Global CIO: Larry Ellison's New Acquisition Underscores Vertical Strategy

Ellison says Oracle can overtake SAP by providing more industry-specific functionality, and his latest deal underscores his belief.

Bob Evans, Contributor

April 19, 2010

3 Min Read

Oracle "predicts that Phase Forward's SaaS-based integrated clinical research suite which manages clinical development Phase 1 clinical trials through regulatory submission to post-approval monitoring, will help Oracle's life science customers more effectively capture, access, and share data securely," writes Lewis.

She then offers some industry-specific analysis on the acquisition from IDC Health Insights research director Alan Louie:

"It's a little bit of a surprise, but as one begins to look at it, this is a pretty good opportunity for Oracle," Louie says in the article.

The article goes on to outline the exact type of deep vertical expertise and functionality of which Ellison spoke, and points to the types of extensive business-process automation and integration that CIOs in all industries should be demanding from both SAP and Oracle:

According to Louie, the life sciences industry has been moving toward a more comprehensive interconnected e-clinical solution. Customers want technology that connects the different e-clinical segments such as data capture, clinical trial management systems, and safety management processes (emphasis added). "Oracle has market-leading clinical data management systems, they have market-leading clinical trial management systems with Siebel clinical, but their front-end electronic data capture solution, Oracle RDC, is not what one would define as best-of-breed," Louie said. "Oracle's purchase of Phase Forward provides the database giant with access to InForm, an electronic data capture solution which is among the best in the industry," Louie said. Other advantages for Oracle, according to Louie, include acquiring Phase Forward's interactive voice response technology, its clinical trial design tools, and its FDA electronic submission platform.

If analyst Louie's breakdown is correct, this acquisition will be a big step forward for Oracle's healthcare and life-sciences customers. Plus, this deep-domain competition between SAP and Oracle will create a seller's market for top-tier vertical-market software companies.

Those are two very positive indicators, and the ultimate winner in the SAP-Oracle fight for applications supremacy could well be determined by which company is better able to identify, package, and leverage those two opportunities into clearly defined business value for customers in all industries.

RECOMMENDED READING: Global CIO: Oracle's Larry Ellison Declares War On IBM And SAP Global CIO: Larry Ellison's Nightmare: 10 Ways SAP Can Beat Oracle Oracle To Buy Phase Forward For $685 Million Global CIO: Oracle, SAP, And The End Of Enterprise Software Companies Global CIO: Microsoft Pushes BI For The Masses: 500 Million Prospects Global CIO: Oracle Delivers On Larry Ellison's MySQL Promises GlobalCIO Bob Evans is senior VP and director of InformationWeek's Global CIO unit.

To find out more about Bob Evans, please visit his page.

For more Global CIO perspectives, check out Global CIO,
or write to Bob at [email protected].

About the Author(s)

Bob Evans


Bob Evans is senior VP, communications, for Oracle Corp. He is a former InformationWeek editor.

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