Constellation ShortList™ Customer Service and Contact Center Software

Constellation Research is launching a new program, and I’m happy to share that the vendors that have been listed on the Constellation ShortList™ for Customer Service and Contact Center Software. The program offers buyers of technology a list of offerings to consider in their pursuit of digital transformation to provide the best capabilities to drive leading customer service.

The Constellation ShortList presents vendors in different categories of the market relevant to early adopters. In addition, products included in this document meet the threshold criteria for this category as determined by Constellation Research. This Constellation ShortList of vendors for a market category is compiled through conversations with early adopter clients, independent analysis, and briefings with vendors and partners.

Customer service and contact center software helps solve customer challenges faster by offering the right tools and support, regardless of channel or device (e.g., phone, tablet, email, chat, text, website, Facebook, other social networks). These offerings can effectively manage inbound communication for increased first-contact resolution, in addition to providing co-browse capabilities to allow visual communication for quicker query resolution. Additionally, they can support the reduction of cart abandonment and increase customer satisfaction with in-cart assistance. This type of software provides personalized care through the use of analytics, offering insight into customers’ behaviors for relevant, contextualized service that can predict future needs. Companies can identify new opportunities by integrating these customer insights into their companies’ innovation processes.

The software also creates seamless, online experiences with a knowledge base that learns from every interaction, enabling them to match content to consumer intent, which results in higher conversion rates. The top solutions also provide smart customer self-service, allowing customers to help themselves by fostering peer-to-peer support communities and eliminating the need to reach out to the contact center.

Constellation considers the following key criteria for these solutions: Self-service capabilities, case management, natural language processing for knowledge management and search, omni-channel and device customer journeys, mobile customer service and self service, queuing and routing, workforce optimization, predictive and prescriptive rules and advice, next-best action, natural scripting, customer feedback collection capabilities, IVR, visual IVR, inventory optimization, mobile enablement, social and digital engagement simplified user design (UX/UI), reporting and customer analytics, integration to IoT (Internet of Things) platforms and devices, data dashboard and data visualization.

Each Constellation ShortList evaluation will be updated every 90 days as needed. Constellation clients may work with the analyst and research team to conduct a more thorough discussion of this ShortList. Constellation can also provide guidance in vendor selection and contract negotiation.

The ShortList is determined by client inquiries, partner conversations, customer references, vendor selection projects, market share and internal research. The Shortlist includes:

  • Aspect
  • Avaya
  • Cisco
  • Genesys
  • inContact
  • Interactive Intelligence
  • Oracle
  • Salesforce
  • Verint.

For more information about the ShortList, please visit the Constellation Research site.

@DrNatalie Petouhoff, VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research, Covering Customer Facing Applications.


Constellation ShortList™ for Digital Performance Management

Digital Performance Management provides companies with the analytics to determine if their customer experience is optimized. The Constellation ShortList presents vendors in different categories of the market relevant to early adopters. In addition, products included in this document meet the threshold criteria for this category as determined by Constellation Research. This Constellation ShortList of vendors for a market category is compiled through conversations with early adopter clients, independent analysis, and briefings with vendors and partners.

Mastering digital performance management (DPM) is one of the leading challenges of the digital economy. Often referred to as application performance management (APM), it requires a joint effort between many functional departments, such as marketing, sales, customer service, e-commerce and IT. It is no longer just about IT looking at the performance of the technology stack or the management of the infrastructure or cloud that delivers customer experience.

Today, it’s about the collaboration between the lines of business and IT to measure and manage the end-to-end transaction delivery and translate it into actionable information that a brand can use to optimize customer experience, as well as the performance of the technologies used to deliver it. When DPM is optimized, companies can deliver an engaging digital experience, maximize revenue and improve brand loyalty. DPM vendors help both the business and engineering teams to not only define conversion and revenue goals but also make sure they are reached.

