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Oracle CRM product preview: very "Apple iPod Cover Flow-esque"

Anthony Lye, SVP of Oracle CRM On Demand, gave a preview at this week’s SIIA conference of the Oracle CRM announcements planned for next week’s Oracle OpenWorld in San Francisco. Clearly a shot across the bow at all CRMs, including Microsoft CRM, Oracle has taken a page of our several other vendor playbooks. Claiming that CRMs reduce the productivity of sales people rather than increase it, Oracle CRM On Demand operates the way a sales person works, creating mini-sales campaigns independent of marketing, and incorporates Web 2.0 and social networking information. Oracle’s CRM On Demand sits on top of other CRM products, including Salesforce.com, Microsoft and Seibel, rather than replace them. Oracle clearly doesn’t want to cannibalize their existing CRM business, but make it tougher for others to play by adding layered functionality on top of CRM. The Oracle CRM On Demand is very Apple iPod Cover Flow-esque in presenting files and presentations like a visual roladex. Oracle is using Agile development teams of seven developers or less to “sprint” and create mini-releases of the product. More revolutionary, Oracle hinted at using Google-like tactics of keeping the CRM in beta for “extended periods”, releasing new updates when ready rather than on a fixed schedule, and letting users vote on the value of new features by their downloads and use. Oracle wouldn’t gives specifics, but when asked whether it would be free or paid for, the coy answer of “both” was given. Whether successful or not, Oracle is showing that it is trying to take advantage of social networking and user centered design practices. Conference goers groaned at Microsoft’s history of non-customer friendly practices. Anthony Lye clearly had a cold shoulder, big software vendor presentation style, but he got very high marks from the audience about the cool factor of the new Oracle CRM On Demand interface. This post was submitted by Microsoft Subnet's newest blogger, Mitchell Ashley, CEO of Converging Network, LLC. He is blogging on assignment for Microsoft Subnet from the Software & Information Industry Association conference in San Jose this week. Next week, watch for his Microsoft Subnet blog at http://www.networkworld.com/community/ashley. You can also catch up with him at his other blog, The Converging Network, and listen to his popular podcasts

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