Oracle is getting deeper into collaboration and the cloud. Earlier this week, the technology giant announced that it is launching a Public Cloud containing its Customer Relationship Management (CRM) application, its Human Capital Management (HCM) application, and a social-networking environment.
The announcements, made at the company's OpenWorld conference in San Francisco, position the company in the quickly growing market of cloud-based services and collaboration for businesses, areas that Salesforce, Amazon, Google, SAP, IBM and others are fast developing.
The services are part of the company's new Public Cloud for enterprises, which includes its Fusion applications such as CRM and HCM, a Social Network for working with business partners and customers, plus services for Java and, of course, database.
The Public Cloud is intended to provide integrated services that are managed, hosted and supported by Oracle. Pricing will be based on a monthly subscription model, and each app can also be purchased independently. Common services include resource management, security, data exchange and integration, virus scanning, white-list management, and centralized, self-service monitoring.
For the cloud version of CRM, customers can begin with using one module and then expand to the suite. It features the ability to combine customer and product data with all CRM processes, which the company said was a "first" for cloud-based CRM.
Similarly, the HCM Cloud Service allows for starting small and then expanding over time, and includes core HR, payroll and benefits management capabilities. Features include tracking employee information via employee dashboards, maintaining worker directories, integrating employee provisioning with identity management, and delivery of management for compensation, incentives, performance and goals.
The new Oracle Social Network is designed so that businesses can find and collaborate with suppliers, partners, and customers, using information from human resources and private social networks. A range of collaboration tools includes personal profiles, groups, activity feeds, status updates, forums, file sharing, instant messages and web conferencing.
Integration of the Social Network with Fusion Applications in the cloud allows real-time feeds to inform the social interaction, and to help resolve business issues.
While Oracle has previously expressed some reluctance about cloud-based services, the market pressure from Salesforce and others has apparently led it to reconsider. In September, for instance, Salesforce bought Assistly, which allows corporate customers to set up customer service in minutes, via the cloud. This acquisition added to a variety of cloud-based, socially-connected applications Salesforce offers.
Brad Shimmin, an analyst with industry research firm Current Analysis, noted that Oracle has had collaborative applications before, such as Oracle Beehive collaboration software and social elements in its Web Center suite.
But now, he said, social networking is "tied with Oracle Fusion apps," and built with Fusion middleware, to create an integrated approach available through the new cloud that allows quick provisioning for specific purposes.
Posted: 2011-10-11 @ 11:08am PT
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