When it rains, it pours (Oracle) clouds

  • 6-Jan-2014

Late last year, Oracle announced it has agreed to acquire Responsys for $1.5 Bn.  San Bruno, CA-based Responsys makes marketing software and targets B2C scenarios.

Oracle already had Eloqua as part of its Marketing Cloud. Both Eloqua and Responsys have similar functionality; it is the focus that was different (B2B vs B2C). So along with the software, what's also important is that Oracle also gets Responsys' 1000 or so employees who have deep expertise in B2C marketing scenarios -- something that Oracle lacked, with its traditional focus on B2B.

Of course, Oracle is not the only vendor to have multiple marketing software tools in their arsenal. Salesforce also has somewhat overlapping tools in ExactTarget and Pardot, so Oracle has just gotten even.

As a customer, choices mean you have access to a broader set of capabilities, spanning a very diverse range of scenarios from a single vendor. This means you have fewer vendors and contracts to deal with (even if not immediately), and signing up for "all you can eat" types of deals can have cost advantages also.

Let's look at some of the technical dimensions here though.

According to Oracle,

"With Responsys, the Oracle Marketing Cloud now provides leading business to consumer (B2C), business to business (B2B), content and social marketing capabilities on a single platform, supporting any industry or business model"

So what is this single platform?

At a high level, there's Oracle’s Customer Experience Cloud, which in turn consists of a Sales Cloud, a Commerce Cloud, a Service Cloud, a Social Cloud, and a Marketing Cloud. Each of these have multiple suites and products. Social Cloud consists of products acquired from Vitrue, Collective Intellect, and Involver. Similarly, Marketing Cloud now consists of Eloqua and Responsys, each of them having multiple modules.  So for example, Responsys' Interact suite actually has five products/modules namely Profile, Program, Campaign, Insight, Content and Connect.

As you can see, even if we concentrate only on Social and Marketing Clouds, there are considerable number of modules, products and overlaps in that "single platform."

Oracle has done this before; at some point in time, they had four or five different Portal products. However, it took a really long time for them to actually consolidate and integrate multiple offerings. So while it may be a good thing to get different options from one single vendor, just be very skeptical of what a "single platform" means. Take your time to understand and account for different complexities and overlaps across different products and then chose the right products for your needs.