I was not at OOW this week, but glad I got a sneak preview from Steve Miranda. I also got to watch several of the keynotes on my iPad – from the home office, from a café in NYC, from my hotel room in NYC and from LaGuardia airport. So, I was productive on other matters while getting most of the executive messages from the conference.
Here’s what I liked
- Larry Ellison introducing the Gen 2 cloud platform. He acknowledged Oracle was late to the cloud infrastructure game but that this had given it a chance to design a more secure architecture with a separate ring of cloud control computers.
- Mark Hurd interviewing Ian Bremmer about global trends and even better his security panel with General Mike Hayden, Jeh Johnson and Lord John Scarlett with their considerable experiences at the DoD, NSA, Homeland Security and the British Secret Intelligence Service. I especially enjoyed General Hayden’s comments and wanted to stand and applaud when he talked about balancing privacy, security, freedom and liberty.
- Mark’s humor in his “analyst” predictions and Larry making fun of Oracle’s T&E policy as he demoed the new T&E bot and the “violations” (see image below) it found in his restaurant line item. Larry joked – “this would never have happened when I was CEO!”
- Steve had promised customers on stage and he delivered and so did Mark. Even Larry mentioned a few customers in his slides.
- I am glad Steve and Larry touched on the SOAR on-prem to cloud application migration offering.
What I would have liked to have seen in addition
More Differentiated customers: Most of the customers on stage talked about HCM, finance or CRM implementations . 3 years ago that would have been unique. Now, you hear similar from SAP, Workday, Infor, Microsoft and Salesforce. I would have loved to hear from Rob Carter, CIO at Fedex if Oracle has helped them with their highly automated distribution centers and the telematics and route planning for their delivery trucks. Or if Sherry Aaholm, CIO of Cummins had described if Oracle manufacturing has helped them with MES in the modern shop floor of sensors and robotics. Rather than just announcements of SOAR and the Gen 2.0 cloud, it would have been nice to hear from customers about their experiences with each. We likely will in a few years but I suspect by then the competition will likely have caught up.
More on vertical apps: I have been asking this of all the vendors. After two decades of cloud applications, we have lots of choices in horizontal apps, very little in industry books of record. As a result, by my estimate, only 20% of enterprise apps have moved to the cloud. That’s in the US, the ratio is even lower in Europe and Asia. Unless Oracle and other vendors start investing in cloud versions of industry apps, Mark’s prediction that 80% will be in the cloud by 2025 looks very ambitious.
More on conversions to OCI: Mark similarly projected the number of corporate data centers would be down 80% by 2025. Data center consolidations and moves to the cloud have been accelerating since Mark was CEO at HP and his-then CIO Randy Mott had tried an ambitious consolidation project. It would have been nice to see what percent of customers with a sizable Oracle footprint like EBS, PeopleSoft, JDE applications etc has moved from corporate data centers or hosting partners to Oracle infrastructure. That is a relatively “captive” customer base to showcase the progress towards the 2025 prediction.
More on remedies: With so much focus on security and privacy during the event, Oracle should have shared more on remedies it offers customers when there are breaches and other malicious intrusions. Just talking remedies that come with traditional SLAs is not going to be sufficient going forward
More on Gen 2 and impact on Machine learning : One of the statements I heard (and read) was “Oracle cannot see customer data” with the new architecture. That will be assuring to many customers but it made me wonder how it will impact machine learning. ML works well when we have gobs of data and scenarios to train machines. Not having data across customers will dramatically lower the number of scenarios you can train machines with. I would like to understand how Oracle will overcome this hurdle, a customer opt-in process to allow access to their data etc.
Less focus on Amazon: Larry spent most of his first keynote benchmarking OCI against AWS. He spent some of the second using Alexa for a demo and baiting Jeff Bezos. He has done this now, two OOWs in a row. This opens up Oracle to other benchmarking against Amazon – capex investment comparisons, frequent price cuts which matches AWS’s run (or at least market perception). I am not sure it wants that scrutiny.
In balance, I liked several of the things Oracle showcased. The quality of the live streams was excellent. I may continue to watch OOW from afar in future years. I better batten the hatches – Mark seems to covet an analyst job with his annual stream of predictions 🙂
(Cross-posted @ Deal Architect)