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Oracle Buys Into On-Demand CRM

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Posted June 14, 2006 By Clint Boulton     Feedback

The company adds a new weapon to fight and SAP in the battle for on-demand CRM software, acquiring software maker Telephony@Work for an undisclosed sum.

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Oracle added a new weapon to fight and SAP in the battle for on-demand customer relationship management (CRM) software, acquiring software maker Telephony@Work for an undisclosed sum.

Telephony@Work makes CallCenterAnywhere, a software stack that supports hosted contact center services.

CallCenterAnywhere was designed as an alternative to custom programming and systems integration. The software's ability to handle several customers at the same time makes it popular among Fortune 100 companies and Tier-1 carriers, Oracle said in a statement.

These types of on-demand products have gained in popularity in the last few years. and Siebel Systems are gaining traction in this sector by delivering software that easily enables a speedy call center response to customers.

For a growing number of customers, acquiring software over the Web is a less onerous alternative to the traditional methods of buying applications packages and installing them.

Oracle, which obtained its on-demand CRM software when it acquired Siebel earlier this year for $5.85 billion in cash, and SAP, are looking to cash in.

Oracle plans to offer CallCenterAnywhere through Oracle's Siebel Contact On Demand, but the technology will also be sold to end-user companies and to commercial service providers who host the technology on behalf of their corporate customers.

Oracle said buying Telephony@Work will make it the first CRM applications provider to meld contact center technology and CRM software.

In a stab at rivals, SAP and other hosted CRM vendors, Rob Reid, group vice president of CRM On Demand at Oracle, said Oracle added CallCenterAnywhere to ease a pain point in the market caused by vendors offering "partial solutions" that required companies to purchase hardware and software to run them.

Oracle, which also rolled out a new Linux stack, maintains that it can help customers reduce cost and complexity by better tailoring contact center gear to work with CRM and business intelligence software.

Oracle has been on a torrid acquisition spree in the last few years, feasting on large companies PeopleSoft, Siebel and Retek, as well as smaller vendors like Portal Software, HotSIP and now TelePhony@Work.

The company has been boosting its portfolios across the board to play in competitive, multi-billion infrastructure and application sectors populated by Microsoft, IBM, BEA Systems and SAP.

In related acquisition news today, Mercury Interactive acquired software and research and development resources from Vertical Solutions, Inc. (VSI) and Tefensoft Inc. for total of $18.5 million in cash.

Mercury now owns the Vertical's PowerHelp IT product and related technology, as well as acquired research and development, support personnel, and facilities in the Tefen Industrial Park in northern Israel.

The new technology provides incident management, problem resolution, configuration management, change management and release management. It is based on ITIL, a framework for helping businesses map the relationships between software and hardware.

Mercury, itself the subject of a rumor that it would purchased by EMC or HP, provides this technology as part of its Mercury Service Desk product.

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