Eye on Oracle

Feb 15 2012   7:11PM GMT

RightNow- Oracle’s foothold in CEM

Lena Weiner Lena Weiner Profile: Lena Weiner

Last October, Oracle acquired RightNow for $1.5 billion. At the time, the move was rather unexpected on Oracle’s part, and left many industry insiders scratching their heads.

Now that the dust is settling, however, the strategy and intentions behind the RightNow acquisition are finally coming into focus.

Customer service has historically been a weak point for Oracle. “Customer service isn’t the strongest suit for Oracle,” said Ray Wang, CEO of Constellation Research.

Oracle does have strong call center technology in Oracle Contact On Demand, however. Was the intent behind this merger providing Oracle with the cloud framework it needed to challenge long-time rival Salesforce.com in the areas of customer experience management and multi-tenancy? Is Oracle looking to compete with other firms in the realm of customer experience

RightNow is known for providing customer-centric service, including utilizing social networking, live chat service and guided assistance. In the last few years, Oracle has purchased multiple firms for the sole purpose of gaining the rights to that organization’s particular product. For example, in June of last year, they purchased FatWire for access to their content management systems; Pillar Data Systems in order to have a strong storage foundation that July; and Datanomic that same month in order to have a base in data quality. RightNow fits right in as a part of their pattern of purchasing an entire firm in order to move into a market or compete in a new area.

Does Larry Ellison see RightNow as the key to doing battle with Salesforce?

Almost certainly. Forrester analyst Dianne Clarkson was quoted as saying, “RightNow has a lot to offer Oracle. Along with salesforce.com, we called out RightNow as a SaaS solution that was faster to deploy and easier to change than traditional on-premise offerings. RightNow is well positioned to give Oracle a customer service offering for the mid-market.”

It will be interesting to watch how this situation continues to unfold. Stay tuned…

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