(NYSE: CRM) has been a dominant force in the sales force automation and CRM markets, thanks to the company’s early embrace of the cloud.
Oracle (NASDAQ: ORCL) hopes to halt that momentum. At this week’s Oracle OpenWorld conference in San Francisco, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison saved some of his most pointed comments for
Early in his talk, he got on a roll about cloud computing, complaining that some vendors were rebranding old technology and calling it “Cloud Computing.” Then he got specific and claimed that is really only offering software as a service (SaaS), which he dismissed as ten-year old technology. He considers Salesforce merely SaaS and not the cloud.
A true cloud application can scale up and down seamlessly in pace with demand, said Ellison. EC2, he said, fits the bill, while does not. Why? It has to throttle down demand by turning off non-mission critical functions to ensure that application performance remains high.
The licensing model of also came in for attack. It is priced per number of users, not by what is used.
Is Oracle Exalogic and CRM the Answer?
So what does Ellison offer up for sales force automation? He made the case that the new Oracle Exalogic Elastic Cloud provides a cloud-in-a-box architecture to help companies implement the cloud in the CRM field.
Oracle backs this up with a range of CRM tools that could sit on such a box such as Siebel CRM, CRM on Demand and a new batch of Oracle Fusion applications that include CRM modules.
Anthony Lye, vice president of Oracle CRM, covered Oracle CRM on Demand release 18, which includes a ton of new features.
“Probably the most significant change is adding best-in-class marketing,” said Lye. He said the CRM vendor community has been saying for years that it covered sales, service and marketing equally well. This, he said, was a misrepresentation.
“We did well in sales, pretty good in service and did nothing at all in marketing,” said Lye.
The result: Companies with a CRM system had to go to a third party for a complementary marketing tool. To address this, Release 18 has sales force automation along with marketing and a demand generation system.

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