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Oracle-Google deal ties CRM to Google Apps

Ed Scannell, Senior Executive Editor
Oracle and Google lent each other a helping hand against their common competitor, Microsoft, announcing a collaboration that makes it easier to shuttle data between Oracle and Google's desktop applications.

For its part, Oracle unwrapped a beta version of its Oracle Gadget Wizard for Google Apps and support for Google's Secure Data Connector (SDC), to go along with the debut of

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Siebel CRM support for Google Apps.

The partnership means Oracle now has an answer to competitive offerings from Salesforce.com and may be able to convince some corporate users to go with Siebel CRM instead. In December, Salesforce.com released a development tool for connecting the Google Apps Engine to Force.com data. It could also help the company in its battle against Microsoft; the two also compete in the CRM market.

"We would like to move some of our data to the cloud, but we haven't even decided yet on whether we want to deal with an internal or external [cloud]," said Bill Casey, an IT administrator with a large commercial bank in San Francisco. "I know Oracle has made some noises about hosting customer data internally. Something like this [Google] announcement could help us decide in Oracle's favor if it proves more cost effective."

The deal gives Google more credibility among enterprise accounts, where it faces an uphill battle convincing those shops to switch from Microsoft Office to Google Apps.

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Under the partnership, users will be able to create and deploy Oracle gadgets in Google Sites, serving to better scale applications without causing concern about managing infrastructure, both Oracle and Google officials said.

Another benefit to users is that CRM applications can now work with a Google-based cloud more securely by using Google's SDC. This, according to Oracle officials, sets the stage for the delivery of Software as a Service (SaaS) applications that will not be a burden to an IT shop's existing resources, as well as providing multi-tenancy support, allowing secure access to corporate data from behind firewalls.

Mark Woollen, vice president of Social CRM for Oracle, said corporate developers can now take the code they built on middleware and port it directly to the Google Apps Engine. From there, they can "run it up into the cloud" and then use Google Apps to get at data existing behind the firewall.

This ability to connect data protected by firewalls to Web-based applications and gadgets living in the cloud could give some reluctant Oracle corporate and third-party developers more incentive to move their cloud strategies forward.

"With Google supplying an open environment, this makes it easier for developers to create new cloud-based applications that can tightly interact with Siebel CRM based in on-premise environments," Woollen said.

The partnership should help incent corporate and third-party developers to create mobile applications that exploit Siebel's CRM, thereby getting new features out to users faster, he added.

By supporting Google's SDC, Siebel users not only have access to an in-the-cloud environment, they can use their existing programming language. This can help increase the cost effectiveness of melding new on-demand services with users' on-premise investments, according to officials from both companies.


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