While attending the Oracle Open World conference in San Francisco last week, I had an opportunity to discuss the many different Oracle announcements with customers. The general theme from my conversations can be summed up as “Wow, that’s really cool, but how can it help me?”

The highlights of the announcements included:

  • Oracle Fusion Applications now General Available after 6 years of development and including over 100 separate software products
    • Financial Management
    • Human Capital Management
    • Supply Chain Management
    • Project Portfolio Management
    • Procurement
    • Customer Relationship Management
    • Governance, Risk, and Compliance
  • Oracle announcement of the Oracle Public Cloud
    • Provides Platform as a service (CRM, HCM, Talent, Financials)
    • Provides Applications as a service (Database, JAVA, Data, Security)
    • Provides inter-operability with other Cloud infrastructures
  • Oracle announcement of the Oracle Social Network
    • Social Network integrated with All Oracle Applications
    • Collaboration via text, content, video, and voice within streams
    • Feeds
    • Gadget support
    • Real-time document sharing and markups
    • Chat and online conference sharing
    • Search with full content, real-time auto complete and context filtering
  • Exa expansions
    • Oracle Exalytics platform for Business Intelligence
    • Oracle Exalogic elastic Cloud
    • Oracle SPARC SuperCluster T4-4

Understanding Oracle’s New Vision and Focus

In addition to the OOW announcements, earlier announcements such as the rebranding of Oracle WebCenter products were discussed in many of the Fusion Middleware sessions. The initial thought from OOW attendees that I spoke with was that Oracle has solidified its position as the leading infrastructure company in terms of hardware and software.

IT professionals get the implications of this almost immediately, but many of the people I talked to who were from the business side of the house seemed to be having a hard time with relating all of these ground-breaking announcements to their own pursuits. One gentleman told me, “I understand database; everyone needs it. I understand Exadata; it allows me to support more with less hardware. I don’t understand Cloud…doesn’t that mean sharing my databases with everyone else in the world?” Another person asked, “How can this WebCenter product help me task my employees so we are on the same page? That’s my real problem.”

As a consultant, these are the questions I love to get. Oracle’s new direction and focus solve a lot of technical problems for providing real-world solutions on a consolidated platform. However, it seems the message is not resonating yet with how customers can apply these breakthroughs.

To Oracle’s defense, there were several sessions which went into each of these announcements and provided customers with a very clear vision of how these can be applied to solve common issues. In speaking with Oracle, more messaging will be forth coming and will provide great detail on how these innovations will impact the market place and help their customers. But in general, until these new technologies are deployed and use cases are written, it can be a bit confusing for customers to immediately understand the Oracle vision.

The Impact of the Cloud and Other Innovations

Cloud for example, is one area that can be an immediate benefit to most organizations by allowing companies to create a virtualized infrastructure to support all applications. Historically, datacenters may have had hardware and software configured in silos to support specific applications. This approach meant that some systems were underutilized while others were overtaxed. In a cloud, for example, databases can be configured to support multiple applications, ramping up resources on demand as needed while monitoring all application utilization to distribute load as needed. Capabilities like this can greatly reduce overall costs while maximizing capabilities on fewer servers.

The innovations continue with Oracle. Another example, Oracle Social Network, streamlines the communication within an organization while allowing for the same collaborative capabilities to resources external to a company. Imagine being able to put a marker in a phone conference so that someone who was not physically on the call could load the recording and skip directly to key parts of the conversation. The implications to productivity are incredible.

Cool Tools Help Customers to Improve

As a final note, these are really cool tools. They are designed to improve how we conduct business while saving organizations money in the long run either through minimizing hardware, improving processes, keeping employees and customers in tune with each other, and providing better data to make better business decisions. “How can it help me?” Oracle and its partners are working on the appropriate messaging and examples of these technologies being applied to use cases, but in short, Oracle’s innovations help customers to improve…Improve business operations for all aspects of the organization.

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