They make sure the application’s performance doesn’t become a roadblock to optimal customer experiences and reaching business metrics, including conversion rates, high availability and high user experience indexes. The goal is to monitor and measure to eliminate all revenue barriers with a strong focus on digital performance to ensure that the road to conversion is quick and easy; the customer experience is smooth; and customers remain loyal as a result.

Constellation considers the following criteria for these solutions:

  • Monitoring of each customer’s journey and business transactions, using intelligent analytics
  • Proactive application monitoring for quick problem resolution and maximum availability
  • Full insights into each customer’s journey to make better business decisions
  • Connect the dots between customer experience, application performance and business outcomes
  • Full technology stack monitoring with deep operational insights into the user’s application environment
  • Big data monitoring and data visualization
  • Mobile application monitoring
  • Cloud, server and mainframe monitoring
  • Load testing, virtualization and network monitoring
  • Customer behavior analytics.

Constellation evaluates over 25 solutions categorized in this market. This Constellation ShortList is determined by client inquiries, partner conversations, customer references, vendor selection projects, market share and internal research. These are the best-of-breed vendors that provide applications and services without bundling into another platform:

  • APM+
  • AppDynamics
  • Dynatrace
  • NeoSense
  • Oracle
  • SAP

For more information, please see the Constellation Research website.

@DrNatalie Petouhoff, VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research, Covering Customer Facing Applications


The CMO Club and Oracle Deliver New Solution Guide to Help CMOs Transform Their Marketing Organization


The complexity of marketing has increased exponentially. The question on many CMO’s mind’s range from:

  • Do I have the right technology?
  • Am I using what I have well?
  • What else do I need?
  • Are my processes efficient and effective to take advantage of the technology?
  • Do my people have the right skills, mindsets and capabilities to deliver on all the various aspects marketing has expanded into – from SEO, to demand gen, to lead conversion, to e-commerce, to branding, storytelling and brand personas, to email, social and digital marketing…?
  • Are my strategies going to create the kind of lead conversion rates that will enable to expansion of my team and the respect that they should garner from the senior leadership team?
  • Do I have the right customer analytics strategy and can I execute on the data and data warehouses that are required to really know my customer and service real-time information where (channels & devices) when they need it?

To help CMOs meet skyrocketing customer and boardroom expectations, The CMO Club, along with Oracle,  released “The CMO Solution Guide for Building a Modern Marketing Organization.” The guide, which is based on interviews with CMOs and digital marketing leaders from major brands including Dow Chemical, JetBlue Airways, MasterCard, PayPal, Quiznos, The Hershey Company and Viking River Cruises, includes insights and best practices that CMOs can apply to build customer-first marketing teams that drive measureable results.

Screen Shot 2016-01-08 at 1.22.49 PM

To help marketers successfully manage this transformation, the new CMO Solution Guide provides practical advice from 20 in-depth interviews with CMOs and digital marketing leaders from organizations of various sizes and different industries.

Pete Krainik, CEO, The CMO Club said, “While the number of tools and amount of data available to marketers continues to multiply, the age old challenge of capturing and leveraging the right data to create engaging customer experience across all channels still exists. The first step they must take is to establish the appropriate organizational alignment to successfully create this type of customer experience. While no organization is exactly the same, this guide helps provide easy-to-implement changes that any marketer can use to drive transformation.

While there is no organizational model that fits every company universally, four key themes emerged during the course of the interviews that informed the organizational decisions that CMOs make: Acumen, Alignment, Agility and Accountability. More on those below:

  • Acumen: To become more effective modern marketers, respondents reported that enhancing the skills within their department has become a top priority. From developing valuable customer insights through data mining to investing in content creation and the need for greater evaluative analytics, leading marketers are investing heavily in helping their teams learn new skills.
  • Alignment: From top to bottom and across all functions, the guide shows that it is critical for all departments to follow the same processes and company culture in order to effectively engage customers across all touchpoints.
  • Agility: To meet consumer demands for exceptional customer experience, the guide noted how important it is for businesses to have strong cross-functional teams and the flexibility to pilot something new to test and learn best practices.
  • Accountability: To demonstrate marketing’s impact on the bottom line, the guide recommends establishing the right measures from the outset and instilling a culture of personal accountability around those parameters.

