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Oracle (ORCL) recently introduced Siebel 14, an updated version of its on-demand CRM offering. There has been speculation for some time that Oracle would move more aggressively into the SaaS market, but beyond CRM, that hasn’t really happened. Why it hasn’t happened isn’t entirely clear. There may be worry that such a move could derail Oracle’s current sales and licensing model, or Ellison may not want to put Oracle into direct competition with his personal investments of SaaS heavy-weights NetSuite and Salesforce.com.
That’s not to say that Oracle has no SaaS initiative. But it isn’t that easy to find. When searching for ‘SaaS’ on the Oracle Technology Network, a single hit comes up alongside a prompt asking if you didn’t mean to have entered ‘sagas’. A search on Google reveals a couple of pages that describe the Oracle SaaS program with some annotation provided by the “Oracle SaaS Plugin” blog. The Oracle SaaS program seems to be primarily a partnership strategy based on Oracle technology, bringing together SaaS ISVs, Systems Integrators and Hosting Providers with the common thread of Oracle technology — Oracle is “enabling SaaS vendors to build, deploy and manage Software as a Service”.
Oracle has the pieces from which they could build a true powerhouse operation in the SaaS market. It’s likely that at some point they will decide to move more aggressively into SaaS. It’s just a question of when.