Updated 9/26/05 9:40 AM: While all eyes were on Oracle this week, we were busy pulling together our proprietary data that shows how the burgeoning software maker has fared over the year in our directory of IT resources and where it stood among competing vendors in our IT Priorities survey. The news, unfortunately, isn't as good as, say, some of the promises I heard Oracle CEO Larry Ellison make about the company’s upcoming Fusion applications at the company's OpenWorld conference--at least as far as the limited universe of our IT directory is concerned.
Oracle's share of attention in the ZDNet vendor resources directory peaked in February, recording 17% of all downloaded assets (white papers, case studies, and Webcasts) in the application integration, CRM, database, and ERP categories combined (see chart). But by August it slipped 5 points to 12%, bringing Oracle down to an average 13% of category consideration in 2005. Not necessarily a cause for alarm yet, given that Oracle draws more attention than SAP, IBM, and newly acquired Siebel.
But, compared to Microsoft, Oracle has some stiff competition, with Microsoft capturing 1/3 of downloads in the category in March and averaging fully 1/5 of category consideration this year. Update: Microsoft's domination in each individual technology category varies greatly so it is not possible to make an apples to apples comparison, but it is still the 800 lb. gorilla in the directory.
On the low-end, Oracle's new competitor, Salesforce.com, came from nowhere last spring and now has marginal share (2%). Siebel gained considerable traction from its CRM content offerings in Q2, especially with its strategy paper, Business Strategies for Accelerating Growth: The Value of Making Better Decisions through CRM, but the interest was transitory, falling to background levels in recent months.
We also found that preference for Oracle solutions has been falling over the past 4 quarters. In Q3, the proportion of those technology decision makers who participate in our IT Priorities study who prefer rather than avoid Oracle solutions was about 1:1, which is a big downshift from the first quarter of 2005 where the ratio of preference-to-avoidance was nearly 3:1. These data suggest that the IT managers in our study are less satisfied with Oracle solutions and are currently steering their IT plans away from Oracle solutions.
With its purchase of Siebel, Oracle will undoubtedly increase the share of vendor consideration IT decision makers give Oracle's content in our resource directory,
and if Ellison keeps his promises the company may get on track to reversing its slipping attention in our directory and IT priorities preference in the next couple of quarters (Update: Suggesting a measurable causal relationship between Oracle's actions and download activity may be wishful thinking). Oracle and competitors will soon move up the stack to the business intelligence and analytics battleground, so we will add those topics into future analyses.