Hearty Welcome to Customer Champions & Master Minds
I believe "Successful CRM " is about competing in the relationship dimension. Not as an alternative to having a competitive product or reasonable price- but as a differentiator. If your competitors are doing the same thing you are (as they generally are), product and price won't give you a long-term, sustainable competitive advantage. But if you can get an edge based on how customers feel about your company, it's a much stickier--sustainable--relationship over the long haul.
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Dinesh Chandrasekar - DC*
Saturday, July 16, 2011
Oracle CRM on Demand Integration, the Cloud Connection – Part 2
This is the second part of the article "Oracle CRM on Demand Integration, the Cloud Connection – Part 1"
Standards-Based Foundation for Integration
Companies have made wide ranging investments in their existing application infrastructure and want to preserve these assets while maximizing return on investment. Leveraging industry standards such as Business Process Execution Language (BPEL) and Web services meets this goal by providing a common framework for applications to communicate and coordinate activities across a business process. BPEL enables organizations to not only quickly assemble a set of discrete services into an end-to-end process flow but also to rapidly modify processes as business conditions change.
Oracle takes such an approach to integration by leveraging its Application Integration Architecture (AIA), an open, standards-based platform for managing business processes across Oracle and other packaged and custom applications. AIA leverages open standards and a Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) to deliver industry best practices and operational governance capabilities to help organizations build integrated industry processes, regardless of the applications involved. Using AIA as a framework, organizations can link Oracle CRM On Demand with market leading applications, leveraging a best-in-class technology foundation and industry leading best practices. Built using Oracle Fusion Middleware and BPEL, and based on a common data model, these processes are extensible, repeatable, and sustainable.
The Three Tiers of Integration for a Virtual Application Suite
Organizations want their array of applications to behave as a unified application suite. To achieve this goal requires the ability to fully integrate applications across data, user interface, and business process layers. To integrate at just one of these tiers is limiting – a seamless integration requires a combination of all three.
• Data. The most basic form of integration involves the data layer via Web services, batch integration, and data import and export. More critical information, such as customer and product data, needs to be appropriately synchronized in real-time or accessed regardless of where the data originally resides to ensure that users can access the latest information from any source without fear of duplication. It is critical to have real-time flow for data such as accounts, contacts and products, where information frequently changes. For instance, customer orders can be delayed or even lost if account shipping information in CRM and ERP systems are not kept up-to-date, severely impacting customer satisfaction.
• User Interface. A more highly developed integration involves the user interface layer where advanced integration extensions enable usability features like mashups and web links to embed custom HTML and third party content within the Oracle CRM On Demand user interface. As a result, users can view information from other applications within a single user interface, vastly improving usability and user productivity. Users can interact with content through one application rather than needing to navigate across multiple applications. Because users can access back office information – such as products and quotes – from the front office application, less time needs to be spent training salespeople on multiple applications. And sales users have more information available at the point of interaction with their customers, enabling a better service experience.
• Business Processes. The highest level of integration involves business processes that span across applications. In addition to business process orchestration, business logic, such as data validation rules, need coordination as well to ensure consistency throughout the entire process. Business processes based on BPEL are the key enabler for adopting a Service Oriented Architecture (SOA), enabling steps in a business process to be stitched together across applications to form a complete, end-to-end flow. By leveraging business process integration, Organizations can build processes around the customer that span application boundaries rather than conforming to integration constraints. With business process integration, a complete business flow such as lead conversion can reconcile account information from a lead in a CRM application with similar information in an ERP system, eliminate redundant and duplicate data, and automatically convert the lead to an opportunity. Rather than change the application when business needs change – which can be a lengthy process –organizations can simply alter the business process in real time to adjust to changing dynamics. By effectively mixing and matching these integration tiers, organizations can move beyond just managing application data. Customers can reach a desired business outcome, which minimizes duplication of data, leverages information wherever it is stored, and provides a seamless user experience with no need for the user to be aware of application boundaries. A complete view of the customer, regardless of how the data is stored or dispersed across the enterprise, arms salespeople with the critical information they need – such as quotes, orders, and invoices – via a single point of interaction.
A Blueprint for Integration
One of the benefits of the Process Integration Packs is they provide a blueprint or template for integration, enabling organizations to duplicate the capabilities of an integration pack for other applications. If an organization is not using a particular Oracle product and would prefer to instead integrate with a custom or third party application, that option is available. For example, if an organization chooses to use a custom quoting application rather than the quoting module in Oracle E-Business Suite to build an opportunity-to-quote business flow, the integration pack can be used as a template to swap the custom application in its place. The ability to use these integration packs as a model enables organizations to adapt to specific scenarios in a business process.
Prebuilt Process Integration Packs
The Oracle CRM On Demand Process Integration Pack for Oracle E-Business and Oracle CRM On Demand Process Integration Pack for JD Edwards Enterprise One combine key business processes between Oracle’s on demand CRM solution and Oracle’s leading ERP solutions. From a business process perspective, these integration packs streamline the Opportunity-to-Quote and Lead-to-Order business processes and support the auto-conversion of leads to opportunities and opportunity information captured in Oracle CRM On Demand to a quote or order in Oracle E-Business Suite or JD Edwards Enterprise One. At the user interface level, sales representatives can easily view back office data within the context and look and feel of the Oracle CRM on Demand application. Finally, from the data perspective, users interact with the most up-to-date information, through real-time synchronization of key information like customer and product information.
Integration with Oracle Data Quality Management ensures data is appropriately validated to eliminate redundant information and that all systems have consistent data. While some information, such as product and customer information, is synchronized between the two systems, other information, such as quotes and orders, can simply be leveraged from its source and displayed in Oracle CRM On Demand; thus, data can reside in Oracle CRM On Demand, in a back office application, or shared between the two. As a result of this integration combination, users can complete an entire business flow and interact with both front and back office information – all within he context and look and feel of the Oracle CRM on Demand application.
In addition to Process Integration Packs, Oracle also offers prebuilt direct integrations to manage data flows between systems. These prebuilt direct integrations offer organizations the benefits of an AIA solution built on open standards to reduce costs, minimize risk, and speed time to market. The Oracle CRM On Demand Integration to Siebel CRM provides a single customer view across on premise and on demand deployments by synchronizing data between Oracle’s Siebel CRM and multiple instances of Oracle CRM On Demand.