Why Oracle is entering the digital analytics space 12 years too late

Digital Marketing Cloud Providers from Adobe, IBM, Oracle, Google, Salesforce and others

On March 10th 2017, Oracle announced that they will acquire the WebtrendsTM Infinity big data platform.  It’s been a missing link in their Digital Marketing Cloud and in my opinion, it finally gives the Oracle Marketing Cloud a digital analytics collection capability.  A marketing cloud platform needs a digital analytics collection capability to be complete.  It’s like saying you have an ERP system without having the underlying financial data. 

Here’s my assessment last year when Oracle bought NetSuite where I specifically recommended that Oracle purchase a web analytics provider.

What is Oracle Marketing Cloud Missing?

Oracle doesn’t have a web analytics solution, which is like an ERP system that doesn’t have the financial module. That’s the core that all of the other modules hang from. So Lima Consulting Group has developed an API to enable NetSuite Suite Commerce Advanced to Adobe Analytics, the leading web analytics solution in the marketplace. What Oracle has done well is acquire the leading enterprise-grade solutions in each marketplace. I think that future acquisitions are forthcoming in the web analytics space.

They don’t have an analytics solution, and the best independent solution in the marketplace is AT Internet, another partner of Lima Consulting Group’s. AT Internet has a huge presence in Europe and is based in France.

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Lastly, Oracle doesn’t have a programmatic search solution to manage ad budgets on search, social and display. Ignition One, Marin and Kenshoo are the independents. Adobe acquired Efficient Frontier about 3 years ago, so Oracle is still in need of a response in that category. Salesforce and IBM still don’t have that category either.

Imagine being a sales rep for Oracle, Salesforce or SAP Marketing Cloud platform and having to sell let your prospect know, “We don’t have the ability to collect digital analytics, but go ahead and use Google Analytics or Adobe Analytics, and we’ll just integrate our solution with our arch-rival competitors and hope that they don’t try and sell you the rest of their platform.” 

Oracle talks about having acquired “best-in-class” solutions to provide the modern marketing experience.  Indeed, Responsys, Maxymizer and Eloqua fit the bill.  But it’s not a platform; yet.

They’ll buy Tealium or Ensighten very soon to help them with the data model unification they need across their 10+ digital marketing technology acquisitions.

We called for Oracle to buy a Digital Analytics solution, we’re glad to see that this acquisition finally happened.  

Google Started in ‘05

But it was Google that got in the game first with their acquisition (2005) a year after I started Lima Consulting Group (2004). 

Google’s story was simple.  They give away the analytics solution in exchange for use of the data collected.  They use that data to price the advertisements that they run.  At their core, Google is a media company, they sell ads.  In 2016, they sold $79.4 billion in ads of their $89b in annual revenues.  There’s an old adage for this type of exchange in value.  If you aren’t paying for your analytics, you are the product.

Then Adobe in ‘09

In September of 2009, Adobe bought Omniture for $1.8 billion. 

At that time, Adobe made their money selling shrink packed boxes like Adobe Photoshop through big box stores, like Best Buy and Circuit City.  Now, you buy the Adobe Creative Cloud through a subscription for about $29/month per user.  Their idea was to combine the art with the science of marketing.  From there, they bought additional solutions to compete in the Enterprise category, an area that was new to them given their heritage selling through distributors to big box stores. 

Adobe has a lot to learn from the Enterprise software competitors who in some cases have partner programs that are over 100 years old. 

Then IBM in 2010

In June of 2010 IBM bought Coremetrics.  It took them quite some time to integrate it with their Intelligent Offer solution (a solid A|B testing solution) and then they launched their Digital Data Exchange (DDX) tag management solution.  The solution works well for e-commerce solutions and the investment they made capitalized on the strengths of Coremetrics, e-commerce and transactional websites.

So why did Oracle finally enter in 2017?

Oracle needs a digital collection and processing solution to integrate with the rest of their marketing cloud solutions. 

Over the past several years, Oracle bought Responsys, NetSuite, Maxymizer, BlueKai, DataLogix, Eloqua, Compendium, Vitrue, Collective Intellect, Endeca, RightNow, FatWire, AddThis and Crosswise. 

Oracle talks about having acquired “best-in-class” solutions to provide the modern marketing experience.  Indeed, Responsys, Maxymizer and Eloqua fit the bill.  But it’s not a platform; yet.  It can’t be a platform without the use of customer data.  So let’s understand why a marketing cloud needs web and mobile analytics collection and processing.

Why does a marketing cloud need a digital analytics solution?

Each marketing cloud has the ability to collect consumer insights and then the ability to take action.  They all have solutions that use math, advanced analytics, algorithms, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Deep Learning, Predictive modeling, recommendation engines, linear optimization, programmatic ad buying, Natural Language Processing, etc…

They all use math.  Heavy duty math.

And with any mathematical model, we’ve all heard the phrase, “garbage in, garbage out”.  So without data that you can (1) collect (2) trust and (3) update quickly, presumably in real-time, no marketing cloud is in a position to begin using the power of predictive models or algorithms. 

Each of these categories use the power of predictive modeling:

Bullet  A|B and Multivariate testing

Bullet Programmatic Ad Buying

Bullet  Email optimization and workflow optimization

Bullet  Lead scoring

Bullet Content optimization

Bullet  Data Management Platforms

What will they do with Digital Analytics?

Integrating some or most of these capabilities under a unified data model and using a common interface is a multi-million-dollar initiative that will take them years.  It may not even be their strategy.  At this point, they haven’t demonstrated a commitment towards creating a single marketing cloud platform.  The power of an integrated platform has tremendous potential, but there’s a lot more work to do here.  Some wins include:

Bullet  Integrating Maxymizer with ATG.  If you review the capabilities of Maxymizer, you’ll notice that it will need a solid analytics implementation to really take advantage of the recommendation engine capabilities in its advanced algorithms.

Bullet Oracle Data Management Platform Bluekai integrating with Maxymizer

What will they buy next?

Oracle will need a Tag Management Solution, and it will be either Tealium or Ensighten.  The benefit of creating a common data layer could accelerate the ability to integrate across the Oracle Marketing Cloud Platform.  A programmatic acquisition also has to be in their consideration set. 

How will the other marketing cloud providers respond?

Salesforce will probably buy AT Internet or another digital analytics provider.  They might also buy a tag management solution (TMS) provider such as Tealium, Ensighten or Signal.

Also, Microsoft has invested a great deal in the Adobe platform.  We’re seeing a lot of new faces in the senior ranks now coming from Microsoft.  Most notable is the partnership with Microsoft, the integration with Office365, PowerBI and Dynamics.  The Adobe CEO, Shantanu Narayen was recently made Chairman of the Adobe Board, in February.  these are all signs that point to a Microsoft buy-out.  Microsoft has coffers with over $100+ bn and the Adobe Market Cap is about $64bn.

Of course, Salesforce and IBM have already teamed up around AI.

What does this mean to Oracle customers?

While it’s a good start for Oracle to have their own digital analytics tool, they still don’t have a tag management system.  Oracle will also need to buy a TMS.  Adobe just updated their TMS and it makes for quicker ingestion of data from the partners that have constructed pre-fabricated APIs.  For example, Microsoft Dynamics ingestion can easily pass CRM data into the analytics.

Until Webtrends and/or Oracle have a TMS, customers will need to protect themselves by establishing a common data layer using a 3rd party TMS. 

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