Along those lines is a larger question that looms in most organizations. That question is who should be the general manager of the overall customer experience? CMO’s are well positioned to be that person, but there are risks as well as rewards in taking on that responsibility. I’ve outlined some of them in a new report Should the Chief Marketing Officer Oversee the Whole Customer Experience? And I look forward presenting  the accompanying webinar coming up later 2016.

Should CMO Lead The Whole Customer Experience

While most brands may not realize it, they are competing on one important variable: customer experience. With all other things being equal, we are in a service economy and there’s nothing that is more important than the experience customers have with companies. And it’s not the brand promise creating by marketing that makes up that customer experience, but also the experience customers have with sales, service and back office operations. It’s not an easy question, but one that must be answered by every senior leadership team and their board of directors. That is what digital disruption is all about and companies not understanding this will go out of business or be acquired or merged for their customer list and cash flow. Poor customer experience, no business. Period. It’s that simple.

@DrNatalie, VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research

Covering Customer Facing Capabilities of Organizations to Deliver on Better Customer Experiences



Maximizing Personalization to Differentiate Brands While Increasing ROI, & Loyalty Customer Experiences

Is Personalization At Scale Possible? Personalization at scale has long been a desired capability of many Marketers. Being able to deliver personalized messages would not only differentiate a brand from all the others that are trying to do this, but miss terribly. (i.e., I am a MAC fan – never bought a PC in my life, but I still get print PC catalogs… it’s a waste of that company’s money because I’m am not the right target demographic.) So getting personalization right not only makes the customer feel like you know them, you care about what they care about, but also you are paying attention. Of course this can be difficult with large customer bases.

If a brand was able to do this, they would not only increase their ROI on their marketing campaigns, but also increase the customer experience, and as a result increase customer loyalty. Customers buy from those who make it easy to buy from them and easy to find what they need and want. And when it is served up to them, it’s even easier for customer to say yes. While there are some Marketers that are able to do personalization at scale, most would like to do it better. Intact, without a data-driven approach to optimizing the customer experience, marketers are left with:

  • Lower conversion rates
  • Un-optimal customer experiences
  • lost revenue and lower ROI for campaigns and creative.

Software to Help Get to Personalization: Oracle today announced that it has signed an agreement to acquire Maxymiser, a leading provider of cloud-based software that enables marketers to test, target and personalize what a customer sees on a Web page or mobile app, substantially increasing engagement and revenue.

Who Has Maxymiser Helped To Date with Mass Personalization At Scale? Maxymiser optimizes over 20 billion customer experiences per month for brands such as Allianz, HSBC, Lufthansa, Tommy Hilfiger and Wyndham.

How Does Maxymiser Work? This acquisition that will strengthen Oracle’s solution to manage marketing programs across all digital channels and across the customer lifecycle.  Tim Brown, Chief Executive Officer, Maxymiser said, “Our mission is to empower enterprises to use data science to systematically test, discover, and predict what customers want and deliver uniquely tailored experiences. We are excited to join Oracle and bring these capabilities to help extend Oracle Marketing Cloud.” Below is more information about how the testing, insights and personalization works.

Maxymiser How it Works Oracle


Truth is Marketing Requires Testing: While many executives would want Marketing to alway hit the market, the truth is that testing is required. With Oracle’s acquisition, modern marketers can  systematically use customer data to test, discover and predict the experiences customers want online.

Testing by Modern Marketers to Systematically Use Customer Data to Test, Discover and Predict the Experiences Customers Want Online

What Should You Take From This Acquisition? 

