How Micro Focus transformed its legacy marketing platform and enhanced sales

James has a passion for how technologies influence business and has several Mobile World Congress events under his belt. James has interviewed a variety of leading figures in his career, from former Mafia boss Michael Franzese, to Steve Wozniak, and Jean Michel Jarre. James can be found tweeting at @James_T_Bourne.


Micro Focus is certainly an intriguing company from a branding perspective. Its tagline is “application modernisation and management”, yet many will recognise the company as the de facto arbiter of the 55 year old COBOL language, made famous by Grace Hopper, as well as its Borland portfolio and IBM mainframes.

The company admitted there was a ‘lack of market awareness’ of the Micro Focus brand and turned to Oracle Marketing Cloud to transform its marketing platforms. The challenges facing Oracle were clear: a lack of awareness, a proliferation of platforms with ageing data and unreliable analytics, and a lack of internal collaboration between sales and marketing.

One of the key steps Oracle took in rectifying this was to centralise Micro Focus’ approach to inbound and outbound data, with a single login, one set of tools, one technology stack, and one team responsible for managing it all.

Mark Plant, marketing operations director at Micro Focus, noted the importance of that change. “Having an easily accessible bank of approved assets makes it easy for our teams to maintain consistency and plays a critical role in the overall success of our marketing,” he tells MarketingTech.

This is one of the keys to the marketing cloud; a 360 degree view of the customer, combining data and analytics to ensure no open goals are missed, and conversions and engagement go up. According to Oracle, Micro Focus realised that “instead of wasting time figuring out why analytics from system A and system B weren’t adding up, the company realised that they needed a single system that could capture, analyse and segment data from every source.”

This series of systems was another problem Micro Focus faced. Plant notes how Oracle tackled the legacy systems, calling the process of using an implementation partner to integrate with the CMS “relatively simple.” The result meant that Micro Focus could nurture programmes across the entire portfolio – outbound campaigns around IBM mainframe, campaigns on digital performance for Borland, and customer retention programs for COBOL, all from a single location.

As Oracle notes: “Having this feedback enables teams to diagnose and remedy any failings in their marketing message or the prospects that they are targeting. They can also recycle campaigns, reusing the bits that worked best and disposing of those that didn’t.

“Above all, it has led to increasingly close collaboration between sales and marketing – no mean feat, considering that this supposedly symbiotic relationship is, in many businesses, fraught with misunderstanding.”

Plant notes the importance of sales in the “lengthy process” of choosing Oracle, noting: “Oracle Eloqua’s Prospect Profiler and Engage functionality, which allowed the Sales team to view prospects’ digital activities and make use of trackable emails, were key factors in making our final choice.”

The results of the integration included increased marketing contribution to the sales pipeline by 200%, strengthened relationships with customers and partners, and 100,000 hashtag impressions on the IBM mainframe 50th anniversary campaign.

“Having centralised assets is essential in ensuring greater flexibility and productivity for our sales and field marketing teams,” Plant adds.

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