Friday, December 21, 2012

Oracle Buys Eloqua: Expanding Marketing Footprint


Eloqua's Fit in the Oracle Application Portolio

Eloqua is being brought in as the 'centerpiece of the marketing cloud' solution within the broader Customer Experience Cloud offering.  The Customer Experience Cloud is Oracle's comprehensive go-to-market strategy for its CRM offerings that it introduced in mid-2012.  Additionally, Eloqua will be leveraged with integrations to Fusion CRM and ultimately extended into vertical offerings.  There is overlap with the previously acquired Market2Lead product in terms of campaign capabilities but Oracle spokesmen stated that Eloqua would be the primary product and Market2Lead would be integrated to it.

Market Reaction

First and foremost, Oracle is serious about its CRM business.   According to IDC market numbers, Oracle has led the worldwide CRM applications market since its purchase of Siebel, holding 11% of the market in the 2011 shares data.  However, both SAP and Salesforce.com are within two percentage points of that share fueling Oracle's motivation to maintain and increase the distance.  The current battle ground of competition within the CRM applications market is being fought in the marketing automation segment where, as this IDC Data Map shows, the traditional transactional vendors hold much smaller footprints.  


This acquisition immediately brings to mind the question, 'what will Salesforce.com do now?'  Not only was and is Eloqua a key partner of Salesforce's, the company relied on it and similar partners to provide this capability to its customer base.  Salesforce.com's acquisitions in the marketing arena to date have been focused on social marketing capabilities.  While Oracle was explicit in stating that the product, like the other components of its various applications offerings, is capable of being used in a heterogeneous environment, Salesforce.com won't be happy long sharing its customer base  Eloqua today, has a significant number of Salesforce.com customers in its base as well as Microsoft Dynamics CRM.  Marketo may become far more attractive to Salesforce.com as the new year begins.

Conclusion
Overall, the latest acquisition by Oracle signals a commitment to building a fully comprehensive product offering for its CRM business that covers all the major elements of the CRM applications market.  For Oracle the coming year will be one of bringing integrations and proof points to market.  For the other marketing automation vendors with broad marketing capabilities, specifically Adobe, IBM and SAS, there will be more of a trade-off for customer evaluating products between a CRM suite solution and best-of-breed. 


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