Oracle unveils CRM applications mimicking social networking sites

Software giant Oracle is putting a social networking twist to its latest customer relationship management (CRM) applications, and is hoping to corner a bigger share of the Philippine CRM market.

The company has recently unveiled the new social CRM applications are aimed at mimicking popular social networking web sites, such as Facebook, Friendster, LinkdIn, among others, and putting these applications into a corporate use.

The company said there is now a trend where social networking, previously confined to mere "sharing" among users, is finding a place for business.

Prasad Rai, senior CRM executive for networking collaboration and mobility at Oracle, the company is seeing "the transformation of "corporate" CRM applications and making these applications function like social networking websites.

The executive said aside from being much cheaper, these "hybrids" are finding their way to smaller firms that tend to shy away from spending too much on their business software needs.

Considering the number of people that are going into social networking, this trend is becoming inevitable, the executive said, adding that these social website are becoming the "spark" for more people to access and use the Internet.

More and more companies are also seeing that potential of combining social networking and CRM, although applications for these requirement are not that many.

In this light, Rai said, Oracle has decided to unveil its Oracle Social Apps, a collection of social CRM applications.

The executive said the new suite allows companies "to solve their CRM needs" by leveraging social networking-like functions built in to software.

One key feature, Rai said, is that the new software allows interaction between users similar to social networking, through "conversations" that are a typical staple of social networking sites.

Rai said this feature is standard to its social CRM applications, which includes the Sales Prospector, Sales Campaigns, and Sales Library.

For instance, an individual can use Oracle’s Sales Prospector application, which can be integrated "tightly" with says, Facebook, allowing the individual access to relevant information regarding potential clients.

Oracle is even taking it a step further, as the social CRM applications can even be integrated as a separate mobile CRM for the iPhone, the executive also said.

Rai said the Sales Prospector is now available in the local market while the two other social CRM applications are set for launch this year.

The executive said the company’s social CRM applications are ideal for companies that are offering primary services including business process outsouring (BPO) market, financial markets, and small-to-medium sized businesses.

Rai said its newest software will be available via software as a service subscription scheme.