Industrial manufacturer and distributor Sealing Devices Inc. is realizing measurable gains after implementing enterprise
applications, including CRM software, from Oracle Corp. In fact, the midmarket company's early experience exemplifies the way Oracle would like its integrated CRM, ERP and financial applications to be received.
Sealing Devices, based in Lancaster, N.Y., makes industrial products, including gaskets and o-rings. Two years ago, the 150-employee firm looked to upgrade its internal systems, which included homegrown CRM, contact management and quoting applications. By December 2002, the company had gone live with Oracle 11i for CRM, ERP and financials.
For Patrick Harris, the company's director of information technology, choosing to go with an integrated package to meet all of Sealing Devices' needs at once was a no-brainer.
"Another [best-of-breed] CRM tool would have needed to offer serious feature advantages to outweigh the integrated-package angle," Harris said. "We would not be live on all these systems today if they weren't integrated. To tie something like Siebel to another ERP tool would cost 50% of what we spent with Oracle."
Harris said that working within limited consulting budget constraints and having little to no internal experience with Oracle software proved challenging, but the implementation process went as smoothly as he could have hoped.
One of the major thrusts of Sealing Devices' project was improving communication between its inside and outside sales staff. Harris said the company was focused on bolstering the organization and control of its sales process, as well as increasing opportunity management.
While Sealing Devices didn't have the budget to do a front-end return on investment (ROI) analysis, Harris said the benefits of the Oracle systems are already apparent.
"We were using contact management tools before, but there wasn't a great incentive for the sales team to participate," he said. "There was a Big Brother fear among the reps going into the Oracle deployment, but they see how it can help them to close more deals, so they're buying in."
According to Harris, human resistance to change was one of the biggest challenges his project faced but, as time passed, the system has proven its value to skeptical workers.
Before deploying the Oracle package, Sealing Devices would gather data using file folders to create statistics for analysis. Even though his company has only been fully live on the applications for a few months, Harris said, employees have already discovered that some statistics they previously used to create projections weren't accurate.
Looking forward, Sealing Devices plans to leverage its improved data into new forecasting applications. Other plans include building an integrated online storefront and launching Web-based support for customers and staff. The company will also roll out Oracle's incentive compensation application.
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