  • The combination of Oracle and Maxymiser extends Oracle Marketing Cloud’s capabilities for customer experience optimization into Web, mobile Web, and mobile apps
  • An optimized customer experience is one that has been systematically tested for effectiveness and personalized to interests and behaviors
  • Optimizing each customer experience increases revenue and enhances marketing ROI because customers who get what they want are more likely to click, purchase, and return more often
  • Maxymiser enables this optimization with data science technologies covering multivariate testing, audience-segment discovery, and predictive personalization—all made marketer-friendly
  • Maxymiser’s management team and employees are expected to join Oracle as part of Oracle Marketing Cloud
  • And the pieces that Oracle has acquired are integrating or has already integrated into their solution.

MY POV: If you are a Marketer that wants to increase the customer experience by targeting the right customer, with the right offer, at the right time, this is a very important move for Oracle.

@drnatalie, VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research





Oracle Ups the Their Analytics Game: Signs an Agreement to Acquire Datalogix

While difficult to do and very important, offline spending and digital marketing need to get connected. CMO’s need this data to make the right calls on their marketing mix and shape their priorities. Datalogix connects offline consumer spending to digital marketing to help marketers increase the effectiveness and measurability of their advertising.  It does this by aggregating and providing insights on over $2 trillion in consumer spending from 1,500 data partners across 110 million households to provide purchase-based targeting and drive more sales. They have over 650 customers, including 82 of the top 100 US advertisers such as Ford and Kraft, as well as 7 of the top 8 digital media publishers such as Facebook and Twitter use Datalogix to enhance their media. Oracle signed an agreement to acquire Datalogix.

How Does Datalogix  Fit Into The Oracle Cloud?

Oracle and Datalogix’s Data as a Service cloud solutions will provide marketers and publishers with the richest understanding of consumers across both digital and traditional channels based on what they do, what they say, and what they buy. This will enable leading brands to personalize and measure every customer interaction and maximize the value of their digital marketing. The ideas of contextually relevant content and offers is finally coming into it’s own. Will this results in the brand promises so many CMO’s are trying to deliver on?

  • The combination fundamentally transforms marketing automation from executing campaigns to being able to correctly identify consumers, target them accurately with digital campaigns, allow marketers to measure which campaigns and channels are effective, and optimize how they reach consumers and spend their campaign resources.
  • The addition of Datalogix represents a further extension of Oracle’s Public Cloud strategy to combine IaaS, PaaS, SaaS and Data as a Service on a common cloud and to transform SaaS business applications and processes by integrating data within these applications.

If you want more information, you can go here:

The press release:

More information:

If CMO’s are going to be able to deliver right-time, real-time contextually relevant content, offers  and conversations, then this type of data is critically important. However, the question always remains how tech savvy are the CMO’s? Many have been focused on creative most of their careers. Today’s CMO must become tech savvy or at least have a staff that is. What would help? IT. But there’s long been a struggle between IT and functional department priorities.

With the advent of SaaS, many functional departments like marketing want to be able to stand up their own technology without being pushed to the end of the line of IT priorities. However, while SaaS allows marketers to do this, many of them might benefit by having a real partnership with IT, i.e., someone who is used to buying and implementing and optimizing technology. It will be interested to see how the relationships between IT vs. functional departments will pan out over the next year.  Will they collaborate or will they remain at a standstill? Will leaders at the CXO office step in to stop the corporate politics or do they even know they exist?


VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research

Covering Marketing, Sales and Customer Service to Deliver of Great Customer Experiences



Teradata Announces A Query Grid Software For Seamless Orchestration of Analytics Processing

Teradata, the big data analytics and marketing applications company, today announced thatTeradata® QueryGrid.™  Now seamlessly orchestrates analytic processing of data between Teradata and Oracle databases, enabling Teradata data warehouse users to leverage data sitting in Oracle databases to enhance their analytics.

Teradata QueryGrid software orchestrates the use of multiple analytic engines and file systems, freeing the user to concentrate on their business analysis. Unique in its design, Teradata QueryGrid enables bi-directional data movement and pushdown processing on data where it resides, while minimizing overall data movement and duplication.

