This summer the big news was Salesforce partnering with Oracle.

Today the big news is Salesforce REITERATING it’s partnership with Workday.

File this one under, “Let’s confuse the hell out of the HR Buyer.”

The Oracle partnership points to a 9 year agreement where the Oracle ERP and HCM solutions will integrate with, allowing the systems to “work hand in hand”. They also say that Salesforce will implement Oracle’s database and Oracle Fusion Human Capital Solution.

The Workday-Salesforce partnership really underscores, or clarifies, an integration already announced in 2011. Possibly “tightening” that integration. The most confusing part is Salesforce also saying they will “standardize” on Workday’s Finance and HCM, when they already announced the internal move to Oracle.

The press releases and announcements were successful in that they called attention to Workday at the end of it’s Workday Rising conference, and drew attention to Salesforce at the time that Oracle is making it’s earnings announcements. (See: Fortune Magazine’s Greatest Business Rivalries of All Time list, look at #31 and you’ll get the point).

These are partnerships. Not mergers or acquistions.

The press releases and notes from the analyst calls always read like the lyric’s to Barney’s theme song: “I love you. You love me. We’re best friends as friends can be.”

The measure of these partnerships will be in revenue and customer adoption. Time will tell. Until then, it seems the big winner is Marc Benioff and for winning the PR and buzz game. Salesforce gets to reassure customers staying with, or moving to, either Oracle or Workday that has them covered with deep integrations with both, while Benioff and team lets those two slug it out in the market.


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