By Carol Hildebrand
As the CIO of Oracle, Mark Sunday has a front-row seat to the company’s cloud transformation. At a recent meeting with Oracle user group members, Sunday shared stories from the journey.
“We have transformed the company into a cloud-first company, and our IT group is one of the chief influencers in the process,” Sunday said. He pointed out that Oracle’s IT community supports nearly 150,000 users, including a very large product development team, and provides IT services for Oracle customers via Oracle Managed Cloud Services and Oracle Public Cloud Services.
“The IT community at Oracle strives to be the biggest influencer and first adopter, as well as the best promotor of Oracle’s products and services,” he said, citing an example of the company’s implementation of Oracle Sales Cloud two years ago. “We give valuable feedback that results in stronger products.”
With 70 million users running 29 billion transactions a day in 21 data centers around the globe, “cloud is really big scale for Oracle,” Sunday said.
But the impact of the evolution to the cloud goes far beyond scale, or moving CapEx to OpEx. “Fundamentally, it’s a shift designed to really enable digital disruption,” he said. Digital transformation touches every function within business and demands end-to-end process integration. According to Sunday, many companies are not interested in incremental improvement—instead they want complete integration across the entire enterprise to transform their business.
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“So our strategy is to, once again, provide unmatched breadth,” said Sunday. Just for starters, Oracle has invested US$5.2 billion in R&D. It has more than 600 software-as-a-service applications, as well as platform and infrastructure services and important components such as social and business analytics. “Most important, we make sure that the Oracle technologies work well together, and with other technology,” said Sunday.
Oracle’s transformation into a cloud-first company has fundamentally changed how the company engages with both customers and employees. “With the cloud, technology is a renewal business, not a one-time sell,” said Sunday. “It changes the way we connect with our customers and the services we offer. It’s all about driving value, and re-earning our business every day.”
Sunday focused on a couple of key examples: customer experience and human capital management (HCM).
Changing consumer expectations have driven enormous change in marketing. “People are really expecting any device, anywhere, to be contextually aware, to be personalized,” said Sunday. “Customers are researching, selecting, purchasing, and communicating, and they want to choose how they interact with vendors.”
That expectation demands seamless integration across every customer-facing channel, from websites to social networks to retail stores—a tall order for most marketers.
The IT community at Oracle strives to be the biggest influencer and first adopter, as well as the best promoter of Oracle’s products and services.
—Mark Sunday, CIO, Oracle
“CMOs generally lack the ability to synchronize data, so integration together with a complete platform represents a huge opportunity,” said Sunday.
Oracle’s adoption of Oracle Marketing Cloud and Oracle Sales Cloud is a case in point, transforming how the company engages with customers and tightening interconnectivity between both functions. “Modern marketing really allows us to understand our customers and nurture a lead until it’s warm enough that it actually makes sense to engage with sales,” said Sunday.
Oracle’s sales organization—responsible for US$40 billion in annual revenue—has adopted Oracle Sales Cloud to further fuel the company's ability to engage with the customer at an individual level via integrated sales programs that drive higher productivity and accountability against its target accounts.
“We want to really understand each customer at an individual level so that we can make it as rich of an experience as possible,” said Sunday.
Equally important is how Oracle engages with its employees.
“It’s never been more challenging to acquire the talent that you need on a global basis,” said Sunday. From talent acquisition to new-hire onboarding to keeping current employees engaged, the company needed a system that let employees build connections via a centralized platform.
Once again, Oracle served as an early adopter of Oracle HCM Cloud, implementing components such as talent acquisition, analytics, offer management, and onboarding.
“As a result, we actually know who our employees are on a global basis—what they want to do, their skills, and their aspirations,” said Sunday. “We’re trying to simplify and drive efficiency, but our ultimate focus is having the right people and making them as productive and innovative as possible.”
The challenges of disruptive technology have never been greater, but the opportunities are even larger for those who embrace it. “The cloud’s real for us,” said Sunday. “Over the past decade, it has transformed how we work,” he said. The next step, according to Sunday? Using that knowledge to help Oracle customers realize the same benefits.