Sales Force Automation and Performance Management

How SAP And Oracle Approach The Needs Of Their Clients

According to Webopedia, Sales Force Automation is a method of employing specifically designed software by means of which to automate actions and procedures involved in activities of a sales force.

Abbreviated “SFA”, Sales Force Automation is a technique of using software to automate the “business” tasks involved in sales, including order processing, contact management, information sharing, inventory monitoring and control, order tracking, customer management, sales forecast analyses and employee performance evaluation.  The Webopedia article linked below also notes that, “SFA is often used interchangeably with CRM; however, CRM does not necessarily imply automation of sales tasks”. (1)

Further, another aspect of “automating” part of modern marketing/sales processes is Sales Performance Management (“SPM”) software that “”¦employs data analysis and automation software to manage sales quotas, territories, incentive compensation (commissions and bonuses), job evaluation and sales coaching and forecasting.” (2) There are some similarities between CRM and SPM in evaluation and sales forecasting capabilities of both types of software, but SPM differs in fundamental ways. While SFA focuses primarily on account tracking and automating sales tasks like order processing and tracking, inventory monitoring and customer management, SPM is designed to deliver a more cohesive analysis of all sales activities. (1)

A Forrester Research (3) analyst examined the different ways SAP and Oracle approach the needs of their clients. The analyst examined the disparate histories and focus of two leaders in their field.  The first order of business was to compare the disparate growth patterns business philosophies of these leaders in their field.  She found that SAP rapidly assumed a leadership position in the field and has maintained that position ever since.  On the other hand, Oracle changed roles.  It converted from being a database provider to other lines of business via acquisitions of software companies.  Further, Oracle soon acquired Sun Microsystems.

The analyst stated that Oracle’s focus is more around what it can provide through its stack of products ““ all the way from servers and storage through database and middleware to business intelligence and applications ““ both general purpose and more industry-specific.  She also said that “SAP is looking to win over its customers who are currently using Oracle middleware and Oracle database to using SAP middleware, SAP’s Sybase relational database and SAP’s HANA in-memory computing platform.”

The same analyst also ventured that viewed the acquisitions of both business intelligence pure play Business Objects and mobile specialist Sybase as being key in reinvigorating SAP and expanding its portfolio to make it more competitive with Oracle across a broader vista of product offerings.

In addition, she opined that the competition has expanded outside the limits of an ERP contest. She wrote: “SAP has been more bullish about in-memory technology and cloud computing, but”¦It could be argued that SAP has embraced cloud computing concepts more warmly than Oracle “¦”


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(1) Webopedia Article
(2) Enterprise Apps SAP vs. Oracle
(3) Forrester Research is a “”¦global research and advisory firm”¦(which) provides proprietary research, consumer and business data”¦”

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