Monday, October 24, 2011

Oracle acquires RightNow CRM: Cloud Platform or Cloudwashing?

This morning Oracle announced a deal to purchase RightNow for $1.5 billion.  Oracle's headline reads "Adds Leading Customer Service Cloud Offering to Oracle's Public Cloud."

In 2007 I had written RightNow CRM off as a non-cloud product while competing against them as a Sales Manager at NetSuite.

Unless a product is 100% web based like Google Apps or Norada Solve360 you still have all the costs and complexity of installing, upgrading, supporting, and fixing workstation based software.  Check out the RightNow CX "staff member" system requirements and recommendations to use complex technology like Citrix.  It has a Smart Client that needs 850 Mb of free hard disk space and only runs on the Windows 7 platform.  This means only 39% of the world's computers can fully use RightNow CRM.  True cloud products like Google Apps and Norada Solve360 CRM can be used by 99% of the world's computers.

What's strange is that Larry Ellison, CEO of Oracle was an early investor in and is a majority shareholder in NetSuite.  Larry definitely knows what a 100% web based cloud solution looks like.

Enlighten me with comments please because I'm skeptical how this acquisition will help long term against true cloud computing CRM solutions like and Norada Solve360 that require nothing more than a web browser on 99% of the world's computers.

Certainly RightNow is more "Cloud" than the rest of Oracle's portfolio.  It is still a big step behind 100% web solutions that allow devices like notebooks, tablets, and smartphones to be portals to the data, which helps people be productive from anywhere, at any time.

True Cloud products allow businesses to spend more time with customers and less time on managing technology.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Customer Case Study: Google Apps integrated with Solve360 CRM moves people, literally

Here’s a story most business folks can relate to — established in 1959, Taylor Moving starts with 1 truck and a handful of employees.  Dad grows the business.  Sons take over, expanding to 100 staff and operate a network handling international employee moves.

Fast forward to the present and those sons find themselves asking “How can we stay competitive and keep growing the business?” Son Rick Taylor knew more of the same wasn’t going to cut it.  “Our coordinators, our sales team, they were spending far too much time doing internal stuff and not talking to clients.”

The solution started when they looked at their email which, despite being mission critical for dealing with overseas moves, was unreliable.  A friend introduced Taylor to Blair Collins, founder of, who was asked to help. “They were paying $1000 per month for IT support yet none of their email history was backed up because it was scattered across the hard drives of everyone's computers.”, noted Collins.  InterlockIT introduced Taylor to Google Apps and helped with the implementation.  With email issues now out of the way they now had the resources to look at how they organized their moves.

For years, Taylor Moving managed moves through a paper-based filing system and initially a document management system seemed like the answer.  The narrow access point of paper files was causing chaos and a lot of wasted time. “In the past, there would be a sales person at a coordinator’s desk eight times a day… they were always looking for information.”

But after a review, InterlockIT introduced Taylor to Solve360, which is a client management solution available in the Google Apps Marketplace. Solve360 focuses on helping businesses like Taylor manage their customers and their projects.  “We quickly realized that a fully integrated CRM solution like Solve360 with its included project management could do far more for their business“, said Collins.

Taylor was quickly impressed by Solve360’s flexibility.  Now any adjustments made to the move are now seen in real time, company-wide. Now everything is in one place, and easily accessed. “This is a big step up.”

Taylor and his team experience seamless integration between Solve360 and Google Apps.  In fact, Taylor himself barely acknowledges a separation between the two, viewing them as a single system. The Gmail contextual gadget for quick access to contacts/projects, the ability to easily capture emails, the simple linking to Google Docs, and the Google calendar integration are key features for them.  “Once you’ve got [Gmail], which I find to be a very user-friendly system, the changeover to Solve360 was far easier than I had expected. I expected a much harder learning curve.”

Streamlining the internal systems allowed Taylor and his team to turn outward and address what matters most to their business — the customer.  “In a service industry, you’re only productive if you’re talking with a client… if you’re doing background stuff, that’s offering no value back to your service.  So, what are the things you can do behind the scenes so that you’re spending the majority of time with your clients?... That’s why we brought the system on.” Solve360 allowed his team to focus on what would really drive business forward.

Growing his business with Google Apps and Solve360 “is something he’s looking forward to”, says Taylor.  “With software and servers you need to manage all the changes yourself to keep up.  Now [with Google Apps and Solve360] that’s done for us automatically so we can focus on serving our clients.”