For each of the last 3 months database behemoth Oracle has been on a Social Media acquisition spree. In May, they acquired Vitrue. Then in June it was Collective Intellect. Now in July it is Involver. The General Presentation [PDF Warning] is worth a look.
The big question is whether this represents
1) a real shift into the social cloud for Oracle
2) a keeping-up-with-
SalesForce-the joneses strategy
3) a funnel to get the massive quantities of social data into Oracle databases
Where Vitrue provides social media management and collective intellect provides insight and intelligence, Involver provides a way to create social media pages and experiences via their SML – social markup language. Put those three together and it looks an awful lot like a platform.
But putting those together – in the cloud – is a much bigger deal than simply listing out a bunch of social components big organizations need. Here’s what Oracle says about where Involver fits, “Oracle Cloud Platform Java and Database services combined with Involver’s SMLTM and developer tools is expected to allow agencies and developers to build rich, fully-customizable and innovative social experiences (via the PDF linked above)”
Given that Oracle has CRM in the cloud and inward (aka intranet) social networking WebCenter in the cloud these look to me like a bid to provide just enough loosely integrated “social services” to get the valuable data into Oracle CRM and database. There, Oracle customers can bring substantial BI and analytics processing to bear. But if that is actually the play (and I have no knowledge of whether or not it is), then real social management takes second seat to BPEL and process driven CRM which is an Oracle specialty. But don’t be too quick to lump social engagement in with business process execution. Engaging a community is not the same as an accounts payable workflow or routing an invoice.
Time will tell.
Here is a handy list of the known Oracle Acquisitions.