As organizations successfully build out their analytical ecosystems, they realize the need to leverage more data. Additional sources of data enable users to ask new questions. However, to be productive users need technology that frees them from spending time moving data from system-to-system, or knowing the mechanics of data movement.

Teradata QueryGrid allows organizations to focus on getting answers to their business questions, not on moving data or splitting analyses into discrete processes,” said Scott Gnau, president, Teradata Labs. “Teradata QueryGrid can instantly reach into Oracle databases with bi-directional data movement or pushdown processing.”

Teradata QueryGrid, available with Teradata Database 15, supports The Teradata® Unified Data Architecture™. The Teradata Unified Data Architecture helps customers to design architect, implement, and orchestrate multiple best-of-breed engines, tools, and emerging technologies into a cohesive analytical ecosystem. It connects the Teradata Database, Teradata Aster Discovery PlatformHadoop technology and now Oracle databases to deliver a robust analytical ecosystem.

The Teradata QueryGrid software connection to Oracle databases is now available.

My POV: It’s necessary for all the various software need to work together. And there are so many choices. What I hope is that Marketers, Sales and Customer Service professionals are able to sort though all the various options. What I mean by that is that they are clear about what they have. They are clear about how to optimize what they have. And they are clear what is missing and clear how to fill that gap. Without that kind of analysis, continuous announcements of products is good, but may confuse the marketplace. Vendors MUST differentiate themselves so that buyers and users of technology get the return on the investment.


VP and Principle Analyst, Covering Marketing, Sales and Customer Service to Create Great, Next Generation Customer Experiences



OpenWorld – A New World of Business Opens Up #OOW14

Shift Has Happened

As I listened to the keynotes, the executives – both Oracle and its customers told the stories of how they now realize that IT and the “business” must collaborate, I am refreshed. Oracle is the database backbone of many companies, no doubt. But for Oracle to stay in the current game, it itself has to transform.

Being current is the natural state of being interested in transformation. Most large companies are not “interested in transformation.” I believe it’s not so much because they are stubborn or uninterested in the result. I believe that the resistance is the practical knowledge of what it takes to make meaningful transformation stick. And it takes real guts, commitment from executives and the ability to see it through to the end. And that’s what I am hearing in these stories.

Organization Change Management or “Shift” Requires Reflection

What I found most interesting in the keynote stories today was the genuine reflection of not only Oracle executives but also of their customers. They spoke of looking at what customers were saying on social networks / online and not just looking at it, but using it to inform them of what customers think about their products and services.  And then using that information to make new choices and business decisions. The stories, whether they were B2B or B2C type companies, shared this trend.

They were listening to customers and taking that feedback to make change. And to create real change means that they have to have the courage to be honest with “where things are at” and be able to look into the future to see what “could be” and to work to fill in the gaps. That type of “work” is only for the courageous.  I know, coming from a systems integrator background. It takes a lot of people, going in the same direction to make things happen and happen in a reasonable amount of time to be meaningful.

The Witness Factor™ or Observer Affect

It’s true in science (yes, I used to be a scientist), that something that’s called the Observer Affect refers to changes that “the act of observation” will make on something. What I witnessed over the years is, as the number of #fail ‘s from unmet customer needs were interrupting millions and billions of dollars spent on advertising and marketing campaigns, that social / digital / and what customer were saying online was starting to create permanent and long lasting change. Not sure but, perhaps it’s partially because as these digital remarks will last as or longer than cave paintings…

And The Heisenberg Principle ascribes to the uncertainty in the measurable quantities to the jolt-like disturbance triggered by the act of observation. It seems what has happened in the case of the software world, brands, companies and their relationship with their customer–  is that — the digital disruption has created a jolt-like shift.  The ability of social / digital networks and the conversations that are carried on offline, are triggering new behaviors and new actions.

Is It For Real?

The questions remain are things like, “Are companies really measuring the affect of how they are changing business? What’s the value of those changes? Do they know how to set-up a measurement system to capture the results? Or are they just knee-jerking? Are technology companies really understanding the need to not only change their products, but their own culture, way of doing business and relationship to their employees and their customers?

