Oracle buys TOA Technologies in strike against Salesforce.com

TOA's field services software will be aligned with Oracle's customer service and support cloud apps

Oracle is fleshing out its family of cloud applications and taking a competitive step against the likes of Salesforce.com with the acquisition of TOA Technologies, maker of software for companies centered around field services. Terms were not disclosed.

TOA's software gives companies the ability to monitor the flow of field service requests and schedule service appointments effectively, according to a statement. On top of that, the application serves up analytics that can "monitor and view current inventories, accurately predict service windows, and optimize field service operations," Oracle said.

Its customers include DISK Network, Vodafone, Ricoh and Virgin Media.

TOA's software will be combined with Oracle's cloud-based ERP (enterprise resource planning) software, as well as its existing customer service and support applications.

The deal gives Oracle another weapon to compete against rival Salesforce.com, which has spent big on acquisitions to build out its Service Cloud family. Salesforce.com has relied on partners such as ServiceMax and ClickWorkforce for field services capabilities.

In general, "there's a battle for field service," said analyst Ray Wang, chairman and founder of Constellation Research.

"TOA's claim to fame is its algorithms," Wang added. "They are pretty sharp in optimizing when to send a rep, how many calls to schedule. When you used to call the cable company they'd say, 'We'll send a guy between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. With TOA, it's between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., or 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. They can get it down to the hour instead of wasting your time."

Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris' email address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com

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