integration, customization and upgrades." The who needs integration; we have it all approach is reminiscent of Ellison's AppsWorld speech in January.

The bottom line is: Oracle might be trying to win the war on complexity the same way Microsoft did, if you know what I mean.

Details, Limitations and Conditions to Oracle's 90-day implementation offer:
1. Implementation and test instances of the CRM applications are hosted on Oracle¹s environment. At a pre-determined time in the project plan, the implementation and test instances are migrated either to customers' environment or Oracle¹s application hosting service environment.
2. Installation at customer's environment is limited to one site and one node/one computer.
3. The CRM applications must be installed on a new instance of the Oracle Database.
4. The CRM applications must be installed on select computer hardware and hardware sizing is customer¹s responsibility. Presently, the CRM applications may only be installed on certain HP and Sun systems.
5. The CRM applications are U.S. English only. (It may be possible to convert the CRM applications to other languages after completion of the project, but any such effort is outside the scope of this offering.)
6. NO DATA CONVERSION is included as part of the offering. If customer chooses for Oracle to provide data conversion assistance, the following constraints are in place:
a. The different data types that are to be converted are strictly defined.
b. The amount of data for each data type to be converted is restricted.
c. Customer must move data into a specifically defined format.
d. Customer is responsible for quality and integrity of the data.
e. Customer is responsible for meeting specific deadlines for data conversion.
f. No conversion of historical transaction data is included as part of the offering.
7. NO INTEGRATION with existing legacy systems is included as part of the offering.
8. NO CUSTOMIZATION of the CRM applications is included as part of the offering.
9. Only a limited number of changes to set-ups and configurations are included as part of the offering.
10. Additional conditions and limitations may apply.