December 22, 2000, 11:02 AM — As the senior vice president of CRM (customer relationship management) products for Oracle, Mark Barrenechea is responsible for product development and deployment. Barrenechea has seen the CRM group's staff roster grow from 20 to 900, reflecting the growing interest in a hot market. Oracle has put its CRM offerings to the test; there are 46,000 internal users of the software and 1.2 million external users, according to Barranechea.
Barranechea spoke with InfoWorld Senior Editor Eugene Grygo about the coming CRM battles and discussed who can best provide business intelligence, the application vendors or business intelligence providers.
InfoWorld: Why is it so important for Oracle to be a top CRM supplier?
Barranechea: We believe very much in an e-business suite, which means we need to be able to automate from demand creation and marketing automation to the selling function, whether it be self-service selling such as storefronts, telesales, direct sales, partner sales to the customer-care support function, to manufacturing, to financials, to HR, to the supply chain.
CRM is half that equation when it comes to applications. We think customers are starting to request a full e-business suite to automate their entire enterprise, to the their dot-coms, to their back-office ERP [enterprise resource planning] operations. It's extremely strategic for Oracle to be able to offer an e-business suite, not just a point solution for HR.
InfoWorld: Why is it extremely strategic?
Barranechea: Oracle is No. 1 in the database business. We're No. 1 in tools as they relate to databases. We are No. 2 on the applications front. We think that by going from point solutions such as HR to a business suite, we can become the No.1 applications vendor. The resulting impact is that we think we'll go from No. 2 to No. 1 because we can offer an e-business suite, and SAP can offer local accounting.
InfoWorld: Why would a database company think it can do it better than some of the application providers and some of the business intelligence providers out there?
Barranechea: We're not just a database company. Over the last two years, we built the CRM products division where we've gone from nowhere to second place. And our growth rates have us surpassing Siebel, one of the point vendors, over the next nine to 12 months.
The reasons we can do this better is [that] we can leverage core technology: Oracle Parallel Server. We support one database and not five, so we can write better code, write it faster, [and] it's more reliable. We can leverage all of ERP; one customer definition, one price book for a company. We think we're going to be No.1 over the next 12 months.
InfoWorld: What would you say are going to be the major trends over the coming year?