We're hearing about an interesting new 'rent-an-employee' service that Oracle may announce later this month

We’ve heard rumblings of a new service that Oracle may announce at its huge customer conference later this month in San Francisco.

The service was described to us by a person inside Oracle as a blend between old-school outsourcing and new-fangled cloud computing, which we’re going to dub “service as a service.”

The idea, as we understand it, is that Oracle will let customers rent the IT staff they will need need for the duration of their cloud contract. This could be staff like database administrators, business analysts and the like.

So with an Oracle cloud, companies wouldn’t need their own IT department at all.

That’s no small thing. Demand for people well versed in Oracle’s database and applications is always high. For instance, Dice currently lists over 12,500 jobs for IT people trained on Oracle products.

Oracle already has a consulting business, and it sends people to customer sites all the time to work on projects. But these consultants would be there for for a specific job and would leave when it’s over. Oracle doesn’t have a bigger, long-term outsourcing business.

Outsourcing services was one of Oracle CEO Mark Hurd’s big things at his last job. When he was CEO of HP, he orchestrated the $US13.9 billion purchase of outsourcing company EDS.

Whether this service-as-a-service thing is really a great new idea or not we can’t say yet. We couldn’t verify the details of it, nor if it will actually be launched at OpenWorld.

Only one person we talked to knew about it. The other sources we talked to did not.

From what we did hear, it could be a unique way for Oracle to grab business away from the 800-pound cloud computing gorilla, Amazon, or keep customers from defecting to rivals Salesforce or Workday.

And Amazon is starting to ramp up its efforts to offer cloud consulting to big enterprise customers. For instance, huge IT consultant Accenture just launched a dedicated AWS Business Group last week.

We reached out to Oracle for comment and will update when we hear back.

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