Oracle announced a string of partnerships this week that concluded Thursday with a joint call by Oracle CEO Larry Ellison and Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff. The only thing missing, as one wag pointed out on the call: a laser light show for this joining of forces of one tech titan with an emerging one.
The announcement had the appearance of two companies, Oracle at $37.2 billion in revenue, Salesforce, $3.05 billion, agreeing to make nice after years of trading barbs. These make-nice events happen time and again in the tech industry, once two companies come up with a formula for making money jointly.
The question now becomes: Who gains the most from this partnership? Will it be the Oracle and Salesforce marketing engines, or customers? Ellison argued it was the latter, in this call with media and analysts.
The overall agreement will allow the two companies to work closely on improving security, and the standardized integrations will speed deployments, ensure the quality of the customer's integration, and reduce any downtimes, said Ellison.
This pre-integration work has the potential of cutting deployment costs by half, said Ellison.
The two companies plan to integrate Salesforce.com with Oracle's Fusion HCM, human capital management software, and Financial Cloud, among other pieces of technology.
But Michael Maoz, an analyst at Gartner, said the Oracle and Salesforce product integration will only help a small slice of customers.
Maoz estimates that somewhere around 4% to 6% of the installed base, large customers mostly, could achieve some benefit from Oracle and Salesforce product integration, but "the vast majority of Salesforce customers are not doing much integration to begin with," he said.
The Salesforce announcement was one of several made by Oracle this week. On Thursday, Oracle said it will integrate its HCM Cloud, with NetSuite's a cloud-based ERP.
Michael Fauscette, an analyst at IDC, said the pre-integration of the Oracle product will be a "really good thing" for NetSuite customers, in particular, by giving them the Oracle software option.
Another Oracle partnership agreement was with Microsoft's Azure cloud service. Oracle will support some of its products, its database, including Java, on Azure.
For Oracle customers, this means another option for their workloads, said Fauscette. "You could have done it on Amazon before, but now you have another alternative," he said.
Underscoring all these announcements, is more support and integration for cloud-based platforms.
Charles King, an analyst at Pund-IT, said the partnership agreements were "a recognition on Oracle's part that cloud-based software delivery is becoming a marketplace reality and it needs to be actively engaged if it wants to gain the benefits of that market."
Patrick Thibodeau covers cloud computing and enterprise applications, outsourcing, government IT policies, data centers and IT workforce issues for Computerworld. Follow Patrick on Twitter at @DCgov or subscribe to Patrick's RSS feed . His e-mail address is email@example.com.