Oracle goes upmarket with new on-demand CRM apps

Company is hoping that enterprise-class modules distinguish it from competitors, analyst says

Oracle on Wednesday announced a number of new on-demand CRM modules, adding capabilities clearly aimed at large enterprises.

The applications include self-service e-billing, deal management, enterprise disaster recovery, an integration with JD Edwards EnterpriseOne, and a product called Sales Library, which collects a company's sales-related material and allows representatives to quickly pull together presentations.

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Oracle had said the new products were in the pipeline when it initially announced CRM On Demand Release 16 on Jan. 27, but did not name a release date. Other elements of Release 16 include unlimited custom objects and broader language support.

Oracle's strategy as it battles rivals like Salesforce.com is clear and deliberate, according to one industry observer.

"They're definitely trying to use these features to create some separation between themselves and everyone else in the enterprise space," said Denis Pombriant, managing principal of Beagle Research in Stoughton, Mass.

Oracle's CRM portfolio has also become far-reaching, moving from core sales-force automation to add-on applications like Sales Library.

"That's always been an Oracle trait," Pombriant said. "When you get to be a company has big as Oracle with as big a footprint in the marketplace it's really hard to grow by organic growth. You need to leave no stone unturned and capture every bit of revenue."

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