Rimini Street recently conducted a survey of Oracle customers. Oracle and Rimini have long been in litigation, so I would read the results with a nuanced viewpoint, but it does not paint the picture of a very happy Oracle Nation.
As an analyst, I am particularly interested in products and competitive positioning. One of the more intriguing sub-plots in my writing SAP Nation 3.0 was looking at why its competitors did not go for the jugular. 5 years ago, when I wrote the first volume, SAP’s image suffered from the massive failures and writeoffs, it appeared distracted by HANA, its next-gen ERP, S/4 was immature. Customers were ring-fencing SAP, moving to third party maintenance and two-tier ERP. In many ways, SAP was on the ropes.
As I say in the book
“Partly because SAP’s competitors did not target it aggressively enough, and partly because its own cloud acquisitions and developed products afforded it a shield, the company has come through the threat of the last five years relatively unscathed. In fact, when you look at the mob of strong competitors that it had to fend off, it has done remarkably well. In those five years, SAP’s customer count has actually increased by 50%. Wall Street has not been as generous to SAP as it has to cloud vendors, but the existential threat that SAP faced has passed.”
The competition is not just Oracle, but as the largest application competitor to SAP, I wondered why they did not have more momentum in the last five years. It’s partly because the Oracle functional scope in the cloud does has not appear to have grown significantly. I wrote recently
“In October 2018, Oracle co-CEO Hurd predicted that 80% of business applications would be in the cloud by 2025….Today, even after two decades of cloud computing, industry and geographic coverage is spotty — by my estimate, less than 20%. For Hurd’s prediction to prove accurate, it will take massive new investments in upgrading industry functionality.”
Will Hurd’s own products grow rapidly and get a lion share of his projected 80%? In January 2006, Oracle had confidently declared they were “Halfway to Fusion”. 13 years later, Oracle still mostly talks finance, HCM and CRM. NetSuite, even after 20 years, has limited global coverage as Phil Wainewright points out here or industry coverage as I point out here.”
Beyond applications, I was excited about its autonomous database, but wondered why they had to bundle it with their IaaS. When it was introduced, I wrote this. I have also been puzzled why the Oracle IaaS had not focused on its and other on-premise customer bases. I wrote this 3 years ago.
I write this from SAP’s Sapphire show. I spent yesterday at the ASUG (user group) Executive Exchange. There was vigorous conversation on a wide range of topics, many like Indirect Access which makes SAP cringe. My schedule for the week shows small group settings with key executives. I attended a couple of sessions at the Partner summit. We got a sneak preview of the show floor even as the roadies were still setting up. Jon Reed has polled several “Mentors” and influential developers in the SAP community. There is a definite openness to all this. The week prior Workday allowed us access to most of their product executives at their analyst summit. Next week Plex is taking us to (another) customer plant, and has several executive sessions for analysts as part of their user conference. More openness.
I have asked for Oracle for a similar, much more open analyst summit and have been told it’s not likely to happen any time soon. May be it’s just me with all these questions. But I suspect my analyst colleagues have other questions about the vibrancy of its database, its platforms and other products. We all want Oracle to be a strong competitor, but with so many questions, it would be nice to have much more open conversations. In the meantime, I will have to rely on Oracle partners like OppSource to describe innovations as Mark Galloway does here.
Frankly, they can easily ignore us analysts. It’s customers they need to focus on – the Rimini survey is a symptom of what they need to turn around.
(Cross-posted @ Deal Architect)