Oracle eyes opportunities with cloud customers and their applications
With the infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) market highly commoditised, no thanks to Amazon Web Services’ (AWS’) annual price cuts, Oracle’s play into IaaS is the exact opposite of being mass market, a nice addition for their existing SaaS customers who are building apps on Oracle PaaS and want to extend with IaaS.
Oracle’s new CEO Mark Hurd described it as, “You’ll probably find it convenient to buy infrastructure from us. Cloud strategy.”
The end-to-end strategy can finally happen.
So, while introducing their new platform-as-a-service (PaaS) to complete their end-to-end proposition, Oracle also introduced new SaaS applications.
And boy, were there a lot of applications.
During his first official press conference as Oracle’s newly minted CEO, Hurd said, “If you look at it, we are going to release over a hundred applications, that if you will, are horizontal applications and another 30 vertical SaaS applications to a whole lot more innovation again at the app layer.”
He added also that currently Oracle is the only company to have best of breed apps, that are also in a whole suite. “We are the only company (to have a suite), from sales to marketing, ERP, EPM, HCM, that has all those capabilities. Nobody else does.”
Hurd had had eight CIOs join him during his keynote earlier. CIOs of big global companies, the likes of Intel, Procter & Gamble, General Electric, Federal Express, Xerox and more, he described these companies as having big legacy environments that are in need of innovation, transformation and a solutions partner to get them there.
The CEO said, “Oracle is moving and has moved to being a solutions provider, in the context of the way we now deliver up intellectual property, and deliver up our applications,” adding for example Intel’s IT is 6000 strong, but Oracle complements them today by managing Oracle’s own Eloqua marketing solution for Intel.
ASEAN and SAGE
Besides these global customers, the 17-country contingent under Oracle Regional MD, K. Raman, also saw an increase in customers to Oracle’s annual global event. There were about 286 customers from every country but two, in the SEA and South Asia Growth Economies (SAGE) region.
The SAGE region comprises of countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Afghanisan, Maldives, Bhutan.
But despite the wildly different levels of IT maturity his regions face, Raman observed, “The Oracle breadth of portfolio actually meets both ends – emerging markets and mature markets.” Oracle is drawing a lot of attention from the public sector in SAGE, which tend to still be greenfield environments looking to leapfrog.
He had also observed that customers are buying solutions. Conversations are shifting towards what business problems are being solved, instead of technology, which explained the mix shifts in customers to OOW ’14.
“You see more business users, function teams or heads of departments, because they are starting to influence IT buying decision.”
Cloud has a role to play in this, because business users can easily identify the business capabilities they require as a suite – sales, marketing, human resource and so on – and pick what they need to use as a monthly expense.
Oracle had gone through a lot of effort to ensure that they can offer a complete suite for as many vertical industries as possible, being the first mover in the cloud enterprise performance management (EPM) and cloud enterprise resource planning (ERP) space.
But work on the cloud (or off it) is hardly far from over for Oracle.
Customer conversations in ASEAN and SAGE
Raman identified big data and analytics (BDA) as going to be very important. “A lot of customers are talking to us about it. And it is especially exciting with in-memory technology that servers up query responses faster.”
The regional MD foresees that the next 12 to 18 months would see a lot of momentum around BDA and social, mostly around education about the tools that are available out there for organisations to make data more meaningful.
According to him, there have been requests to get more intelligence from social media and to build that out as a service.
He also talked about security, and Oracle’s announcement of efforts in that area, especially security that is built into the device and security at the source that goes beyond just securing the network, but actually encrypts data at the source, so it will never be seen by those it is not meant for.
Also, applications. Many of the apps that exist today, were developed in the 90’s, so there is a lot of opportunity to modernise them and migrate them to a more modern platform.
“These are good conversations for us to have with our customers. Those are areas where we can take them to cloud very quickly, or help them modernise with new tech we have, mobile-enable it, have social feature functions in there, and build in analytics and security.
“That’s the modern platform, we are looking at,” Raman said.
More importantly, is the business model innovation it enables.
Raman shared use cases, one of a regional bank that adapted Siebel features to manage customer support better. “Now, they can run campaigns and translate them to sales faster.”
One other customer, Celcom, uses Oracle’s solutions and hardware, to build its integrated CRM platform and have it serve as foundation for Celcom’s enterprise-wide business transformation.
The biggest electricity provider in Indonesia was also able to offer smaller prepaid sums for its rural users, generating more sales volume, as a result of using Oracle Exadata.
“Customers can now think about what else they can do, now they have the power to process a lot of information, fast!” Raman pointed out.