Oracle's on a Roll Trying To Dominate CRM and Cloud Services
Once notable for its co-founder's dismissal of cloud computing, Oracle has taken big steps recently to strengthen its cloud-service offerings, especially those focused on the customer-facing side of business, i.e., customer relationship management.
Over the span of a week starting in late April, Oracle announced two large cloud service company acquisitions -- the utilities-focused Opower and Textura, which offers construction contracts and payment management services -- and launched several new marketing- and customer-focused cloud services. Those included new account-based marketing capabilities in Oracle Marketing Cloud, a new release of Oracle Field Service Cloud and updates to its Sales Cloud and Commerce Cloud.
The moves underscore comments about "the modern sales experience" recently made by Siva Sundaresan, general vice president of Oracle Sales Applications. Speaking to an audience of customers and partners in Las Vegas recently, Sundaresan said that clear visibility of data throughout the customer journey is vital to businesses that want to grow and achieve higher margins.
'Reorienting Infrastructure Around the Customer'
IDC analyst Gerry Murray told us that Oracle's recent moves are meant to support its long-term strategy to deliver a customer-facing IT (CFIT) ecosystem. CFIT encompasses all the customer-facing functions of a business, from finance and marketing to sales, service and support, he added.
"Each of these areas has extremely valuable information about customers, but the systems are not designed to share it," Murray said. "Oracle is one of the major companies with the technology assets and strategic vision to help companies reorient these infrastructures around the shared goal of serving the customer consistently across all touch points."
Achieving that goal, however, will require Oracle to deliver a wide range and assortment of integrated capabilities, which means there is a lot more merger and acquisition and product evolution work to do, he added.
Aiming for SaaS, PaaS Dominance
In a rant to financial analysts in 2008, Oracle co-founder, former CEO and now CTO Larry Ellison famously decried cloud computing as a "fashion-driven" trend, peppering his comments with words like "crap," "insane" and "gibberish." However, his company has since embraced the cloud as much as any other tech firm, although it still has some catching up to do in the market.
Oracle is a company whose "entire business line was once dependent on companies managing their own infrastructure," which has made the shift toward cloud computing a significant challenge, wrote Shudeep Chandrasekhar in a blog post on the financial site Seeking Alpha. While the company needs more time, it is making progress in cloud revenues, he said.
When it announced its 2016 Q3 results in March, Oracle said it saw revenues from cloud software-as-as-service (SaaS) and platform-as-a-service (PaaS) offerings speed up to achieve a growth rate of 61 percent during the quarter.
"In absolute dollar terms, Oracle is already selling more enterprise SaaS and PaaS new cloud revenue than any other company in the world -- including Salesforce.com," Ellison said in a statement ahead of the earnings call. Competing in markets like enterprise resource planning, human capital management, supply chain, manufacturing and other SaaS areas, "should make it easy for us to pass Salesforce.com and become the largest SaaS and PaaS cloud company in the world," he added.
Image Credit: Oracle.