NRMA, Coles reveal sizable Oracle deployments



news US technology giant Oracle has revealed that two major Australian organisations, Coles and the NRMA, have chosen Oracle as the basis for new IT projects, using technology ranging from Oracle’s customer relationship management platform to its Exadata Database Machine and Oracle Linux.

According to Oracle’s statement, the NRMA (the National Roads and Motorists’ Association, which provides roadside assistance and associated services such as car rental) has picked a suite of Oracle systems to help “set new standards for how the organisation connects with its membership base” and to help create what it described as “customer-centric business processes” across the company.

The NRMA is planning to deploy Oracle’s CRM platform, including its Loyalty Management solutions, to assist it in managing its customer data. The organization will also implement Oracle’s Real-Time Decisions platform, which is designed to deliver decisions and recommendations in real-time at the point of customer interaction.

“When combined with Oracle CRM, users are empowered with an intelligent, self-learning cross-sell and retention management capability,” Oracle said. “Call centre agents will be able to identify and present targeted marketing messages at the point of interaction with the customer. The system will help enable users to predict the risk of attrition or churn as well as the optimal retention treatment.”

But that’s not all. The NRMA has also chosen to implement Oracle’s E-Business Suite Financials, its Hyperion Planning platform, which will help the organisations integrate its financial and operational planning models, and also Oracle’s Business Intelligence (Enterprise Edition) suite. The applications will be underpinned by Oracle’s Fusion Middleware platform, including the WebLogic Suite and Identity Management to control staff access to the system. The implementation started at the end of June and is being carried out by Capgemini.

David Lumb, executive general manager of Membership and Brand at NRMA said in Oracle’s statement: “By achieving a single view of our members and customers with Oracle, we expect to build on our established leadership in service excellence by delivering an even better and relevant member and customer experience.”

Separately, Oracle also announced that giant retailer Coles had deployed the company’s Exadata Database Machine and Enterprise Manager 12c running on Oracle Linux to enable what the vendor described as ‘critical trend reporting” during retail seasonal spikes.

Oracle said that prior to deploying the Exadata platform, Coles’ data warehouse infrastructure was under pressure to deliver within service level agreements, especially during seasonal peaks – such as Christmas. By moving to the Oracle Exadata machine, Coles’ processes improved three to four times out of the box, Oracle said, with four to six times’ faster query performance so that Coles could meet its SLAs.

“Utilising the intelligent software capabilities in the Oracle Exadata Database Machine, Coles can now also store 20+ TB of trending historical data, enabling new, complex analytical reports to help better predict the needs and potential issues for Coles’ stores,” Oracle said.

The news comes as a Coles IT staffer, Chris Thompson, who holds the title of database manager, was recognised as Data Warehouse Leader of the Year for the Japan and Asia-Pacific region at Oracle’s OpenWorld conference in San Francisco last year. Oracle noted that Thompson and his team at Coles were responsible for re-architecting the new data warehouse implementation in 12 weeks.

The wins come as just some of a recent string of contract and deployment victories for Oracle in Australia. In late November last year, for example, Oracle revealed that it signed a wide-ranging $63 million contract with the Federal Department of Defence earlier this year that will see the US technology giant supply virtually all of its major product lines, ranging from its popular PeopleSoft, Database and Fusion products to its Exadata hardware and even its Exalogic Elastic Cloud technology.

Virgin Mobile Australia has also recently commented on how happy it is with its Oracle Exadata machines, and in May last year Oracle revealed its involvement in a series of new Australian technology rollout projects, with all of the initiatives using multiple pieces of the US software giant’s complex software stack and some additionally using some of the hardware products which it has been pushing following its integration of Sun Microsystems. Some of the names revealed at that point were home improvement retailer Masters, as well as Surat Basin Homes and Australian Hearing.

The company’s co-president Mark Hurd is also in Australia at the moment meeting with key clients.

As I wrote in a previous article about Oracle:

“When most vendors publish customer case studies, they typically will do so to highlight the strengths of a particular product line. Not so with Oracle. It seems that once you start talking to Oracle about one of the company’s products, you will often end up talking about (and buying) more. Eventually, it seems, many companies have ended up using multiple pieces of Oracle infrastructure throughout their business.

Now, that’s not to say that there aren’t downsides to becoming a core Oracle customer. The company’s lock-in and price headaches are legendary within the industry, and despite buying Sun Microsystems and picking up MySQL along with it over the past few years, “open” is still not a core Oracle concept. I’m sure Gartner has about a billion reports you can buy on how to mitigate these sorts of issues when dealing with Larry Ellison’s giant creation.”

Image credit: Oracle, Creative Commons


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