I tend to not listen to vendor quarterly earnings calls. I get much better value from briefings at industry analyst events and from customer feedback. I also find it irritating that executives brag and beat up on competitors on these calls knowing full well they will themselves be targeted a few days or few weeks later.
I listened to a replay of the Oracle 1Q18 earnings call last night, and sure enough there was bragging and bashing (like Larry Ellison saying “there is no one left to buy” ) but couple of things stood out for me.
The cloud momentum
As I wrote a few weeks ago, cloud computing is at a pivot point. In the next wave, hairy industry applications – utility billing, retail merchandising, healthcare emr - and many others need to be tackled. The easier administrative and customer facing cloud applications are maturing nicely. The operational systems, hardly at all. In the next wave, we will also need massive cloud infrastructure investments as decades of creaky on-premise and outsourcing/telco assets need replacing. The funny thing is most vendors will sell cloud to customers as replacing capex with opex then magically expect their own capex to disappear or be someone else’s responsibility.
So, I am pleased to see Oracle’s cloud momentum - Software as a Service (SaaS) revenues were up 62% from the previous year to $1.1 billion. and Platform as a Service (PaaS) plus Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) revenues were up 28% to $400 million. To me, success encourages investments and I want Oracle to focus much more on verticals and infrastructure. With the broadest set of cloud offerings - SaaS, PaaS, IaaS and DaaS - Oracle is positioned to be the industry’s locomotive for the next wave of cloud evolution.
With my recent focus on automation with Silicon Collar, I liked Larry Ellison previewing the “driverless database” on the call. He promised, using machine learning, it would reduce today’s labor (DBA and managed services) time and effort, and even more the errors they cause, while improving reliability to what he called “99.995% …while charging much less than AWS.” I want to next see what Oracle is thinking in terms of autonomous applications and how it plans to further leverage the growing world of robotics, drones, AI, wearables, sensors, 3D printing and other automation in its design of business processes.
I look forward to hearing, seeing and discussing a lot more on both topics next month at Oracle OpenWorld.