In New York yesterday Oracle announced its Customer Experience (CX) strategy. It has been evolving nicely in several Oracle briefings a few analysts have had over the last few months. It reflects several realities organizations face – homogenizing customer relations across physical and digital channels, the growing social media and customer/product analytics marketing groups have access to, and as a corollary to the last point the growing influence of the digital “Mad Men” – agencies replacing traditional outsourcers as the hot new service providers. Notice, I did not call CX a product – it is more of a framework which allows Oracle to blend many of its own and RightNow CRM, Order Management, Retail POS/merchandising, Endeca and other analytical tools. It is one of the few vendors out there that can pick and choose from a wide inventory of components.
Over in Redmond, Microsoft confirmed it will pay $ 1.2 billion for Yammer. The acquisition has been a shockingly poorly kept rumor, and the price has more than a few folks scratching their head. I was initially surprised it will be part of the MS Office unit, but makes sense to socialize the document-centric SharePoint and the messaging world of Exchange.
Microsoft will also hopefully make more “industrial” the applications for Yammer. Yammer has its own use case catalog here, but the applications are pretty light. But the sentiment is not, as Charles Zachary, one of the Yammer investors says in this interview…”change the world for the better”
That aspirational, feel-good vibe has defined the social category from its roots, and manifests itself every few months in the E2.0 conference like the one last week. Happy talk, but not many impressive case studies. I know there are many out there. Even though my books don’t focus exclusively on “social” both had a chapter full of examples with tangible payback.
My hope is Oracle and Microsoft help “social” grow up – by focusing on specific customer experience or collaboration themes rather than the high-falutin’ “Enterprise 2.0” or “change the world” talk.