Since the acquisition of PeopleSoft by Oracle in 2004, the PeopleSoft CRM solution seemed to go underground. Relatively little has been heard about the product since that time. However, Oracle has been continuing to invest. PeopleSoft CRM 9.0, a major step forward, was released in August 2006, and the company will soon announce PeopleSoft CRM 9.1.
My take on Oracle's PeopleSoft CRM in the past has been that the product line has a significant base of loyal customers who value the usability and benefits of integration to PeopleSoft's HR and ERP suites. It offered a broad range of functionality across all the major components of CRM, with particular strengths in sales, customer service, and analytics. It had less robust, but sound, capability for marketing, field service, eCommerce, and customer data management.
Although, the solution does not offer a SaaS deployment option, it provided unique support for specific industries such as the public sector, particularly education. It also provided strong support for the financial services, utilities and telecommunications sectors. All-in-all, PeopleSoft CRM was well-suited for existing PeopleSoft customers who need a broad-based CRM platform to build on.
A hot topic of debate among customer management thought-leaders right now is the business value of “Social CRM.” My clients want to know how much investment they should make in social computing technologies like: blogs, wikis, forums, customer feedback tools, and customer community platforms. And, they want to know whether and how these new capabilities should be, and can be, integrated with their transactional CRM systems.
In my opinion, there is a lot of hype right now with respect to the business value of the social media and how to leverage this phenomenon to more deeply engage with customers. My own recent survey of 286 companies shows that only 21% currently have established customer communities at present. But, I must admit that the same data also shows that an additional 16% are piloting customer communities, and 26% are interested in implementing them. And, recent research by Forrester’s Natalie Petouhoff on the application of social media to customer service provides evidence of a high ROI.