Oracle takes aim at Salesforce with on-demand CRM update

Oracle is making a renewed push against Salesforce with a new version of its on-demand CRM application.

Oracle on Tuesday stepped up its assault on rival Salesforce with a new version of its on-demand CRM (customer relationship management) application.

CRM On Demand Release 16's main new attributes include unlimited custom objects, plus a new single-tenant deployment offering and an accompanying disaster recovery option, all of which seem targeted at large enterprises.

The release also includes eight new languages, for a total of 18, a move that will appeal to multinational companies. New additions are Dutch, Danish, Finnish, Russian, Polish, Swedish, Thai and traditional Chinese.

Meanwhile, while Salesforce uses a multitenant architecture, in which multiple customers share a common infrastructure, with their systems walled off from others inside "virtual partitions," Oracle has also offered a single-tenant option, which provides customers with a dedicated set of back-end resources.

This approach is "optimal for those companies that have the highest levels of regulatory or internal compliance," according to Oracle.

The new Standard Edition single-tenant offeringhas some limitations compared to the enterprise version, which was announced last year. For example, it requires a minimum 750 users instead of 350, and the Enterprise Edition also provides flexible maintenance windows and upgrade schedules.

A number of additional on-demand CRM products will also be available "soon," Oracle said Tuesday. They include offerings for self-service e-billing and price management, as well as an integration between Oracle CRM On Demand and JD Edwards EnterpriseOne.

Oracle's overall message for the market seems to be "we're about enterprise-class SaaS," said 451 Group analyst China Martens.

The company is pushing a "cradle to grave" type of approach for CRM, forming a product continuum that begins with tools like Sales Prospector, graduates to sales force automation and eventually plugs into ERP (enterprise resource planning) through means like the upcoming JD Edwards integration, she added.

Oracle's on-demand CRM strategy is evolving as company executives have begun publicly targeting Salesforce, which now has more than 50,000 customers.

On a recent earnings call, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison described Salesforce as Oracle's "primary competitor" in on-demand CRM. He also claimed the company was displacing Salesforce implementations and said Oracle now wins more deals than it loses when competing head-to-head with Salesforce.

Oracle charges US$70 per user per month for the multitenant version of CRM On Demand. The single-tenant Enterprise and Standard editions cost $125 and $90 per user per month, respectively. Oracle also lets customers host the application on their own systems for $110 per user per month.

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