In return, Oracle has agreed to integrate its Fusion HCM and Financial Cloud with Salesforce.com's application and platform. Fusion HCM is Oracle's fastest-growing cloud application, and in the area of financial performance management, Oracle has a vast customer base that's ripe to move from Oracle's market-leading on-premises Hyperion applications to the company's Financial Cloud.
As was the case in a Oracle-Microsoft partnership announced on Monday, the real driver of the Oracle-Salesforce deal is likely customer desire for interoperability and long-term clarity. Oracle CEO Larry Ellison telegraphed the partnerships last week during an earnings conference call, saying that Salesforce and Microsoft would be "committing to using our technology for years to come."
Salesforce chairman and CEO Marc Benioff endorsed interoperability in a statement, saying, "Larry and I both agree that Salesforce.com and Oracle need to integrate clouds." He said the combination promised "the simplicity of Salesforce.com and the power of Oracle."
[ Want more on important new Oracle partnerships? Read Oracle Goes All In On Microsoft's Cloud. ]
"When customers choose cloud applications they expect rapid low-cost implementations; they also expect application integrations to work right out of the box," said Ellison in a statement. "That's why Marc and I believe it's important that our two companies work together."
There's no shortage of integrations that Salesforce customers need to make between CRM and popular Oracle applications. In another cloud example, Oracle acquired Eloqua early this year, a marketing application that has close ties and thousands of customers in common with Salesforce.
Salesforce has always run on Oracle Database, but rumors had been circulating that it might oust Oracle and switch to the combination of PostgreSQL and NoSQL technologies. But with the pressure on to integrate the ExactTarget marketing business acquired in early June and to improve profitability, the last thing Salesforce.com needed was a potentially expensive and disruptive architecture changes that would make little difference to customers.
Sticking with Oracle brings continuity, reassurance for joint Oracle-Salesforce customers and it may even curb Ellison's criticisms of Salesforce.com. In recent years Oracle Open World conferences have seen Ellison disparage the security of Salesforce multi-tenant applications and the "non-industry-standard" use of Java by the company's Heroku development unit.
With Salesforce.com presumably embracing the Oracle 12c multi-tenant database, coming out later this week, and Oracle Java, Ellison will surely emphasize that the top player in enterprise cloud computing runs on Oracle. Beyond Oracle Database, Salesforce.com also plans to use Oracle Exadata engineered systems, but it's unclear whether those deployments will entirely displace the Dell servers previously used in the company's data centers.