Oracle's recent purchase of Involver was just the latest in a string of acquisitions the database company has made in the last couple of years. It was also one of many purchases that would bolster Oracle's social standing in the enterprise. Oracle's increasingly close rival, Salesforce, has been making its fair share of social-focused acquisitions. Indeed, examining the two companies' acquisitions during the last couple of years reveals what seems to be a race to acquire technology that will extend and--in many cases--fill gaps in Salesforce's and Oracle's social business offerings.
Just this week Oracle announced another planned acquisition of a social company, SelectMinds, a cloud-based provider of social talent sourcing and corporate alumni management applications.
Oracle and Salesforce.com compete directly in the area of customer relationship management, with the emphasis shifting to online and social sales and customer service. Both companies have recently targeted companies that will bolster their capabilities in these areas.
This pattern of dueling acquisitions intensified, according to The BrainYard Editor David F. Carr, when Salesforce.com stepped up its focus on social business with the introduction of Chatter and the acquisition of Radian6. Oracle countered with the acquisition of RightNow, in part for its ability to connect and service customers through social media interaction.
The rush to acquire social networking technology by vendors of enterprise-focused products demonstrates the importance of social and the ways in which it is increasingly being woven into organizations' business processes.
In a story on Oracle's recent acquisition of social media marketing company Vitrue, AdExchanger asked "senior sources" for their take on the recent buying spree by Oracle, Salesforce.com, and others. Tim Fogarty, senior social media strategies at M80, was quoted in the article as saying: "The acquisition of Vitrue by Oracle ... marks yet another big move involving a social media technology company. As in many other sectors of the tech space, the largest players are seeking to offer all-inclusive toolsets to their customers, vertically integrating services and consolidating revenue streams."
Salesforce has stated clearly and relatively early that its thinking that social networking technologies and models will--and should--be a key driver for enterprise applications moving forward. Oracle was later to the table and has been more cautious in its social forays, although the company seems to be making up for what is arguably lost time when it comes to social.
In this slideshow, The BrainYard lists some of the key social business-focused buys Oracle and Salesforce have made in the last couple of years. We look at what the acquisitions bring each company and, ultimately, what all of this means for their customers.