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Oracle CX Summit Delivers the Full Stack Narrative Driving CX
by Daniel Newman | November 9, 2020

The News: This week Oracle hosted its online Oracle Cloud CX Virtual Summit where the company provided a series of updates and announcements around its Cloud CX business including an introductory session with CEO, Larry Ellison. Oracle’s Cloud CX Summit News can be found in the company’s newsroom.

Analyst Take: Today’s event delivered a confident Oracle that saw CEO Larry Ellison and EVP Rob Tarkoff engage a remote audience on the advances being made by Oracle to horizontally expand the offering and also the technology verticalization that includes both the cloud stack, which is much improved in its Gen2 iteration and the industry approach that Oracle is moving toward in its Cloud CX business. 

As always, Ellison came out with a bit of punchiness toward his favorite competitor, Salesforce touting the completeness of the Oracle solution and the growing complexity of the “Born on Software” competitor. This is something I have been focused on for a while–Salesforce’s need to clarify its journey after straying from its pure software identify and move to a hybrid architecture (like most enterprise software companies have)

This year’s Cloud CX event focused on innovations to improve selling and buying signals leveraging a full-stack CX platform’s power. 

The Big Announcements at Oracle Cloud CX Summit

The company’s announcements were broken into two buckets that both really looked at the virtual CX. The first was virtual selling, and the second was Virtual Buying. 

To drive better Virtual Selling results, the company dialed in on Predictive Lead Scoring, New User Experience, Streamlined Sales Processes with Microsoft Teams, ad finally Advanced Sales Forecasting. 

I saw all of these as evolutionary improvements, with the most novel being the predictive lead scoring driven by artificial intelligence. I also liked seeing the deeper integration with Microsoft Teams. As Teams now has more than 115 million DAU’s, I think these integrations are important. It’s also nice to see these two competitors working together. These types of collaborations have been increasingly successful–much like the C3.ai, Adobe, and Microsoft partnership I noted last week. 

The other announcements moved the focus from selling to buying, advancing Oracle’s Customer Data Platform, and delivering improved experiences for buyers utilizing systems powered by Oracle. 

This included new customer intelligence capabilities, updates to configuration management capabilities, new subscription management capabilities, and new commerce and content capabilities. 

For me, the standout announcement was the customer intelligence improvements that focused on the integration of CX Commerce with Oracle’s CDP, aka Unity. The need to streamline the vast data environments well beyond structured data that lives within the customer data environment is paramount to delivering digital platforms and modern CX promise. Also, CDP’s are rising and creating a new set of CRM and SFA competitors such as Treasure Data, Segment, ActionIQ, and others born outside of traditional enterprise software stacks. 

Oracle’s addressing the CDP and leveraging its broader CX and enterprise software capabilities will be important as the CDP scales, and headless variants continue to play the role of disruptor. 

Oracle Goes Vertical in the Communications Space 

Oracle also just announced its Oracle Digital Experience for Communications offering, a suite of industry-specific applications that capture and analyze customer-interaction data from front and back-office operations, enabling service providers better to understand its customers’ unique buying behaviors and preferences. With this, providers can efficiently develop and launch compelling new offers and products, provide improved service, and increase revenue generation.

The new ‘Digital Experience for Communications Platform’ supports the TM Forum’s Open Digital Architecture and Open APIs; service providers should be able to quickly integrate existing applications with the solution to provide a consistent and accurate view of customer and billing data. This is important as these standards simplify integration by embracing technology purpose-built industry’s unique workflows.

As Ellison alluded to today, there will be a greater focus on verticals, and this solution is a good example. Service providers can take advantage of this vertical solution to best utilize data and tools to optimize offers, sell across channels, monetize services, and deliver proactive care. Digital Experience for Communications also offers communications charging, operations support, and billing and revenue management.

I see this as a step toward more vertical offerings from Oracle. The company already has a strong Retail focus, but this should spill over to financial services, manufacturing, automotive, and more. With strong domain knowledge in house, this should be something we see sooner rather than later.

Overall Impressions of Oracle Cloud CX and its Strategy Going Forward 

The enterprise SaaS market is large and diverse, so despite occasional claims from vendors, there isn’t a true “dominant” player. However, what has become apparent to me is that Oracle is expanding its influence through stronger offerings making it more essential as both an infrastructure and an application provider. From its continuous improvement and developments yielding quarterly updates to its apps to its full-stack approach that includes a wide suite of software all run on its own infrastructure, the story for Oracle CX and Oracle as a whole continues to gain momentum.

It will be interesting to watch the market continue to shift and expand. With Oracle’s rapid growth in apps and improving the full-stack approach, I see the company putting continued pressure on the biggest players in this crowded space, perhaps most notably Salesforce. Time will tell the full story, but I feel we have a much more complete competitor in Oracle, and this should bode well for the company over time.

Futurum Research provides industry research and analysis. These columns are for educational purposes only and should not be considered in any way investment advice.

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Image: Oracle
Daniel Newman