Oracle OpenWorld: SaaS Dominates Early Chatter
As Oracle OpenWorld 2009 kicks off today in San Francisco, Channel Chief Judson Althoff (pictured) and several other Oracle team members are talking up the company’s SaaS (software as a service) strategy for channel partners and ISVs (independent software vendors). Here’s the scoop.
During a SaaS session attended by more than 150 Oracle partners, customers and ISVs, Althoff reminded the audience that Oracle’s infrastructure software provides the foundation for many of the world’s top SaaS deployments.
Kevin W. O’Brien, senior director for SaaS Strategy & Programs for Worldwide Alliances and Channels, reinforced that point. O’Brien claimed several of the top public SaaS providers — such as Cisco WebEx, Blackboard (BBBB), RightNow (RNOW) — deployed their applications on top of Oracle software. Side note: Both Blackboard and RightNow are members of The VAR Guy’s SaaS 20 Stock Index, which tracks the overall health of the SaaS industry.
O’Brien noted that Oracle has a three-part SaaS strategy:
- Commercial agreements that empower ISVs with SaaS (known as SaaS for ISVs): Any ISV can build an application with no up-front Oracle costs, then you pay as you grow, asserted O’Brien. Althoff descibed the ISV strategy in a June 2009 podcacast with The VAR Guy.
- Enabling partners with SaaS through the SaaS KnowledgeZone.
- Building a partner ecosystem that includes managing hosting providers and systems integrators. O’Brien pointed to partners like Computer Sciences Corp. and RackSpace Hosting, among others. He also mentioned Oracle Validated Integrations ensure SaaS applications can integrate with Oracle on-premise applications and Oracle CRM on Demand. Roughly 500 integrations have been validated so far.
Are more surprises coming? Perhaps so. It sounds like Althoff will talk more about SaaS during a partner presentation later today (Oct. 11). The VAR Guy will cover it live.
Still, SaaS is a tricky topic for Oracle. The vast majority of the company’s revenue comes from on-premise applications. And up-and-comers like Salesforce.com and NetSuite continue to attract strong interest from customers and SaaS pundits alike. Plus, skeptics often worry about moving large, complex, on-premise applications into a SaaS or cloud configuration. More perspectives later today.