Oracle’s application strategy is focused on customer choice and the cloud.
by Aaron Lazenby, May 2013
Oracle’s strategic acquisitions of RightNow, Taleo, Eloqua, and other enterprise cloud applications have strengthened the company’s cloud-based offering, which includes a platform-as-a-service component, infrastructure as a service, database as a service, and a set of integrated application services. Oracle Cloud Application Services include solutions for talent management, customer experience, human capital management, enterprise resource planning (ERP), and more.
“Unquestionably, we have the broadest cloud-based set of applications,” says Steve Miranda, executive vice president of application development at Oracle. Here Miranda talks to Profit about Oracle’s application strategy, what’s coming next, and how customers—including on-premises solution customers—benefit from the recent cloud acquisitions.
Profit: How are Oracle’s recent acquisitions affecting the company’s applications strategy?
Miranda: For the most part, we’ve bought best-in-class application services, which come with pretty large brand-name customers. This has helped us establish a strong presence in the cloud space. Also, the talent and experience we gained through our acquisitions helped us learn to manage customers in the cloud: how to deploy applications, make upgrades, and establish service-level agreements.
The acquisitions have really bolstered our development efforts. When you bring in talented people through acquisitions, you get good ideas from a lot of places. And these ideas have affected our cloud technologies as well as our on-premises solutions. For example, a lot of the user interface research and concepts that we used in developing our cloud applications went into the new release of Oracle’s PeopleSoft 9.1 and JD Edwards applications
Our #1 focus across the cloud-based applications is making sure our early customers are successful. . . . above anything else, that’s the focus.
And the good ideas go in both directions: from cloud to on premises, and from on premises to cloud. On the Oracle E-Business Suite side, there’s a major effort to adopt Oracle Endeca functionality for search and business intelligence, which we are now heavily utilizing for the cloud applications across all of the product platforms.
Profit: What are the advantages for customers?
Miranda: If you are an existing customer—whether that’s for Oracle E-Business Suite or Oracle’s Siebel or PeopleSoft—and you’re very happy with what you have today, we can provide you upgrades that will get you a better user interface, more mobile capabilities, business intelligence, and more.
If you want to move to cloud in a particular area—maybe there’s something appealing to you about Oracle Fusion’s open-standards-based applications, or the embedded social components—you don’t have to drop everything you already have. You can upgrade to the cloud-based applications without doing a big-bang implementation.
Profit: How do Oracle Fusion Applications interact operationally and strategically with Oracle’s cloud acquisitions?
Number of customers implementing or using Oracle Fusion Applications (Source: Constellation Research)
Miranda: The newer Oracle Fusion Applications offerings—particularly for human capital management and customer relationship management—are in the lead for the cloud-based offerings. We see a faster adoption in those areas, because that’s what’s consistent with customer pain points and the market in general. Of course, Oracle’s acquisition of Taleo also brought a large customer base, and our talent management offering in the cloud continues to grow and do well.
Finally, we are the first vendor with a robust enterprise cloud offering for ERP. We are starting to see our first ERP customers in the cloud, and we’re going to see increasing momentum there as well.
Profit: What can customers expect to see next?
Miranda: Right now, our #1 focus across the cloud-based applications is making sure our early customers are successful and that we are able to reference them as we build our install base. Above anything else, that’s the focus.
As we move forward, we will continue enhancing and adding to our cloud-based applications. And we will work on tighter integration in our customer experience set of products within CRM [customer relationship management], particularly as we integrate products from the Eloqua acquisition, social aspects, and adding more verticals to CRM.
You’ll also see us really completing our portfolio of supply chain and manufacturing assets. And then in the financials and HR area, you’ll see us continue to expand a number of localizations. We already have extremely broad coverage, certainly the broadest coverage on the market. But you’ll see expanding localization coverage and statutory coverage, particularly for some industry functions like public sector.
Ultimately Oracle’s focus is not on what we, the vendor, want you to do. Instead, we give you the solutions to solve your business problems. All our applications—whether homegrown or acquired, on premises or in the cloud—give our customers the right solutions for their business.
Aaron Lazenby is editor in chief of Profit.