Oracle on Thursday announced it was acquiring 500-employee TOA Technologies for an undisclosed sum.
TOA Technologies offers a cloud service that manages “field service” employees, such as fleets delivery drivers or repair technicians l (i.e. the cable guy). Oracle will add TOA to its cloud, stitching it into Oracle’s cloud Enterprise Resource Planning apps (ERP). ERP is financial planning software.
Although Oracle’s longstanding rival SAP is the company best known for ERP software, this acquisition is less about SAP and more about Oracle’s latest No. 1 rival: Salesforce.com.
Salesforce.com is best known for its cloud software that helps salespeople do their jobs. But it also has cloud software for other corporate jobs including something called “Service Cloud” for customers service people.
When a customer service rep needs to dispatch a repair person, Service Cloud taps into third-party apps for that, reports Computerworld. Options include ServiceMax, ClickWorkforce, or TOA.
TOA built a version of its software on Salesforce’s cloud, Force.com, made specifically for Salesforce.com’s customers. So, by buying TOA, Oracle not only gets its own field service cloud, it gains leads for a chunk of Salesforce’s customers, those using TOA with Salesforce.com.
Oracle wants those Salesforce.com customers. “We are Salesforce.com’s primary competitor … and we are going to pass Salesforce in cloud,” CEO Larry Ellison told analysts during the company’s last quarterly conference call.
Oracle has used this tactic before to attack Salesforce.com. Last year, for instance, it bought a startup named Compendium, founded by one of the cofounders of ExactTarget. Salesforce.com had bought ExactTarget for $US2.5 billion, its largest-ever acquisition, and credits ExactTarget for much of its recent revenue growth.
What’s interesting about this rivalry is that Salesforce.com is also one of Oracle’s biggest cloud customers. Ellison takes credit for helping invent Salesforce.com and providing seed funds. But several years ago the relationship with his former employee, Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff, soured and the two companies are now fierce competitors.
We don’t know what Oracle paid, but Ellison is not known for low-balling acquisitions. TOA raised $US96.2 million total according to CrunchBase, including a $US66 million series E in 2013 and had $US41 million in sales in 2012, according to Cleveland.com.
TOA is headquartered in Beachwood, Ohio, (near Cleveland) and was founded by Israeli immigrants Yuval Brisker and Irad Carmi in 2003.
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