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CX Unity is poised to offer contextually personalized customer engagements
By Mila D'Antonio

Today, delivering personalized customer content and offers requires building a consolidated and accessible customer data foundation across business units, with next-best-action logic. This enables key stakeholders to orchestrate omnichannel experiences that motivate the consumer in the channel that is most comfortable for them. To succeed in this new continuum, enterprises need platforms that help distill information about their customers to better understand their buying journeys and orchestrate real-time, personalized offers, content, and appropriate interactions.

Ahead of OpenWorld 2019, Oracle conducted a pre-brief of its CX Unity platform, which aims to solve enterprises' data silo and orchestration challenges. Oracle announced CX Unity at last year's OpenWorld, but it plans to announce enhancements this year. CX Unity is a customer intelligence platform embedded within the Oracle Customer Experience platform.

According to Steve Earl, senior director of product marketing at Oracle, CX Unity achieves three things: it enables a connected customer profile by integrating online, offline, and third-party data sources; it conducts customer intelligence by applying machine learning for modeling, predicting, and prescribing optimal audiences; and it allows for real-time activation of CX by connecting the service, sales, and marketing functions across enterprises.

Abbas Makhdum, director of product marketing, added that CX Unity eliminates blind spots in enterprises by delivering five categories of service:

  • Unified profiles built from identity resolution and applying enterprise data quality, structured industry schemes, and governance and compliance
  • Enrichment, which includes prebuilt enrichment (zip code), connectors to third-party data, automated enrichments (LTV, engagement, RFM), and probabilistic and deterministic data to understand known and anonymous customers
  • Segmentation that includes behavioral scores (engagement, product interest), out-of-the-box behavior segments (window shopper, bargain hunter), and real-time personalization
  • Analytics in the form of performance reports (campaign and audience engagement) and forensics (Why did it happen?)
  • Personalized experiences created from out-of-the-box integrations with Oracle CX Engagement apps, real-time customer-360 context, and non-Oracle applications integrations.

 

While Oracle claims CX Unity isn't classified as a customer data platform (CDP), it looks and feels like one at a high level. Although the foundational criteria of CDPs are ingestion, unification, persistence, access, and integration of data, many vendors in the CDP category today have bolted on capabilities to enable personalized experiences. Many offer next-best-action logic and campaign orchestration functionality. They have also taken their platforms out of the marketing realm to enable holistic customer data connections across the enterprise, with most initial use cases in the area of customer support. Regardless of the platform's classification, CX Unity is poised to offer enable contextually rich individualized engagements by connecting data, intelligence, and outcomes across the entire customer experience.


Improving cloud security for mission-critical workloads
By Maxine Holt

Security is of crucial importance to enterprises moving increasing numbers of workloads into the cloud. Some enterprises take a single-provider approach, which enables the organization to take advantage of the inbuilt integrations from this provider. Other organizations choose to take a multicloud approach, which has the advantage of offering best-of-breed services from different cloud providers, but integration between the different clouds is the customer's responsibility. In June 2019, Oracle and Microsoft announced their cloud interoperability alliance designed specifically to address this issue.

Helpful as this is – and it has been well received by enterprises – there's definitely more that Oracle can offer to improve security for these critical workloads. The SOC is drowning in alerts, and although increasing automation is evident across the enterprise and service provider IT landscape, these organizations are crying out for more help. Oracle is no stranger to automation across its cloud platform and services, and this is increasingly evident in its security capabilities.


Is Oracle getting close to a head-to-head competitive position with the major contact center providers?
By Ken Landoline

As the contact center industry quickly evolves in terms of structure, technology, underlying platforms, and participating competitors, it is difficult to predict the next turn in market direction. Several new vendors have entered the market over the past few years, and which company might be the next disruptive force is anyone's guess. One company that certainly stands ready to compete directly in the customer engagement and contact center infrastructure market is Oracle. Oracle has the fundamental capabilities, applications, leadership personnel, and product/service offerings to enable it to move into the cloud contact center marketplace in a more direct way than it has been operating in the past.

To date, despite being well equipped with a host of application suites that support customer service and contact center operations within its CX Service and Field Service organizations, as well as its in-depth consumer and business data and information collecting and handling capabilities, Oracle has chosen not to go out on its own. However, the company remains in strong partnerships with many contact center providers. Ovum has been anticipating the marketplace entry of Oracle, as well as a few other well-known large, well-funded, data-centric software providers. Oracle continues to build on its strengths and expand its portfolio by adding, through organic development and acquisition, products and expertise in related customer engagement areas that could make the company a leader in the field.

Prior to last year's OpenWorld, Oracle announced the proposed acquisition of DataFox, a frontrunner in B2B information and analytics, to complement its already strong position in the B2C customer information business giving it what Ovum believes is a market-leading position in this area. We suspect there will be more related announcements this year. Oracle continues to enhance its customer engagement portfolio through the development of its existing CX Service and Field Service offerings, as well as expanding into several advanced customer engagement-related areas that are soon to reshape the industry, including IoT, behavioral analytics, artificial intelligence, and machine learning.

Ovum anxiously awaits this year's OpenWorld to learn if Oracle's desire to jump directly into the contact center provider area is growing. By most measurements entry in this marketplace can be quite rewarding in terms of addressable market and profitability. But this will require a strong company commitment in investment and strategic focus in terms of budget and people.


Higher education with its head in the clouds
By Joyce Kim

While Oracle has long supported the higher education community with its on-prem-based PeopleSoft Campus Solutions, the power of the cloud has been undeniable for the vendor and its customer base alike. Ovum's Global Higher Education Spending Forecast predicts that cloud-based applications and infrastructure spend will rise from an estimated $1.4bn in 2018 to $4bn in 2023 for a total CAGR of 22.8%. Oracle's customers are following this trend, with many institutions adopting its cloud-based solutions to support their administrative needs, from HCM Cloud to Student Cloud. Released in 2017, the vendor's cloud-native Student Cloud includes modules from CX Cloud, Student Financial Planning (an automated financial aid planning platform), and Student Management for traditional and nontraditional programming.

Ovum expects that the majority of the higher ed sessions at OpenWorld 2019 will include customer testimonials and best practices for making the transition from on-premises to cloud-based solutions.

Analysts attending

Analyst

Tim Jennings

Chief Research Officer
tim-jennings-new
Analyst

Ken Landoline

Principal Analyst, Customer Engagement
Ken Landoline

Ken specializes in

  • Voice Telephony
  • Customer Engagement

+ 32 years experience

Analyst

Mike Sapien

Chief Analyst, Enterprise Services
Mike Sapien

Mike specializes in

  • Data and forecasting
  • Enterprise Services
  • Managed Services

+ 35 years experience

Analyst

Mila D'Antonio

Principal Analyst, Customer Engagement
MilaDAntonio_headshot

Mila specializes in

+ 20 years experience

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