If there were any doubts that the gulf between consumery social networking sites and the stodgier world of enterprise software is narrowing, Oracle’s (s orcl) plans to purchase Collective Intellect, should erase them.
Oracle said Collective Intellect’s “cloud-based social intelligence solutions enable organizations to monitor, understand and respond to consumers’ conversations on social media platforms such as Facebook(s fb) and Twitter.” It’s not spying, it’s big data analytics, and Oracle as the king of the database had better get in on the hottest arena for unstructured data generation and analytics soon if it wants to retain its crown.
The deal, terms of which were not disclosed, also shows that old-school enterprise software companies — like Oracle and arch-rival SAP(s sap) — are still in the hunt for software-as-a-service expertise. This news comes a day before Oracle CEO Larry Ellison is expected to disclose details of the software giant’s platform-as-a-service and software-as-a-service push. And, perhaps more to the point, it comes a day after SaaS market leader Salesforce.com (s crm) purchased Buddy Media — and its social marketing platform — for $689 million.
SAP is working with partner NetBase on similar social media analytics capabilities.
While Oracle fields some SaaS capabilities — CRM Online for example — and Oracle CEO Larry Ellison funded NetSuite (s N,) a pioneer in SaaS-based ERP, Oracle itself is not perceived as a major SaaS or cloud power. That perception clearly irks Ellison and his lieutenants, so tomorrow’s event aims to reshape that perception.
Oracle said it will integrate Collective Intellect with its SaaS products and “Social Platform” in a combination that should help marketing organizations build more targeted campaigns and improve customer service response.
“With these recent buys in social and marketing, Salesforce.com, Oracle and others are showing us the new hot SaaS category: integrated marketing,” said Dana Gardner, analyst with Inter-Arbor Solutions. “All this ties into BI and real-time big data analytics. One of the killer apps of big data is marketing, and social is driving a lot of marketing. So if you want to do well in big data, cloud and SaaS, you need to bring in the marketing and analysis elements.”
With SAP, Oracle, Salesforce.com and other powers snapping up or building social networking analytics expertise, the battle will get more social.