NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Shares of software giant Oracle ( ORCL) have traded in a tight range since the beginning of the year. The stock closed 2013 at $38.14. Year to date, shares are down 1.4% as of Friday's close and currently trade at $38.45.
Oracle's stock looks dormant but management has been anything but flat in its execution despite what the analysts say. The popular talking point: rivals Salesforce.com (CRM) and Workday (WDAY) are running circles around Oracle. The database giant is said to be too slow in its response.
Well, we'll find out Tuesday when Oracle reports fiscal third-quarter results. Analysts expect 70 cents in earnings per share on revenue of $9.36 billion. This would represent year-over-year revenue growth of 4.3%. It's not a breathtaking number, but it suggests strong improvements on a sequential basis.
Aside from the operational numbers, investors want insight into Oracle's 2014 growth strategy. They fear Oracle's line of attack against Salesforce and Workday has been less than clear.
One only needs to pay attention.
Investors must realize Oracle is transforming itself into a stronger player in customer relationship management, or CRM, the area currently dominated by Salesforce. With the recent acquisition of cloud-marketing specialist Responsys (MKTG), Oracle's plan is to emerge in 2014 with stronger bookings and re-accelerated earnings.
The $1.5 billion all-cash deal for Responsys, which specializes business to customer marketing, stunned the Street. At the time it was Oracle's eighth acquisition in the past year.
Several weeks ago CEO Larry Ellison went shopping again. This time he bought cloud marketing technology specialist BlueKai for an estimated $350 million.
Ellison believes BlueKai's capabilities in personalized online and offline marketing campaigns will help differentiate Oracle's offerings from Salesforce and Workday. I agree.
Even more impressive is BlueKai's ability to deliver mobile marketing campaigns. This is an area where social media giants including Facebook (FB) and Twitter (TWTR) are looking to capitalize. For Oracle, this makes perfect sense, especially since BlueKai can deliver actionable information about targeted audiences.
Questions were raised when Oracle announced its deal for Responsys. Analyst said then Responsys' 38% premium was steep. Admittedly, I thought the same thing. But whether from cost/value perspective or risks in execution, BlueKai should now reduce any perceived downside associated with Responsys. For Ellison, this was a perfect hedge.
What's more, from a marketing automation perspective, BlueKai will also allow Oracle to leverage its deal for B2B (business to business) specialist Eloqua. Essentially, in the trailing 12 months, Ellison has orchestrated a masterful plan to reach and engage customers across various outlets and marketing pathways.
Plus, with research firms like Forrester predicting the market for digital marketing will grow to over $43 billion in the next two years, Ellison looks a lot smarter than initially perceived. So for all of the criticism this company has taken for its cloud positioning, Oracle has, in fact, responded. So will the stock.
At the time of publication, the author held no position in any of the stocks mentioned.
This article represents the opinion of a contributor and not necessarily that of TheStreet or its editorial staff.