I have analyzed Oracle applications business since the early 90s – first at PwC, then Gartner, now at Deal Architect. I have long been a Larry Ellison admirer, much less so of his company’s applications. It has been a perennial, promising, second ranked “Avis” in the applications market. The problem is their “we try harder” mission often gets distracted by the company’s database or tools or infrastructure business. I get excited every few years, but they always seem to lose momentum. Reading Steve Miranda’s comments in Seeking Alpha, it may be time to get excited again:
“It is the industry’s most complete set of cloud applications and consists of more than 1,100 different modules. We have applications for every business function from finance and HR to supply chain, manufacturing, sales, marketing, and customer service. Our portfolio also includes dedicated applications for industry verticals.”
If the 1,100 modules cover a wide range of global and vertical angles, it would make them by far the vendor with the widest functionality in the cloud. See my post about the poor Glo-ver coverage in enterprise apps.
I have thought about writing Oracle Nation in the past focusing on its application business history over the last couple of decades. It is a rich motherlode to mine:
– Lots of very interesting executives – Larry, Mark Hurd, Ray Lane, Charles Phillips, Thomas Kurian among the many who have shaped its applications journey
– A wide tapestry of application software companies which have been acquired by Oracle
– Changing mix of competition – Microsoft, SAP, Salesforce, Workday etc.
– Legal and other spats with DOJ, SAP, Rimini Street etc
I have hesitated in the past because of several reasons
– Many a gossipy book has been written about Larry, so I understand why Oracle is a bit wary of authors. That is not my angle – I write about companies not personalities. I have plenty of contacts at Oracle customers, partners, alum but but without open access at Oracle, the book would be incomplete.
– My style is case study heavy. I like to interview a broad range of customers across countries and industries. I have not seen that range of customers – sure Oracle has them, but will need help there.
– As a couple of my analyst friends have (snarkily) asked – what new will you present in the book? Their point is Oracle is the bully in the industry, not well-liked – how will I be able to change that perception?
Frankly, my job is to present the facts based on lots of research and let the reader decide on the perception. As another analyst once told me “You can make a brown paper bag sound interesting”. 7 books in the last decade have given me plenty of practice.
Two decisions I have to make in the next few months:
– The first is a business decision. Based on feedback to my recent book, SAP Nation 3.0, I sense a book on Salesforce/Workday and other SaaS leaders may generate more of an audience. Even more would be one on PaaS and IaaS using Amazon, Microsoft and Google tools.
– Secondly, I have to make sure this is not another case of “mission accomplished”. In 2006, Oracle had (way) prematurely celebrated “Halfway to Fusion“. I need to ensure the 1,100 modules in the cloud, as Steve claims, cover a wide range of global and vertical angles and have a reasonable number of customers in production.
Likely make a decision before the end of the year. Readers – help me out with your thumbs up or down and why.
(Cross-posted @ Deal Architect)