Oracle To Buy Vitrue – In Depth

Oracle Buys Vitrue
screen grab from Oracle’s presentation on the Vitrue acquisition

Oracle buys Vitrue (pronounced Vi-true)

It seems Oracle is getting religion on social…again.  This time they have acquired a multi-tenant SaaS social media management platform firm named Vitrue for a reported but unconfirmed $300M.  The big news with this acquisition is that Vitrue provides the software and analytics for big B2C businesses to management engagement across their various social properties.  You know, the ones we all use like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+.  This is a big deal for B2B oriented Oracle who usually likes to force customers onto their platform – WebCenter, PeopleSoft, Siebel etc..   Native Oracle products like WebCenter “Social Network” are squarely focused inward at the organization rather than outward.  Recent acquisitions like Fat Wire, Taleo, InQuira, ATG, RightNow all have an outward social, consumer/customer engagment or listening component to them but all (so far) fall into the familiar Oracle model.  Roll it into the Oracle product stack, sell the stack to customers to use internally or as middleware for pretty front-end systems, repeat.

The Vitrue acquisition is different.  First, Vitrue provides a completely cloud based product with no on-site software.  Second, Vitrue enhances, *other* platforms and it does so in bite-sized pieces (see the list at the end of the article or just take a look at Vitrue’s website).  Third their product is a high-touch, high-service product. This is something that brand managers and marketers keep coming back to use for each campaign.  It is something that, try as they might, Oracle could never achieve with Siebel, Real-Time-Decisions, WCM, Sites or WebCenter.  In short, Vitrue would be the first outward focused offering available from Oracle.

According to Oracle’s published FAQ (PDF), they intend to, “…add Vitrue’s products to the Oracle Cloud to deliver the most comprehensive, integrated social relationship platform that can support social marketing, sales, commerce, service, data and analytics.”  This is huge.  All of the other Oracle public cloud offerings, from CRM, to HCM to “Social Network” are inward focused.  They are SaaS versions of back office utilities.  If Vitrue lands in the Oracle cloud it could become a useful tool from Oracle that helps businesses do better interacting with customers and constituents rather than with their own employees data processes.  Of course, Vitrue’s interest and development into social analytics and reporting is a natural draw for Oracle’s data business.  Think about what Oracle could do with all that aggregated Vitrue social analytics data if the SaaS offering takes off!  They could become to social data what SalesForce’s is to CRM & Contact data.  Of course, the reported $300M price Oracle paid for Vitrue is hardly considered huge.  But the recurring subscription revenue model is a big shift for Oracle who usually relies on heavy-handed maintenance payments from one-time big sales.  They’ve been beaten up in the past for their less-than-friendly tactics.  But a SaaS model where people opt-in to pay for a service gives Oracle the recurring revenue and puts a friendly face on it.  It could be a very good move for Oracle’s image.

I am eager to hear what competitors in this space think.  SalesForce’s Radian6, Lithium, Buddy Media, Zuberance, Adobe’s Efficient Frontier and others all have a stake in this game.  Contact me with your personal opinions – billy.cripe AT

Vitrue has several different price points but according to their CEO, a typical starter package is reported to be at about $4000/month (PDF) for management of a Facebook page and Twitter account.  They are focused on big B2C organizations since lower end social management is teeming with free/freemium services like Buffer and Shortstack.

Virtue provides the following kinds of services:

  • Analytics – Social analytics for things like social listening (what are people saying about us, who has problems, who is cheering our product right now)
  • Publisher – Status and update queuing (think scheduling tweets and Facebook wall posts but coordinating it with blog posts, marketing campaigns etc for a holistic social marketing drip campaign management)
  • Tabs – Vitrue’s CEO Reggie Bradford describes these as “…content management system across your social properties.” (PDF) They incorporate translations/geo-aware targeting and scheduling.  The WebCenter Sites and Content as well as ATG and InQuira teams may want to sit up and take notice here.  Enterprising Oracle partners might want to build a connector to leverage content from one of Oracle’s many content management systems for Vitrue’s social scheduling tabs.  While tabs as such have been pushed to the background in the new Facebook Timeline layout, they still exist and are still important for things like landing pages, contests, contact forms and events.  Even more important is having coordinated messaging, themes, timing and content between  the social and traditional email, physical and event-driven marketing campaigns.
  • Social commerce – this is their ability to help businesses sell goods through facebook (and maybe Google+) which they do through partners.
  • They also have a program of offerings and tool sets enabling social media agencies to implement the strategy they create for their clients.
  • You can watch a demo of their product on their facebook page

This blog post is my own opinion.  I received no information from anyone from Oracle or Vitrue.

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