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October 29, 1997updated 03 Sep 2016 7:15pm

ORACLE STEPS UP SFA MOMENTUM

By CBR Staff Writer

Oracle Corp claims to have around 80 customers for its Sales and Marketing software, which includes sales force automation (SFA) and technology enabled selling modules that are available as part of its Applications 10.7 release. There are further modules expected over the next few months; a mobile Windows client and a web client are reportedly due by year-end. The software does forecasting, compensation, territory management, includes a marketing encyclopedia and works with Oracle’s financial applications and workflow engine. Most commentators think the SFA market is hot, because it’s a natural extension to the burgeoning enterprise resource planning industry, in which SAP, Baan, PeopleSoft and Oracle are the main players. Smith Barney’s Andrew Roskill thinks it’s all very logical. Think about it this way: ERP first just handled inventory, then they added available-to- promise, then it moved towards custom configurations (configure- to-order) and order management (tracking order status, etc.) Virtually every ERP vendor already offered some configuration management application, and now we are seeing the full scale convergence of ERP and SFA. ERP house Baan Co NV bought in SFA via Aurum and configuration management company Antalsys. PeopleSoft Inc’s partnered with Vantive Corp. SAP has some configuration management capability already and is expected to announce SFA capabilities over the next few months.

Big hit

Configuration management is playing an increasingly important role as ERP system get more complex and offer increased functionality. The future options for pure configuration management companies appear to be adding more SFA functionality or getting acquired, which is exactly what happened to Mankato, Minnesota-based technology-enable selling Clear With Computers Inc which former SAP America (and One Wave) boss Klaus Besier took the helm of back in June and sold to help desk company Scopus Technology Inc in a $90m share swap last week. Scopus, whose second quarter revenue came in ahead 48% at $20m (CI No 3,275), will take a big hit for the purchase, but has get itself additional management and SFA products to compete with Clarify Inc, Vantive Corp and others. Configuration management company Trilogy Development Group Inc in Austin, Texas says it will continue to add front-office products that will make it increasingly attractive to back-end ERP vendors, but claims it wants to remain privately held for the time being. Waiting for the right price perhaps. There may be opportunities for it to create so-called opportunity management products (lead-tracking, commission structure and management), but it regards Java Fund- backed Calico Technology Inc and IMI as its chief rivals, claiming to have synergy with the likes of help desk and SFA concerns Scopus and Siebel Systems even if they wouldn’t agree with that analysis.

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