Your SaaS is wack

How much have you changed over the last 16 years? How much has the business world changed over that time?

Has your “modern” cloud CRM kept up with you? If not, your SaaS wack and it’s time to reevaluate the situation.

The concept of cloud CRM was developed back in 1999. At that time, I was in high school and my interests and goals were much different from what they are today. While I’d like to think I’ve maintained my youthful appearance, the world has changed dramatically, from the way we communicate with others to how we purchase goods and services.

Lots of technological advancements were made over the last 16 years, but for some organizations, not much has changed from 1999 with regard to the concept of cloud CRM. While cosmetic changes made things look newer, the architecture has remained the same for some CRM providers. In order to clarify that statement, let’s take a quick look at the history of CRM and then fast forward to today.

1980’s: the digital rolodex

In 1986, ACT! introduced the business world to contact management software. Essentially a digital rolodex, ACT! stored and organized customer contact information. It was a great tool for cleaning up the office desk, and making sure that customer or prospect information wasn’t lost. Unfortunately, some organizations still look at CRM as a rolodex. It’s like looking at the pictures below and thinking the hair styles are current, and culturally acceptable.


1990’s: birth of an acronym (CRM)

The beginning of the 90’s brought the first major step toward true CRM software. Early innovators like Brock Control Systems helped push the evolution of contact management software toward sales force automation (SFA). SFA took many of the features of database marketing, automated them, and combined them with contact management. This provided businesses with more useful customer information. It also automated business tasks like inventory control, and sales tasks like customer interaction tracking.

We live in an era where everything is recorded, but in the 90’s, it was a new concept and the “big brother” aspect of CRM came into the picture. Sales reps were required to enter their activities and track opportunities, not because they wanted to, but because it was required. CRM was being used, but it wasn’t very useful to sales reps.

The Oracle Connection: Siebel + Benioff

In 1993, Tom Siebel left Oracle to create Siebel Systems. While atTom_Siebel Oracle, Siebel tried unsuccessfully to convince CEO Larry Ellison to package and sell their internal sales application as a standalone product. Siebel Systems quickly became the leading SFA provider on the market.




marc-benioff-talking.pngSix years later, in 1999 Salesforce was created by Larry Ellison’s protégé, Marc Benioff. He left Oracle to create a cloud based CRM platform built on a multi-tenant infrastructure, or public cloud. Larry was an early investor and Oracle Database technology was used as the basis of their cloud platform. Bennioff’s vision was to make CRM simple in the cloud and he was very successful in the SMB space and eventually SFDC started being used as a departmental solution for large enterprises.

2000’s: Modern SaaS CRM

In the early years of the 00’s, Paul Greenberg’s book “CRM at the Speed of Light” suggested a more comprehensive CRM system that manages all business relationships. By the end of the decade, this became the common thinking across the CRM industry.

Through the middle of the decade, compatibility with legacy software became more important. Customers didn’t exist in siloes, so it became evident that all touch-points that a customer had with an organization should be connected. As the connectivity between back end systems with CRM became more important, it made sense that Microsoft entered the CRM market with Dynamics CRM, and Oracle acquired Siebel and numerous other enterprise application vendors.

2010: Head in the clouds, feet on the ground.

Ellison_oracleOracle entered the cloud market with Oracle On-Demand for multi-tenant Cloud solutions supporting the SMB market and departments of large organizations.  Oracle fought head to head with Salesforce in the Cloud CRM space. However, Oracle decided to take it one step further.

In 2010 the Oracle Fusion Platform was released. It was already running the largest HCM and ERP customers in the Cloud with over 150,000 users in single deployments. With billions of dollars invested in R&D, Oracle continued to improve its technology and the Cloud CRM solution evolved into Oracle Sales Cloud, sitting on the Fusion Applications platform.

Oracle was uniquely positioned, because they were a part of the CRM evolution from its inception and collected a great amount of IP from Siebel, using it as the basis for Oracle Sales Cloud. Make no mistake; this isn’t Siebel in the cloud; it is a new approach to CRM which exemplifies a modern cloud model. Sales Cloud runs on Fusion architecture that was created five years ago, giving organizations the enterprise grade platform they need for large enterprise customer data (terabytes of data) with advanced analytics. So what does that mean? Sales Cloud supports enterprise customer’s needs, without having to impose preset cloud limitations like other providers.

Meanwhile, salesforce is using the same architecture from 1999 to support enterprise customers with departmental solutions. Since they’re still living in the 90’s, let’s draw a reference from Kris Kross and call it what it is: “Wickity Wickity Wack.” Why would any enterprise organization want to run departmental solutions, which make it nearly impossible to have a single view of their customer, across all touch-points? More importantly, enterprise organizations are overpaying, because the platform wasn’t built to support the level of data they’ve accumulated. SFDC has gotten away with this for a long time, because there weren’t viable alternatives in the cloud, but that’s not the case today.

2015: Looking forward

So where does that leave us today? SFA 1.0 with Salesforce was all about activity management or opportunity management and was successful in that role, but it didn’t give sales people tools to make them more efficient. They used the CRM tool, but it wasn’t useful.

Oracle Sales Cloud has changed the game with the modern selling platform, which surrounds the Sales Cloud with best of breed Customer Experience applications to go beyond SFA 1.0, to incorporate everything from lead prospecting, to opportunity management, sales prediction, quote to cash, predictive forecasting, performance management, to closing an order and getting incentive compensation visibility.

In addition to supporting enterprise data requirements, your CRM tool needs to increase sales and optimize efficiency. In order for that to happen, it has to provide fast and easy tools, mobile productivity, insightful and collaborative selling, and aggressive pipeline creation.

It’s time to take a close look at your Cloud CRM to determine if your SaaS is wack.

*opinions are my own and do not represent a viewpoint of an organization


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