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July 23, 2014

How Oracle’s DaaS will challenge notions of privacy

Oracle makes a splash in the data-as-a-service market.

By Joe Curtis

Oracle has revealed its Data-as-a-Service (DaaS) solution that collates data culled from multiple sources to boost business intelligence and marketing.

DaaS – based on the Oracle Cloud – provides businesses with readymade data they can simply hook into other Oracle applications to gain a competitive edge.

The tool will start with social media and marketing-derived data to offer Oracle DaaS for Marketing and Oracle DaaS for Social.

The former gives users access to anonymised data from a variety of sources while the latter uses social media such as Twitter and Facebook to provide detailed customer insight.

While firms like Experian already offer such data collation services for firms, CIC principal analyst Ian Murphy told CBR the tool would help simplify data analysis for companies.

He said: "Oracle, at first glance, appears to be pulling the social media data across for you and they are going to allow you on a single platform to use Oracle marketing cloud DaaS so you have the whole thing running on the back end of their system.

But, he added, such DaaS solutions pose a serious challenge to privacy because of the way they allow customers to pre-select what data the customers are after, before sifting through their servers to find relevant results.

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"Social media isn’t anonymised," he pointed out. "The problem is people think they’ve deleted the tweet or the post on Facebook. It’s not deleted, it all happened and is sitting in the underlying database so it can be recovered. This stuff all comes back to haunt you."

Murphy added that, if Oracle was to use census information or other data from, as IBM’s Watson Content Cloud does, it is often not anonymised.

However, all Oracle’s DaaS is doing is providing legally available datasets to businesses.

"[If something illegal happened] Oracle will simply point back that they have bought data on the open market that is legally available on Facebook and Twitter," said Murphy.

"I’m probably past the point of feeling uneasy. I was over Snowden before Snowden started."

Quocirca analyst Clive Longbottom said the DaaS market would grow to become "a core one for the future", and said that while the move is out of Oracle’s comfort zone, it has expertise in analytics and data.

"It is a database company at heart and has all the capabilities to deal with large data sets in real time and has the analytics capabilities to be able to carry out the right sort of analytics," he said, before questioning whether it would be able to stimulate demand for its products.

"Will it be able to message itself to the prospects in the right way?" he asked, adding that pricing would be crucial.

"More to the point, will it be able to come up with what it has signally failed to do in so many other areas and come up with a strong, attractive and compelling payment model that doesn’t assume that you just happen to have a few million going spare down the back of the sofa?"

Oracle has been quiet on the pricing front, and has not yet specified costs for either Oracle DaaS for Marketing or Oracle DaaS for Social.

Marketing is available on a subscription, it said, and Social only has limited availability at the moment.

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