Wednesday, October 26th, 2011
Nicole Engelbert, Ovum Practice Leader – Industry Technologies

We anticipate that clients of the Bozeman-based firm will experience a significant uptick in the level of industry-specific support with Oracle’s acquisition of RightNow Technologies (RNT).

This will particularly be the case for colleges and universities – where RNT has been successful – as they will now have membership access to the Higher Education User Group (HEUG), a third-party organisation associated with Oracle, which is well-established, large, covers a broad set of products and services and has global reach.

However, as Oracle will now have three CRM solutions targeting higher education, Oracle CRM On-Demand, PeopleSoft CRM for Higher Education and RightNow, there may be some short- to medium-term anxiety around Oracle’s product development and support strategy.
Carter Lusher, Chief Technology Analyst

Ovum’s analysis is that Oracle’s acquisition of RightNow is a smart move and will strengthen Oracle’s position in CRM. RightNow’s technology can be split into two broad components: 1) the artificial intelligence-powered service used to improve self-service and service staff effectiveness; and 2) case management / service tracking. The AI component, which is the most valuable, can be incorporated into all the all existing CRM products as an underlying technology enhancing all of them. The service tracking aspect is the least interesting as that is undifferentiated functionality. Another very useful aspect is the social media plug-in which surfaces the AI-based self-service through Facebook.

However, there are implications for the Right AI technology beyond CRM and customer service. There are a number of Ovum’s IT Super Themes that could benefit from enterprise applications powered by the AI functionality. The Ovum IT Super Themes that could be the focus on include Connected Society, Consumerization of IT, IT Modernization, IT-enabled Business Innovation, and Mobility. In all of these Ovum Themes there is the need to broaden the constituencies served by applications, the need to automate certain decisions or actions, and enable management by exception. RightNow’s AI technology could address all of these needs.

Ovum predicts that Oracle will retain the RightNow brand, but restructure the RightNow R&D organizations moving elements into existing Oracle R&D teams that will focus on specific functionality like CRM, social media, and mobility. The important question is whether AI expertise? If Oracle is smart, it will create a new core R&D team around this expertise, which will the feed not just CRM, but also ERP, supply chain management, sustainability and other applications. This will give Oracle an important weapon in the Ovum mega-vendor fight with IBM and its Smarter Planet.

Oracle's acquisition of RightNow is a key plank in the Commerce and Customer Experience Management platform that Oracle has been constructing during 2011 with the additional acquisitions of ATG, Fatwire, Inquira and Endeca. These represent "best available" technologies in their respective areas and are clearly part of a strategic roadmap for Oracle in this space.


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Ovum provides clients with independent and objective analysis that enables them to make better business and technology decisions. Our research draws upon over 400,000 interviews a year with business and technology, telecoms and sourcing decision-makers, giving Ovum and our clients unparalleled insight not only into business requirements but also the technology that organisations must support. Ovum is part of the Informa Group.
Tanisha Kaul, the Ovum press office
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