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Oracle details integration with RightNow

Mark Fontecchio

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“Customer experience” was the buzzword for Oracle this week as it sought to explain how its acquisition of RightNow Technologies would fit into its existing customer relationship management (CRM) and cloud computing technologies.

Oracle announced its $1.5 billion acquisition of the Bozeman, Mont.-based CRM company back in October, surprising many end users and analysts in the industry. In the past week, Oracle has finalized the acquisition and held a webcast to explain how Oracle and RightNow technologies are more complementary than antagonistic.

Executives from both companies explained how Oracle’s FatWire technology could help companies reach customers as they’re initially looking to buy. Then Oracle’s Siebel and Social Network products could work the marketing side. ATG Commerce could help with e-commerce, and RightNow could enhance the customer service side.

Ray Wang, CEO of Constellation Research, said the acquisition has three major parts: improving Oracle’s overall customer experience management technology, and pushing CRM into the cloud, and pushing into the small-to-medium (SMB) market.

He said the RightNow acquisition is like a poke in Salesforce.com’s side when it comes to customer service. Customer service “isn’t the strongest suit for Oracle,” Wang said. The web and social customer experience products from RightNow will work together with Oracle’s own contact center technology, he said.

That “customer experience” phrase is one that Oracle and RightNow executives touched on repeatedly during their webcast this week. RightNow CEO Greg Gianforte spouted several customer experience-related statistics from a recent survey – stats like how 86% of consumers stopped doing business with an organization after one bad experience, and how 79% of complaints on social media channels are ignored.

Thomas Kurian, Oracle senior vice president, said that the RightNow acquisition means that Oracle has “unmatched” capabilities with its customer experience products, all of which can be delivered across various communications channels – social, mobile, at point-of-sale, and so on.

Wang also said a big part of the acquisition was Oracle’s push into the cloud – another shot across the bow of a competitor like Salesforce.com. Generally speaking, however, Wang isn’t impressed with Oracle’s cloud, saying it isn’t true multi-tenancy.

“They’re not looking at delivering the cloud in the same way as most people think of the cloud,” he said.

At the same time, Wang said that RightNow brings with it more than 2,000 customers in the software-as-a-service (SaaS) space. As such, Wang said that Oracle likely sees RightNow as an “anchor” in its public cloud strategy.

Overall, Wang said he thought the acquisition has gone well considering the size of the two companies.

“These aren’t easy to do,” he said. “If you talk about investment in R&D, I would give them an A. With the actual integrations it’s a B+. It’s pretty good.”


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