And only time will tell. Time will tell if this is a fad, a tagline or a key message. It seems though that Oracle has made interesting changes – from the acquisitions which have changed their own technology stack, but also how seriously they take the digital disruption.

I was at the event last May, where Oracle introduced the idea of shifting from an IT focus to a focus on the CMO’s as a buyer. It is interesting to see how the acquisitions Oracle has made have also changed their culture and their seriousness towards using databases in a new way. And their desire to be the company brands trust to– be the one you come to —to make all the changes you need to make -i.e., to integrate the old with the new and drive the newest trends in technology. Changes like this are not easily made. And brands need and want someone to trust.

My take?

Clearly the leadership at Oracle is committed to a change and courageous enough to put the resources behind it to make it happen. Business as usual, is no longer usual. The business has shifted… the future looks bright. Time will tell, but I believe the commitment, the desire and the conviction is there to go the distance.


VP and Principle Analyst, Covering Marketing, Sales, Customer Service and Creating Great Customer Experiences



Data as a Service: Targeted to A Business Use Case & Integrated into Business Applications

If you have not seen the Oracle Data as a Service offering, it maybe something you’ll want to consider. Why? Big Data is now one of the hottest topics. The issue is more data is not helpful unless the data is actionable and it provides insights to act on.  What seems to be on Oracle’s mind is:

  • Separating data services from applications
  • Allowing the data to be used by any application of your choice and
  • Offering external data to enrich business results.

In essence, what we are talking about is making data scalable, have interoperability, portability and well of course — last but not least, secure.

A data-driven business would need the answers to these types of questions, for instance for:

  • Marketing: Who should my prospects be? or How should I segment my list? or What should I say? or What have I said in the past that resulted in high lead conversions rates? The type of data Marketing would need would be information about a prospects shopping interests or past transactions
  • Customer Service: What are customers saying about my products / services/ our brand? Or What types of trends should I be looking for? The data the business would need would be around what are people saying about the brand and what are they sharing about the brand?
  • Sales:  How can I tell if I am talking to the right person in the organization who can answer my question or am I just wasting my time? Or what are all the ways I could get in contact with the company? The data needs there are things like business data and linked social handles to actual people in the company.

The outcome for Marketing would be that the Marketer would have the right prospective audience and be able to service up the right ads and content across any channel. The outcome for Customer Service might be the ability to increase retention with better social listening and sentiment or signals on how customers are feeling about the brand. For Sales the outcome might be improved sales efficiency with better insights and leads that convert to more sales, higher value sales or longer customer lifetime values.

But many businesses are lacking the competitive edge they should have when using data. This is often because the business:

  • Lacks a common data identifier across channels and across the enterprise
  • Finds it difficult to verify the quality of the data from the various sources of data (your own or data from 3rd party sources)
  • Has data in silos and it can not be easily transferable into an action across various platforms
  • Has a bunch of point solutions that don’t connect with enterprise-wide view of the data
  • Has not figured out the complex legal, commercial and privacy rights to navigate with the data and stay in compliance.

One solution to these issues appears to be what Oracle is presenting as Data as a Service (DaaS). This is where the data is offered as a service, and is uncoupled from any application and targeted to a buyer for a specific use case and easily integrated into a business application.

The four components of that are:

  • Data Ingestion
  • Value Extraction
  • Rights Management and
  • Data Activation

across all channels, with an ID unification system or process and a scalable infrastructure.

After the briefing, an example of the use of this type of system was shown for Marketing, where there was a 5x lift in performance vs traditional data and 2.5x in performance goals using data modeling. The audience for this type of Data as a Service for Marketing is targeted at Marketers, publishers, ad networks, exchanges and tech vendors and would be used to prospect at scale, serve up relevant ads and content across online, mobile, search, social and video.

