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.