Why Oracle Bought E-Commerce Company ATG

Today Oracle announced its intent to acquire e-commerce company ATG. In addition to typical online retail features, ATG offers analytics, click-to-call and call tracking features that will compliment Oracle’s own offerings. Forrester‘s Suresh Vittal and Altimeter‘s R “Ray” Wang agree that the move targetsIBM.

Although Larry Ellison has been more known recently for railing against HP, IBM may be Oracle’s real arch-rival. Oracle and IBM have a history of competing in the database market. And more recently IBM acquired Netezza, challenging Oracle’s own business intelligence appliance.

Earlier this year IBM acquired e-commerce vendor Sterling Commerce and began integrating social CRM functionality from KickApps into its WebSphere product.

Wang notes that e-commerce is a gateway to social CRM, and Vittal notes that content, commerce, CRM and collaboration tools are coming together in one platform.

Forrester’s Brian Walker writes about the convergence of e-commerce platforms with other IT software, “The trend of ‘dropping the e from eCommerce’ is something we have been talking about for some time, as eCommerce solutions are leveraged not only on the web but also in the call center, to drive mobile commerce, and increasingly in the store or branch.”

Oracle offers a number of solutions aimed at retailers including merchandising and supply chain management. A robust e-commerce platform could compliment those offerings nicely, but there’s a particularly interesting area that ATG excels in: click-to-call.

In 2004, ATG bought eStara, a leading click-to-call and call tracking provider once found by Forrester to provide 143% ROI. Expect Oracle to integrate this functionality with its existing contact center management solutions and Siebel offerings.

Denis Pombriant thinks the move will be good for ATG too, by bringing its offerings to a larger number of customers: “I also think that the company lacked the size to compete on its own with companies like IBM whose reputation still has a great deal of weight in the board room where decisions about which technology to spend millions of dollars on come from.”

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