I am seeing proof points this generation of enterprise software buyer is not committing to large suites from a single vendor. There are many reasons for that as I describe in this blog post.
Having said that, the broader a vendor’s cloud, mobile or other contemporary app portfolio, the greater are the opportunities for existing and new customers to consider the vendor. That was my overwhelming reaction to the Oracle ERP cloud app summit last week as they marched through the towers in graph below (and it did not even cover their HCM or industry specific apps for which they have separate summits). And Oracle presented proof points that customers are at least buying across a couple of these product towers, and some of its tools and infrastructure, if not complete suites.
The timing was a bit awkward with their quiet period (Q3 earnings will be reported this week), but each executive crisply walked through growing feature/function sets (like revenue recognition compliance with ASC 606 and IFRS 15), expanding country support in cloud release 12 and expected deltas in 13. It was also reassuring to see each of them present new customer names which have adopted within these towers.
To me, the most interesting topics were around their Adaptive Intelligence, their Supply Chain tower and some high level discussion around innovation areas.
Adaptive Intelligence promises to use machine learning to identify patterns in first party data most ERP software has always had access to with growing third party data. Some of the outcomes Oracle is focused on include “smart offers” to customers, “best fit candidates” for HCM review, “best value freight” for logistics execs and optimized supplier payment terms for CFO prioritization. Announced six months ago at Oracle OpenWorld, this summit provided an update on progress.
The Supply Chain tower is impressively broad with blends of old Agile PLM and new like the acquired LogFire warehouse management, and aimed at customers with traditional shop floors and a growing number in advanced manufacturing (robotics, wearables etc) settings.
The innovation segments touched on Robotic Process Automation, Data Visualization and Blockchain futures. I would have liked to hear about RPA given my recent book, Silicon Collar on automation and impact on jobs, but in fairness Oracle said customers are not clamoring – yet - for many of these features.
I would have liked to hear about non-manufacturing verticals, and the Project tower section touched on some service industries, but not major ones like utilities or retail. I would also liked to hear more about the NetSuite integration post-acquisition. They touched on that but with so much to cover in the Oracle portfolio, we did not have the time.
Overall, nice to see Oracle’s growing cloud application footprint and customer adoption. It allows them to cast a wide net. I do look forward to learning how Oracle will convince customers to continue to buy large suites – now even bigger with its growing portfolio of SaaS, PaaS and IaaS