Oracle offers the most deployment options in the SaaS CRM industry. Oracle On Demand can be deployed using a multi-tenant cloud model, a single-tenant cloud model or on-premises. In fact, multiple alternatives are available within the single-tenant cloud option. A Standard single-tenant option is priced at $90.00 per user per month and is hosted on a dedicated (virtualized) server in which Oracle administers maintenance and upgrades according to its schedule. For increased flexibility, and $125.00 per user per month, customers may choose the Enterprise single-tenant edition which includes an isolated application instance, dedicated database, application server and analytics server. This option grants the customer the choice of when to provision patches and implement upgrades. These later two options permit a greater degree of custom application performance tuning and can make sense for businesses which incur significant integration or customization and want control for all upgrades. They may also appeal to data privacy and information security conscience organizations. Unfortunately, these isolated tenancy models are not available to most small and midsize businesses (SMBs) as there is a 350 user minimum.
Data Center and Hosting Delivery
Oracle seems to apply more investment and rigor in its data center delivery, performance and uptime than most SaaS CRM companies. In fact, it already operates more geographically dispersed Tier IV data centers on more continents than any other CRM vendor, except RightNow. Oracle CRM on Demand data centers reside in Austin, Texas, Linlithgow, Scotland and Sydney, Australia, with standby data centers in locations not known for natural disasters such as Colorado Springs. Oracle disclosed at OpenWorld 2011 that the company plans to open new data center locations in China, India and Singapore.
In addition to geographically diverse data centers, Oracle stands ahead of most of the cloud CRM pack due to its guaranteed Service Level Agreements (SLA), rigor in information security and high availability, and data center third party attestations.
Unlike most, but not all SaaS CRM vendors, Oracle offers an SLA—and backs it up with a financial guarantee. And in addition to guaranteed uptime, Oracle uses its Data Guard technology to provide a real-time synchronization between production and standby data centers, which in turn allows Oracle to provide the industry's only guaranteed Recovery Point Objective (RPO). This added level of assurance recognizes that over a long enough period, downtime will occur, but the procedures and testing are in place to return delivery in the shortest period possible.
Oracle Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery are among the best we've reviewed. Disasters may be caused by local incidents such as building fires, regional incidents like earthquakes, or even international incidents like pandemic illnesses. To mitigate disaster effects, Oracle operates its data centers pursuant multiple levels of redundancy, continuous data synchronization, near real-time fail-over, a comprehensive ISMS (Information Security Management System) and periodic disaster recovery rehearsals. While a few other top vendors such as Salesforce.com offer similar business continuity measures, Oracle clearly applies the most investment and rigor we've seen to date.
Oracle CRM data centers posses third party certifications including the ISAE 3402 and SSAE 16 (which replaced the more commonly recognized SAS 70 as of June 15, 2011)—which along with the ISO 27001—comprise the dominant and globally recognized third party attestations for reporting on controls at service organizations. These certifications are a must-have for publicly traded companies, but more so, provide a level of expert assurance for all customers.
Oracle is also unique in that it is able to optimize every component in the Oracle CRM On Demand service since it owns and manages all layers of the solution and service including the data center, the database, the application servers, and the application itself. Oracle customers don't run the normal risk of a third-party being unable to deliver the level of service specified by the CRM software publisher.
Oracle Public Cloud
Looking beyond CRM on Demand and considering the expanding Oracle Fusion suite of applications lies the Oracle Public Cloud. Announced in October 2011, the Oracle Public Cloud is a standards-based and ubiquitous cloud deployment model which includes SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS, permits choice in deployment options (on-premises installations, private clouds or public cloud deployments) and interoperability among cloud providers (such as Amazon EC2, Microsoft Azure or Rackspace).
The Oracle Public Cloud is made up of five building blocks, including Fusion apps, Fusion Middleware, the Oracle database, Oracle Linux or Sun Solaris OS, and the Oracle Enterprise Manager. The Fusion apps now include CRM and other business applications such as HCM (Human Capital Management) and SCM (Supply Chain Management). They also natively embed the recently released Oracle Social Network which also operates on mobile devices and tablets. The standards Oracle refers to in making its cloud portable include Java, SQL, XML, Web Services, SOA and support for popular browsers. These are legitimate 'industry-standards' that enable cross platform and multi-vendor hosting operation, but are likely insufficient by themselves to make portability a plug and play endeavor.
While choice of deployment models is not unique among CRM software vendors, except for Salesforce.com which does not support CRM deployment on-premises, in a private cloud or on a public cloud, the flexibility to move business applications from inhouse to a hosting provider, or vice versa, may align with many company IT strategies. More so, because of the standards-based architecture, Oracle Public Cloud delivers the interoperability to run Oracle Fusion applications on the Oracle cloud, while choosing to off-load certain processes or store data internally or on other third party clouds. The caveat though is that all clouds in the mix must be running the Oracle database. Potential buyers must also recognize that at this early stage the Oracle Public Cloud is more aspirational than verifiable, and yet unproven.
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Oracle offers the most deployment options in the SaaS CRM industry. Oracle CRM On Demand can be deployed using a multi-tenant cloud model, a single-tenant cloud model or on-premises.