Last week Oracle’s yearly customer conference Oracle OpenWorld took place. 60,000 people made the trip to San Francisco to take part in the 2,555 sessions across 18 venues, and another 2.1 million watched online. When you have the amount of products that Oracle does, that amount of sessions makes sense, but the keynote sessions were quite simple in their message. Oracle is more than ever focusing on cloud technology, and this year they were out to prove that Oracle is the front runner in cloud computing.
It’s been 10 years since Oracle started their Fusion Project in which they set out to rewrite their applications from scratch in order to be compatible with both on-premise and cloud computing standards. Only in the last few years Oracle has figured out that you can’t do SaaS (Software as a Service) without offering a platform for configuration and customization.
“If you sell someone a SaaS application, they might want to do more than just configure it…have it do things that they need in their particular company or their particular industry that we don’t do in our SaaS application,” Oracle Chief Technical Officer Larry Ellison said. “So they need a platform for writing those extensions, they need a platform for integrating those SaaS applications with other SaaS applications and on-premises applications.”
They weren’t the first ones to realize this. NetSuite and Salesforce.com, the pioneers of cloud computing, realized this a long time ago, and have successful platforms on which their customers build applications on.
This platform needs to be hosted somewhere, and clients need to be able to ‘rent’ computing and storage space based on their usage. Amazon Web Services pioneered this industry around 10 years ago as well with their product Elastic Cloud. Oracle realized that if they wanted their PaaS (Platform as a Service) to be successful, that they needed a reliable IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) solution as well.
“We eventually came to realize and understand that if we were going to be in the PaaS business, we also had to be in the IaaS business, because if we wanted people to use our database in the cloud, they weren’t going to use our database in the cloud with just our applications, just our SaaS applications. They had a lot of existing applications. They wanted to write applications of their own. They wanted to write them not all in Java, but in Java and new programming languages—Python, Ruby, scripting languages, programming languages, whatever you’d like to call them.” Larry Ellison said.
Over the past years Oracle has thus built a strong set of SaaS products on a robust platform with a scalable IaaS solution backing it. This seems like something most companies have done, but Ellison had some comments on their competitors in all three.
On a SaaS level Ellison said that the competitors that they see most frequently are Salesforce.com and Workday. “And we virtually never ever see SAP.” Ellison said. “The largest application company in the world is still SAP, but we never see them in the cloud.”
On an IaaS level Ellison sees the same. Oracle competes primarily with Amazon.com in this space, and sometimes they will see Google, but Ellison said again “And we never ever see IBM.” The two biggest competitors of Oracle over the past two decades have been IBM and SAP, but Ellison made the bold statement “And we no longer pay attention to either of them”.
It wasn’t just bravoure that came out of Ellison’s mouth though during his keynote sessions. He went on to take away some of the main pain points that companies have with cloud technology. One is the fact that there is the common misconception that cloud applications can’t be changed. While that is technically, Ellison clarified that you can’t change a cloud application, but that you can extend it. This allows companies to still add certain screens and features without touching the basic code of the cloud application, and thus not affecting automatic updates of features by Oracle. “Workday doesn’t have a platform,” Ellison said. “Workday has no ability to extend their applications. None.”
The second is the aspect of cloud security. There are still companies that believe that their own on-premise systems are safer and more secure than the cloud applications. Ellison stressed the fact that security should be pushed as low in the stack as possible. Oracle encrypts their databases, and thus the applications that make use of those databases inherit those encryption rules. The second point he made is that security should always be on. This seems logical, but there are still many companies that turn off encryption at some point to interact with third parties, or to create backups, most often due to performance reasons. Oracle thus guarantees that their security features have a near zero-impact on the performance of their cloud systems.
It seems like Oracle has made an aggressive push to be the market leader in cloud computing with this conference. They have said for years that they were pushing all their business towards their cloud. The difference is that seems like now, for the first time, there is a strong vision across all three tiers of the cloud space. Combine this with fact that the products that Oracle offers in the cloud are based on industry leading on-premise software such as Siebel, Oracle E-Business Suite, and JD Edwards, and you have a strategy for success. Success for Oracle and success for the companies that use their products.
Ask Sogeti Ireland today to see how we can help facilitate your Digital Transformation and gain competitive advantage in the market through cloud computing using the Oracle suite.
Sogeti Ireland is part of the Capgemini Group. Capgemini has been an Oracle partner since 1996 and achieved its Diamond-level status in 2011. Together with its clients, Capgemini creates and delivers business and technology solutions that fit their needs and drive the results they want. With a variety of pre-built processes, programs, and integration methodologies, Capgemini provides the strategic direction needed for its clients to take advantage of Oracle’s expansive project range, including Oracle Engineered Systems, Oracle Cloud applications, and Oracle big data solutions.
Michael is a Senior Digital Transformation consultant with a broad field of expertise. By combining a deep understanding of the customer context with a background in Digital Marketing, CRM, and Customer Service he helps organizations to figure out how to take real-time decisions and improve sales and marketing effectiveness.