Oracle CEO Larry Ellison launched the OpenWorld 2013 conference by announcing updates to the company’s combined hardware and software database systems, but there was much more going on at day one of the annual event.
Q&A with Mark Hurd, Oracle President
Ellison introduced a few updates on opening night of OpenWorld, but during day one of the full event, we got a bit more in depth with Marc Hurd, Oracle co president.
"We focus on bringing our customers performance gains, and that equals cost savings in infrastructure," Hurd said at a press conference this week.
Oracle has released a database recovery appliance, one of the company’s hardware and software combinations that could help companies reduce costs by increasing business continuity, Hurd said. Becuase some companies spend as much as 1/3 of their IT budgets on things like database recovery and backup, Oracle now allows them to backup data in incremental phases instead of larger, more expensive and time consuming backups.
The company announced its Q1 2014 finances just before OpenWorld launched, and Hurd also went more into depth about the health and future of the company. Now that Oracle has embraced the cloud, something it had previously been loathe to do, new software licenses and cloud software subscriptions account for about 20% of total revenue. That’s up slightly over the same time last year, and software licenses, updates and product support were up about 2% as well.
Conversely, Oracle’s hardware business, much like the rest of the industry, was flat to down, Hurd said.
"From a unit share perspective, we’re doing great," Hurd said about hardware.
When asked if pricing was the reason for lower hardware revenues, Hurd said pricing hasn’t collapsed, but the mix is different.
"That is a market share decision," Hurd said.
"We can double the cost of a product, or simply gain more share. We chose the second."
As to the future of the large scale IT economy overall, Hurd said Oracle’s software license business grew 17% in Q1 2014, and that many competitors have negative numbers.
"Almost all of our growth was organic," he said of the software revenues.
Endeca Experience Manager is part of Oracle Commerce.
How Media Companies Use Oracle Commerce
We also got some tactical information on how media companies use tools like Oracle Commerce. Customer experience is one of the themes inside OpenWorld, and we caught up with Robert Ambrose, media and entertainment industry director at Oracle on how the company approaches those customers.
While Oracle doesn't break out its revenues by industry, it does employ sales teams that are industry specific, Ambrose said. On the media side, Oracle is mostly focused on existing customers, and talking to them about trends in digital technology and the business more generally.
Oracle Commerce is obviously transactional in nature, and that consits of the ATG ecommerce technology acquired in 2010, and Endeca, a customer experience management suite. Commerce customers include the New York Times and Boston Globe, Ambrose said, and those companies are using the technology to better understand what thier customers are willing to pay for.
In other words, it's a pay wall versus subscription pricing fight, and Ambrose cited Netflix as one of the industry leaders on this front. In addition to tools like Oracle Commerce, media organizations are using Right Now technology to help them with customer service, and sometimes combining it all with the WebCenter Web content management tools.
It turns out News Corp Australia is Oracle's largest WebCenter customer on the media side, Ambrose said. Most large media company's produce their own WCM systems, but at least other companies can look to the that site to see what's possible with Oracle's toolkit.