Three presentations really stood out during the Oracle Cloud analyst day in NYC this week. Thomas Kurian, President of Product Development spoke with no slides and no props for 45 minutes on different aspects of the Oracle cloud – SaaS, PaaS etc. Steve Miranda and Inderjeet Singh, in contrast, crisply marched through 47 and 59 slides respectively on Oracle’s SaaS and PaaS breadth. As they say, it wasn’t their first rodeo. They have been developing and presenting on Oracle cloud progress for years now. And through the day I kept saying to myself to call this a cloud is to insult it. Oracle has already created a Cat 1 Hurricane.
As Mark Hurd, co-CEO pointed out in his comments the industry is still very early in cloud adoption. Most of the customers who participated in the day talked about point adoption – HCM here, test and dev use of IaaS there. But the adoption should grow and Oracle wants to be their choice when they are ready. The hurricane will grow stronger and will torment many competitors along the way.
I have long been fascinated with hurricanes – cannot help that living in Florida. And the case study I wrote on the NOAA National Hurricane Center in The New Polymath only accentuated my interest
So, like most hurricanes, I expect this too shall meander. We saw some of that during the analyst day
- As I wrote during Oracle OpenWorld, it has started to downplay going after Amazon and has started to target its IaaS at managed services and hosting within its incumbent application and database customer base. This will ruffle feathers within that partner base but as I wrote then “the opportunity for both the “lift and shift” and “private cloud” strategies Larry talked about, is far bigger than what Amazon is targeting”.
- Oracle continues to self-limit its SaaS growth with its Apps Unlimited support of on-premise PeopleSoft, Siebel, JDE and its own EBS products. For now, their argument is, it’s about “customer choice”, but when that pivot comes, it will lose some customers to vendors like Workday and Salesforce but also turbo charge its own SaaS growth.
- Another reason to move more application customers to the cloud is to seed its newer Data as a Service offerings. Today, the offering revolves around the BlueKai CRM data but Oracle’s vision is to have similar offerings around HCM, SCM and other towers. Today most of that data is locked up in its on-premise apps. Sure you can export and ingest into the cloud, but the permissions and the transport are gating factors.
- The PaaS offering will expose it to newer competitors as Oracle targets identity, security, systems management and a wide range of newer data sources from the IoT, Hadoop and Spark.
Hurricanes also depend on moisture for survival, and why most weaken at landfall. The big question is will customers provide it the moisture to keep growing to a Cat 5 monster? Will they continue to buy suites? They did 2 decades ago, but many are wary after their last experience with ERP systems and vendor consolidation. They found vendor quality inconsistent across products, and yet paid heavily through “lock-in”
How it strengthens, how it meanders, what destruction it causes in the competitive landscape should be fascinating to watch. In fact, I might just volunteer to join the Hurricane Hunters in one of their WC-130Js and fly into the eye of this storm.