Hiren Desai, Director Technology, Kaiser Permanente
The technology and business landscape of today is changing more rapidly than even before. Terms such as Chief Customer Officer, Chief Client Officer, Chief Experience Officer were unheard of in yesteryears and were simply known as another title. All this has changed in the recent years, with the advent of many new business and technology factors like Cloud Computing where one never hears the old discussion on whether to move to the cloud or not, the role of UX which has become vital not just to product teams but to the entire organization. Many companies like Slack, Uber, Apple, Amazon are prioritizing the customer experience over all else and making it an important part of their company’s culture and deliverables. There are many other similar examples as well. Suffice to say, this changing landscape has made technology software and hardware suppliers to adapt, innovate and improve on their traditional ways of working and Oracle is no exception to that.
The role of the CIO in addition to delivering integrations whether on-premise or in the cloud has evolved to one that not only oversees the overall technology strategy but one that also works with the Chief Experience Officer to increase customer reach via new channels, provide business intelligence that is predictive and prescriptive and doing all of this in the most secure manner possible while maintaining agility and scalability. All these items are not just for technology discussions but are also being discussed at the board levels.
Applications are rapidly moving to the cloud for many reasons such as taking advantages of the emerging technologies available in the cloud, scaling elastically to match demands, reduce time, effort and complexity of managing a large on-premise infrastructure, pay for IT resources that are used, focus more on innovation amongst a host of other benefits while avoiding cloud lock-ins. In addition to cloud computing, other technologies are also converging and gaining greater adoption like Machine Learning, AI, Blockchain for high-trust transactions, Augmented and Virtual Reality, and user engagement using Voice Technologies. The convergence of all these technologies is happening at the data level and has led to a new saying “Data is the new oil” wherein data is managed autonomously leading to it always being available, trusted and secure. This is only possible with much greater degrees of automation in maintenance activities like patching, upgrades and updates and while the system is up and running.
Oracle’s fundamental strength as a world-class provider of enterprise technology capabilities is under threat from numerous “Oracle Database killers” that have surfaced in the recent past
Oracle has taken the lead in extreme automation with the Oracle Autonomous Database which is the industry’s first hands off database that is self-driving, self-securing and self-repairing. Combined with this a single identity is also provided by Oracle that bridges premises and the cloud irrespective of whether the cloud is hybrid or a public cloud.
While Cloud Computing’s rapid growth is unstoppable, Organizations have also realized that a single ERP, SCM, HCM or CRM that meets all the enterprise’s needs in a large, complex and diverse organizations is not tenable. This is because SaaS solutions are still maturing, and no cloud vendor offers the exact functionality that maps to all of their current and future requirements. In many cases this is causing business impacts involving customizations, infrastructure issues, network issues, application configuration issues and master data issues to name a few leaving the business vulnerable even though they have moved their applications to the cloud. Oracle has and continues to provide support in all areas to minimize such disruptions via its Cloud Infrastructure-as-a-service, Cloud Software-as-a-service and Platform-as-a-service offerings. Oracle also has a Hardware Systems Product Segment that provides a broad selection of hardware systems, storage, networking, virtualization software, operating systems and management software to support diverse IT environments, whether they are on-premise, hybrid cloud or cloud. Oracle’s software and hardware also works with other non-Oracle software and hardware.
Oracle’s Autonomous database and Data-warehouse released in March 2018, are designed to provision, tune, patch, update and secure itself without human intervention. This is not meant to make DBAs lose their jobs to instead to free them up from highly administrative tasks to more innovative tasks. This Autonomous database is built on Oracle Exadata, a powerful fault-tolerant hardware and software system engineered specifically to deliver extreme performance for Oracle Database workloads. It is available in both on-premise and cloud-based versions. In addition to numerous other valuable product offerings, Oracle offers Eloqua – a cloud-based lead scoring tool with prospective heat maps which is also integrated with Oracle Sales Cloud platform to enable the company’s sales and marketing teams to share the same profiles, sales forecasts and purchase orders. This helps the CMO better align sales and marketing teams while both the CFO and CMO can agree on real conversion possibilities by analyzing reports in just a few hours which was nearly impossible to do in a standalone CRM system.
Oracle’s cloud and on-premise products are enabling to rapidly rework everything from enterprise architecture to social media policies and from cloud-computing environments to customer-experience projects in a broad-based effort to simplify IT and provide new revenue streams to fund innovation, growth and latency-free processes. Oracle is enabling to monetize Big Data by exploiting it to unlock new growth opportunities in a world that is being driven by mobile, web, social and the Internet of Things. Cloud Computing with Oracle’s help is becoming a business-transformation agent that is moving away from just a technology centered discussion to one that is focused on strategic business outcomes.
Oracle’s fundamental strength as a world-class provider of enterprise technology capabilities is under threat from numerous “Oracle Database killers” that have surfaced in the recent past. While Oracle is delivering in the Cloud, the cloud wars are underway and Oracle is behind in at least in the Infrastructure-as-a-service arena. Amazon is threatening Oracle with its Redshift database but in response Oracle is guaranteeing in writing that its Autonomous Database will outperform Amazon’s Redshift by a significant margin and cost much less. Oracle is innovating in anticipation of such changes and has even allowed companies to bring their own Oracle licenses to other non-Oracle clouds, a move that is already helping Oracle win over some that oppose Oracle and help it to co-exist with multiple clouds, one of which could also be the Oracle Cloud.
Oracle is already embracing the “XaaS” effect on its business where “XaaS” is now known as the ‘everything-as-a-service’ model. Oracle has already made the move from simply shipping the product to a vendor that is helping businesses enable a desired outcome which provides not just the product but the best technology experience but also the best employee and customer experiences. Oracle’s focus has shifted from simply achieving the sale to a vendor that takes full responsibility for the software’s performance.
Oracle knows that much of the business world would come to a screeching stop if Oracle’s products were suddenly turned off today but it does not continue to rest on its laurels and is addressing some in the business world that have formed an anti-Oracle ecosystem by going back to its roots and working hard to be a trusted technology and business partner that delivers excellent security and customer experiences. And it would be a safe bet to side with Oracle given its past track record, its history of innovation, its established installed base and its upcoming product roadmap and move to the cloud.