Have you ever noticed that when someone does something new, it can be hard for people to understand it or believe it can be achieved? I've been thinking about this quite a bit in light of Oracle's applications strategy. Our Applications Unlimited commitment to keep improving the capabilities of our existing applications—even as we simultaneously develop and offer a next-generation suite of applications—is unique in the industry. So it's vital that we explain why this strategy is so important to our customers and how we are uniquely positioned to execute it.
Applications architecture is in a continual state of evolution, and there is usually a significant shift every five to seven years. We've seen technology move from file-based systems to databases and from 3GL and 4GL to object-oriented programming. More recently we've witnessed the advent of client/server technology and the evolution of internet-based applications.
Shifts in technology impact both vendors and customers. Vendors need to decide how they will transition their products to the new technology, and customers need to balance the benefits of implementing new technology with the cost of moving to it. Historically, customers have a limited window of opportunity to decide when or how they will adopt new technologies because vendors do not provide a choice for moving to it. When vendors decide to adopt a new technology, they typically stop offering products on prior technologies. This puts customers in the position of deciding whether to move to the new technology—regardless of how ready they are to make the transition—or sacrifice innovation (functional or technical) to stay on the known technology.
We think the right way for our customers to move from a current generation of technology to the next generation is based on a careful evaluation of the business value inherent in the shift. This brings us back to our strategy. We are going to continue to enhance our products in the Oracle, PeopleSoft, JD Edwards, and Siebel lines while we simultaneously deliver a next-generation product to the marketplace.