Earlier this week, I spent a day at OpenWorld to see if there were any big on-demand happenings going on. There were. Salesforce.com was ALL OVER the event. You really couldn’t miss their massive booth, Mini Cooper giveaways and “blue sky with fluffy clouds” branding that now dominate their marketing materials. I also noticed the .com missing in the materials…now just Salesforce. The cloud company?
Oracle let them come to the show and SFDC spent millions making sure they made a mark. Lots of speculation why Oracle let them in. SFDC CEO Mark Benioff made a point to thank Oracle during his speech (they are a big hardware customer, I guess). Ellison has been in the news recently taking shots at Salesforce.com, cloud, on-demand, but Benioff basically just hammered away on the single instance, shared, multi-tenant delivery model in his speech which, in effect, blasts Oracle the software company, but in an educational context.
The Oracle girls made sure to give everyone waiting in line for Benioff’s speech (100′s of us, in the driving rain) a white “Oracle CRM On Demand” hat, but that really was too little, too late. That theater was packed but only a few white hats could be seen.
Salesforce.com is disruptive technology. Ellison is correct when he says they will still need Oracle “stuff” to run their platform but he’s missing one point. Think how may of SFDC’s 62K customers suddenly didn’t need to buy their own Oracle servers, databases, etc. to make their CRM system run? Good for the customer, bad for Oracle.
There are more chapters in this story. These companies are intertwined beginning with Ellison’s early investments, they’re based 30 miles apart, and they have brash, smart CEOs who are locking horns at every turn. Should be interesting to follow.