Talk about serendipity … ya, i have been using this word more often ever since i figured out what it means … over at linkedin, a friend had joined a group, and i came to know about this from my homepage, and went and joined the group. The day after joining, someone posted an interesting link about the SAP vs Oracle wars. Shows something of the role communities can play in the free flow of knowledge, whether within or outside the organization.

But no, i am not writing about this. This post is about this article about the Oracle vs. SAP smackdown … the gorillas of the enterprise apps market. Of course, knowing that i worked for quite some time (major part of my career) at Oracle, you can guess who i am rooting for. But, having said that, this is ot about who i am rooting for, but rather, what is being written by analysts. And it seems to be good news for Oracle over SAP. They are positioned much better off with respect to their vision in the enterprise apps space. Interesting … for a long time (read at least the last couple of years), people have been trying to figure out what Oracle was thinking, acquiring over some of the enterprise apps heavyweights. In fact, at one point, folks has lost track of how many products Oracle had taken over. And i am talking about Oracle guys here.

But, it looks like they had a picture in mind, about where they see the apps headed. And, a good reason to take over PeopleSoft, Siebel, and a whole host of others … Now, i am not clued into the details of this vision, but from what i read, there seems to be a coherent strategy in place, and its been in place even when people were wondering what Oracle was thinking.

Having said this, what is more important, when it comes to Oracle, is execution. This has not necessarily been their strong point. A lot of customers still have memories of what was called the “red bell of death”, when you would see a red bell, and your browser would shut down. Things were better with R 12, but Oracle needs to make sure they can get large parts of Fusion right first up. Along with, of course, the migration path, but that is something which they would have already thought of, and been able to manage.

What are worth reading are also the comments from some of the readers. More so because they are a mixed bag. In fact, one comment reminded me about something which, i believe, was said of IBM:

Nobody lost his job for buying IBM.

Seems like a similar thought process running in favour of SAP?

Enterprise Apps Weds Web 2.0 …

Oracle has announced its new product … Social CRM. When i read this, my first reaction was … maybe this is just something about marketing. You know, how a lot of vendors are putting the magic 2 after their product names, and believe that they have come up with a market-capturing product.

And then, i read the details. And, they are quite interesting. As of now, there are three modules which they are launching (are there going to be more?) … Oracle Sales Prospector, Oracle Sales Campaigns, and Oracle Sales Library.

Oracle Sales Prospector seems to be a tool which is combining some of the business intelligence aspects of enterprise applications, and building in the collaboration aspect to provide a solution, which seems to be quite an interesting one. However, i would have liked to see more of the social networking aspects (or maybe they are there, but i am missing something). There seems to be some amount of networking here, but there could have been more. This reminded me of a demo i had seen some time back, of Lotus Connections, and  it would be quite interesting to see some of those capabilities integrated with this application.

Oracle Sales Campaigns is the application which i havent been able to understand much, so i guess i will wait for more material to be available, before writing about it.

Oracle Sales Library seems to be the new-look content system, which can be used to manage collateral, along with some of the collaborative aspects like tagging, reviews, etc. This seems to be an interesting application, because this seems to be able to enable sales people to leverage the inputs of others on collateral which they are going to use when trying to close a deal. This could be used well with the Oracle Sales Campaign, and  the Oracle Sales Prospector applications.

Taking this one step further, it would be useful to have recommendations from Oracle Sales Library in the Oracle Sales Prospector application, as well as integration with Oracle Sales Campaigns, to enable sales people to pull out content from either application, based on their requirements, and to review comments, tags, ratings, and more importantly, it would be nice to see a recommendation engine, which could use tags to recommend content to users.

I guess having been a Consultant, its a natural instinct to go into solution mode … but then, these are solutions, arent they? So, heres to the wedding … when’s the reception?

Business Relationships …

Something i have been meaning to write about for some time now … First, let me get this straight … I am not trying to sell any product. Having said that, i do have a close relationship with Oracle, given that i have spent most of my working life there.

One of the najor aspects of the workspace that we are focussing today is relationships. Interestingly, Oracle came up with an interesting idea quite some time back … only thing, i dont see them talking about it the way they could have had. They have a rather interesting tool … The Trading Community Architecture. From what i know about the tool, the idea is to be able to capture the eco-system of the organization … including customers, partners, employees …

Though, thats not the main aspect that i am writing about here. The thing which impresses, looking back, is the way the tool addresses relationships. There is a neat way to define relationships between customers, partners, vendors, etc., not just in terms of organizational relationships, but in terms of relationships between people, too. And this is the impressive part … the way the tool recognizes the value that can be derived from these relationships. So, for example, if Ms. X is working for Customer A, and Mr. Y is working for Customer B, and they happen to be husband and wife, then the value to be derived from this relationship can also be captured in this paradigm. Another source for identifying and leveraging relationships for the organization. Though of course not something which is comparable to a facebook (definitely not), it is the way the paradigm of the relationship is recognized here, which is impressive.