It was in several ways a very different Oracle message at OpenWorld last week, as the company has rapidly moved over the past year to build out a series of offerings that address what IDC calls the four pillars; social, mobile, cloud and big data. In fact you might call this the year of awakening for Oracle around both cloud and social. Now I should say up front that I'm quite sure some of my colleagues will have issues with the Oracle cloud story, and try and take this into yet another discussion of architecture, virtualization and tenancy models, but for me, I'm not going there. I've interpreted Oracle's strategy around tenancy for a couple of years, it hasn't changed, it's based on customer choice and it is, in my opinion consistent with the needs of Oracle customers. Add to that the new release 10C, a multi tenant version of the Oracle database, which was announced last week, and the story is even stronger. Detail of 10C are mostly still NDA, so I will write more on this later, but based on what is public so far, the database accommodates multiple customer databases inside a single database container.
The Oracle Cloud application portfolio now includes the entire Fusion Apps ERP suite of over 100 modules plus Oracle Social Network and offerings made up of the multiple cloud acquisitions that Oracle has made over the past year or so spanning talent management and customer service to customer experience management. Fusion apps in general has about 400 customers, of which about 100 will be live in October. Of that 100 most are public cloud and about 39% are HCM, 36% CRM and 23% ERP. From a revenue run rate perspective, Oracle is now the #2 player behind salesforce.com in cloud apps / SaaS. They also offer PaaS and IaaS offerings in the public cloud portfolio.
Oracle has taken an interesting approach to social, both internal with the OSN and externally with a portfolio of customer experience management applications, which together it now calls Social Relationship Management (SRM). OSN is a relatively new enterprise social network (ESN) product developed from Oracle WebCenter and will be publicly available this Fall. It is integral to the cloud platform and follows the concept of embedding the social / relationship layer into the application workflow, something that is very important from an overall usability and adoption standpoint. The rest of the SRM portfolio includes Social Marketing, Social Engagement and Monitoring, and Data and Insight. In Oracle CEO Larry Ellison's second keynote on Tuesday afternoon he demonstrated the deep monitoring and analytics (or socialytics as IDC calls it) capabilities of the portfolio.
Oracle's mobile story is much improved this year with the addition of Oracle Fusion Tap. Oracle standardized all of its mobile development on a single mobile development platform last year, so no surprise to see much more consistency on this front. Tap provides access to the Fusion Application cloud suite in a native iPad app and is available in a demo version on the Apple AppStore. The app does a good job of providing access to CRM and HCM functionality but is still a little light on interactive analytics, still it's a good first version and I'm sure Oracle plans to bulk up the analytic capabilities in future releases. Interactive analytics are too me anyway, one of the best features of using apps on a tablet.
From an apps perspective I'd be remiss to also not include a word about Apps Unlimited and the many roadmaps that Oracle showed across all the major product lines. Oracle continues to invest in new releases for PeopleSoft, JD Edwards, EBS, Hyperion, as well as newly acquired cloud apps Taleo and RightNow. In several sessions including a panel led by Oracle Apps Dev head Steve Miranda, Oracle executives discussed the upcoming releases and showed outlines of the next several releases and the enhancements that are on the horizon. Oracle continues to reinforce the message that it started over six years ago now, that it plans to support and invest in its major product lines along with Fusion Apps as long as the demand holds up.
Having just attended Salesforce.com's Dreamforce conference two weeks before OpenWorld it's hard not to compare the two mega-conferences. Both vendors put on a great show, but there were some differences. For me the thing that Salesforce did right, and I think is clearly a best practice in vendor conferences, was weaving powerful customer stories, told by executive from those customers, all through every keynote and discussion. In other words Salesforce lets its customers tell much of its story. This is simply not true of Oracle. Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of Oracle customer stories involved, many in the form of videos, but the approach is just different. Oracle prefers to tightly control the message and have its executives present the information, backed up mostly by customer videos. It's just not as compelling to me, and its a shame because there are some great customer stories to tell.
Well that's another OpenWorld, and there was, as always a lot of things happening and a lot of announcements to digest. Oracle's cloud and social story is clearly getting better and it will be interesting to watch how that unfolds throughout the coming year.
(Cross-posted @ Michael Fauscette)