An example of Data as a Service for Social showed a 5x in fan engagement, competitive intelligence, consumer intent capabilities and purchase language insights (i.e., know what your customers are saying when they actually are talking about buying something….) The ability to extract valuable information from unstructured social data is key to understanding consumer behavior and serve them well. The audience for this type of data is Marketers, customer service executives, Sales, e-commerce and social media managers.

To be able to give attribution to what is driving customer behavior, understand that and then use it to make real business decisions means that companies must be able to know more about who the data is coming from and what the data means, which leads us to the idea of  “addressability and ID (identification.) This ID graph is key to making the data operationalized, scalable and result in a business outcome. The question for you is, where are you on the maturity capability of your data and are you using a data as a service vendor or parsing through data in separate systems and trying to tie it together later?

Big data brings big promise. It also brings with it big issues if one is not skilled in the area of data addressability and ID to result in business outcome attribution. Where do you think most companies are on this Data as a Service maturity capability scale?

VP and Principle Analyst, Constellation Research

See you at Constellation’s 4th Annual Connected Enterprise

The Executive Innovation Conference | October 29th-31st Half Moon Bay, CA, | Ritz Carlton 









Authenticity is Need MORE Now Than Ever! Benioff vs. Oracle’s Debacle

As a Former Forrester Analyst, I attended all the software conferences. Now I only attend the ones that I think are really relevant to my clients. What’s nice about being an independent software and business analyst is that I don’t have to pretend any more to say a vendor is great when they are not and I don’t have to be afraid of speaking the truth.

Why Oracle allowed Benioff to speak at previous OpenWorld’s is beyond me, when they are competitors. But they did. Maybe Oracle didn’t see that they were competitors. I think that they looked down on Salesforce and didn’t see what that the world had changed. It’s not the first time this has happened.

Sometimes even the brightest people don’t-know-what-they-don’t-know. In Joel Barker’s book, Paradigms: The Business of Discovering the Future, he uses the following examples to illustrate how we negate ideas through our own filters or perceptions of the world. When we see the world from our own limited perspective, sound solutions are dismissed or overlooked.

“The Earth is the center of the Universe.” PTOLEMY, Astronomer, 300 B.C.

“The phonograph is not of any commercial value.” THOMAS EDISON, inventor of the phonograph, 1880

“Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?” Harry Warner, WARNER BROTHERS PICTURES, 1927

“There’s no reason for anyone to have a computer in their home.” Ken Olsen, President of DIGITAL EQUIPMENT CORPORATION, 1977

It’s interesting this year that they did what seems to be a last minute change of heart around having Marc speak. What it did is drive all the PR to, which as we all know, Marc is a master marketer.

I’m not at OpenWorld because there is really nothing new. Oracle’s Fusion has been promised for years. Their customers are frustrated by the user interface, specially when it comes to Customer Service and I don’t think they are leading the social business capabilities that business must have. Their acquisition of InQuira was a good move.  I did attend Dreamforce and I spoke on the ROI of social media and had a great panel with real-world experience of transforming their organizations.

But Social Media is the MOST important thing that has happened to business in 100 years. Companies need software to facilitate this. Maybe that’s why Oracle decided to un-invite Benioff? The handling of this leaves lot’s of room for speculation on why they would do this.

What’s difficult in the connected social network world we live in, is excuses like, “We offered Benioff a different time slot and he choose not to accept it” doesn’t fly in the face of the need for companies to be authentic, genuine and human. This event has been set in stone for a long time. The last minute change up of Benioff’s time slot doesn’t hit the mark with respect to honestly.

It’s a new world we are living in. We are all under a microscope that our behavior as brands gets played out on the big stage called life. And social media is the giant megaphone and broadcast system that reaches millions and billions in a nano-second.

What do you think Oracle should do now? Let it go? Apologize and admit that they changed the time slot because they felt threatened by Salesforce? Make up a different story? Love to hear your thoughts!

Here’s some other articles: New York Times, IT News,

Forbes AllThingsD

Here’s my friend Charlie Issac’s youtube video on Larry Ellison’s speech- that speech may have been the tipping point to the change in the Benioff schedule…