Corporate Culture Clash Looms With Oracle’s Acquisition Of RightNow

The acquisition of RightNow by Oracle makes sense for both companies’ CRM solutions strategies. Oracle wants to beef up its overall “cloud” portfolio. This is a strength of RightNow, one of the pioneers of the SaaS deployment model. It also needs a stronger play in the customer service sector — an area that salesforce.com targeted several years ago. This is the core domain strength of RightNow.

RightNow has had good success, posting strong growth over the last several years — but a $250 million software company found itself at an awkward size to compete against giants like Oracle, SAP, and Microsoft.

The big risk to this deal is that the corporate cultures of Oracle and RightNow could not be more different. Oracle’s bare-knuckle approach to sales and how it treats customers is the complete opposite of RightNow’s ethos of client centricity and flexibility.

Many clients that have chosen RightNow may not be happy to hear that Oracle is their new software supplier for customer service. And the employees at RightNow are likely to find working for Oracle an unpleasant contrast to Montana-based RightNow’s corporate ethos.

Are CRM Solutions Soon To Be Displaced By Dynamic BPM?

As I mentioned in a blog post last April, in the midst of the buzz in the CRM technology world about “social” and “mobile,” I continue to see rising demand for customer management solutions that have a strong core of workflow and business process management capabilities. I call this phenomenon “CRM meets BPM.”

I have just launched a research cycle to delve into the topic more deeply and would very much like get your perspective on this trend.

This emergence of process-centric customer management solutions is being driven by an increasing recognition by companies, particularly in services industries, that if they want to deliver great customer experiences, they must learn how to get control over their “untamed processes” that touch customers.

My colleague at Forrester Craig Le Clair, who coined the term, says “untamed business processes form in the seams and shadows of the enterprise, require a balance of human and system support, and cross department, technology, information, and packaged application silos to meet end-to-end business outcomes.”

Classic untamed processes that touch customers in the financial services industry include all types of service requests, such as product change requests, customer onboarding, negotiated documents, proposals, product support, claims, underwriting, and loan origination. Another type is incident management — for example, dispute resolution, complaint management, and order exception management.

Here is the hypothesis that I am testing:

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