To those outside the software spheres, it may seem odd to regard companies as legends. But for anyone in the know, Oracle and Salesforce are synonymous with the title.
In their respective decades of operation, the two international powerhouses have established reputations and a level of influence few others in the field have seen. It’s clear that both Salesforce and Oracle have something special to them, but what exactly is it that propelled them to their current positions?
To find the answers, we need to take a look back at the early days; the late 1970s when Larry Ellison was first getting Oracle off the ground, up through the late 1990s when Marc Benioff removed himself from underneath Ellison’s wing and took flight with Salesforce.
While the companies we know now exist in seemingly polar opposition, with Oracle steadfastly championing the back office and Salesforce firmly focusing on the front-end user experience, they began in similar, related veins.
A young Ellison was inspired to create the company that would morph into Oracle after reading an article on a potential new database management system. That system, if implemented correctly, had the chance to revolutionize just how software companies could function and develop.
Ellison jumped at the opportunity to fill such a gap in the market, and the market responded in kind. With such strong early support, Oracle had no trouble finding its feet and picking up pace.
Along the way, one hotshot employee within the Oracle framework started climbing the internal ladder in an impressive way. Benioff, long before Salesforce was conceived, went from Rookie of the Year to one of the highest ranking Oracle executives and a close friend, colleague, and confidante of Ellison.
But as Benioff worked for Oracle, he began to see another opportunity in the market that could use addressing – notably, the weighty implementation requirements and coding-heavy structure of popular software. The question of how to streamline solutions led him to the burgeoning cloud.
Benioff posited that cloud-based solutions could be leveraged in the right ways by the right teams – in particular, the eponymous sales professionals to whom his brainchild would later cater – to provide an easier all-around experience.
Holding tight to the promise of the cloud, Benioff left Oracle in its pursuit, and Salesforce entered the market.
In the time since then, we’ve been able to see just how right both Ellison and Benioff were when it came to banking on their target audiences. From the outside, Oracle and Salesforce have been successfully navigating their own trajectories – sometimes in parallel, sometimes in conjunction – for dozens and dozens of years.
Amidst the successes, though, were undeniable points of contention. In both personal and professional senses, Ellison and Benioff have come to blows. Such moments don’t define their history, but do play into the larger story of how they have managed to solidify their legendary statuses despite it all.
So what was it like on the inside of Oracle and Salesforce, especially at the times when things weren’t such smooth sailing? That’s where we called upon our experts to shine some unique light on the subject.
Logik.io talked to both ex-Oracle and ex-Salesforce professionals, with experience across different eras of each company, about what it means to work toward refining such specific products, how differing ideologies and market positions became industry hallmarks, and where Oracle and Salesforce have to go from here.
Their firsthand experience, along with market data and CPQ analytics, have been compiled into Tracking Trajectories: A Comparative History of Oracle and Salesforce, the newest addition to the Logik.io Resource Library. The insightful eBook is now available for free, on-demand download at https://learn.logik.io/history-of-oracle-and-salesforce.