Oracle has launched a new version of Oracle Sales, part of its E-Business Suite of applications, that includes a module designed to help sales representatives create new sales proposals more quickly. The new module in Oracle Sales, called Oracle Proposals, is meant to reduce the time it takes a sales representative to draft a proposal by offering templates that generate customer-ready proposals, Wookey said.
The templates include an API (application programming interface) that allows data stored elsewhere in an organization, such as an analyst report or a document stating proposed terms and conditions of a sale, to be incorporated into the proposal
"We use an open API structure that allows you to access any J2EE-compliant object, whether it's in a Siebel SFA (sales force automation) system, an E.piphany marketing system or a legacy system developed in-house," said John Wookey, Oracle senior vice president of applications development.
Existing SFA products tend to focus on providing managers with insights into the activities of their sales teams and have done little to boost the efficiency of the sales representatives themselves, he said. Because of this, some sales organizations have resisted using software to automate their work, with the result that SFA "is not exactly the most robust area of the market today," Wookey said.
Oracle tried to address this with the new proposals module. The new version of Oracle Sales, version 11.5.9, also revamps the user interface of Oracle Quoting and ties that module more closely to Oracle Order Management, a change that's supposed to make it easier for a sales rep to check the credit status of a customer during the quoting process. Other components have also been improved.
Oracle Sales Version 11.5.9 is available this week for all the major platforms and languages Oracle supports. Pricing was still being finalized Tuesday, according to Wookey. Customers with any version of E-Business Suite 11i can use the new Oracle Sales, but it is not available for customers using older versions of the suite.
Technologies such as Java are making it possible to access different types of data from within and outside an organization to fine-tune sales and marketing efforts, including information about past customer interactions and sales, Wookey said. The new versions of Oracle's sales and marketing applications will make better use of that data to identify leads that are more likely to become sales, he said.
"We're trying to connect all the dots in an organization and in the end make the marketing department think about generating revenue more than just sales leads," he said.-- IDG News Service