Sales representatives at IFC Group, one of Spain’s leading developers and distributors of skincare products, are constantly on the road, engaging with customers about new products and ensuring that orders are fulfilled as quickly and efficiently as possible.
To do their jobs, those sales representatives need real-time information—from customer relationship management (CRM), business intelligence, and a host of other data systems—and they need it from wherever they happen to be. They also need to be able to use mission-critical applications when they’re offline. So not only must the sales team be mobile-ready, but so must all of the enterprise systems with which the team interfaces.
Turn on the JET
Oracle JET makes it simple and efficient to build applications that consume and interact with Oracle products and Oracle Cloud services, including Oracle Mobile Cloud Service.
To ensure that its mobile workers have the technology tools necessary to do their jobs—anytime and anywhere—IFC is using Oracle Mobile Cloud Service, deploying the first such app to its sales representatives across Spain.
“Their office is their own house, and they spend much of their time traveling around the country,” says Jorge Mariscal, operations and IT manager at IFC (Industrial Farmacéutica Cantabria). “They would go to the pharmacy to collect or to receive a purchase order, but they couldn’t input data into the company systems until they returned to their homes. They would have to wait and spend at least two or three hours completing all their sales orders, creating new contacts, and so on.”
The Oracle Mobile Cloud Service app connects with an on-premises Oracle’s Siebel CRM application, which in turn is integrated with IFC’s enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems. With the mobile app, salespeople can now create, modify, and delete center, hospital, and pharmacy supplier records; place sales orders; manage the collection and return of products; and record their daily activities, such as the length of customer meetings and where they took place.
With Oracle Mobile Cloud Service, mobilizing data is both possible and easy./ Jorge Mariscal, Operations and IT Manager, IFC
In addition, sales reps can complete tasks whether they’re connected to the internet or not. “When they return home, or when there is an internet connection available, they just need to press Synchronize, and that’s all,” Mariscal says. “All the information goes through the system, and from the system through them.”
Before choosing Oracle Mobile Cloud Service, IFC investigated open source solutions, but the company’s leaders found that their lower initial cost doesn’t always save money—or time—in the end. This is especially true given the complexities and ever-changing nature of mobile operating systems and the devices that run them, Mariscal says.
Take It to the MAX: Oracle Mobile Application Accelerator (Oracle MAX), a feature of Oracle Mobile Cloud Service, lets business users—citizen-developers—quickly compose and deploy mobile apps in the cloud. Oracle MAX components expose key business functionality and make it easy for business units to develop mobile applications rapidly and iteratively.
IFC runs Oracle Database, Siebel CRM, Oracle’s JD Edwards solutions for ERP, Oracle Business Intelligence solutions, and Oracle WebCenter. IFC has integrated its on-premises Siebel CRM and Oracle WebCenter content systems, and Oracle Mobile Cloud Service uses the existing integrations and APIs.
“Oracle Mobile Cloud Service lets service developers leverage existing APIs—without modifying them—and convert them into mobile-centric APIs based on REST services,” says Suhas Uliyar, vice president of product management at Oracle. “Oracle Mobile Cloud Service also provides a toolset that lets developers very quickly shape the APIs for mobile usage and consumption.”
Mariscal says IFC went with Oracle Mobile Cloud Service because it’s easy to use and integrates well with the company’s underlying Oracle systems.
“By just signing our contract with Oracle, we have our complete platform at our disposal without the need to install anything on our computers,” he says. “That was very important for us because we have a small IT staff, as you can imagine, because it’s not our core business.”
A Good Problem to Have
Moving forward, the IFC mobile app, which runs on Android and iOS mobile devices, will enable sales reps to share product presentations and technical information with customers. IFC also may connect its Oracle Documents Cloud Service and its on-premises Oracle WebCenter software to better manage and share content with customers and employees.
“Businesses want to empower their employees with all the data they need to do their jobs at the point of interaction and across multiple lines of business,” says Oracle’s Uliyar. “Businesses that understand the value of Oracle Mobile Cloud Service are thinking about building a portfolio of mobile apps.”
Where will IFC use Oracle Mobile Cloud Service next? The company is looking to mobilize some nonsales processes—to approve or reject data, for example, or approve or reject time-off requests, Mariscal says. “We can now mobilize any internal data,” he says. “With Oracle Mobile Cloud Service, mobilizing data is both possible and easy.”
Debra Donston-Miller has been covering the intersection between business and technology for more than 20 years. She was previously the editor of eWEEK, editorial director of eWEEK Labs, and audience development director for Ziff Davis Enterprise.