At an Oracle Partner event this week in Croatia, I got the latest updates on Oracle’s products. And it hit me that nobody, not even Oracle, understands why the company exists.
I looked at their website but was unable to find a mission statement or discern any coherent vision. It seems Oracle exists simply because it does.
Back in their database days, they wanted to manage all the world’s information. But in their current incarnation, their vision more cloudy than cloud.
Why on earth does an enterprise software company like Oracle dabble in chatbots? Why are they building an IFTTT clone? Why are they running “Oracle Code” events and talking about everything but Oracle software? Why are they coming from a sub-one-percent IaaS market share and announcing their intention to rule the IaaS world?
What Oracle should do is:
- Build on their strength in SaaS. I believe they are on track to living up to Mark Hurd’s vision of being one of the two SaaS vendors with 80% of the market (and no, SAP won’t be the other one)
- Provide PaaS trials limited in power, but not in time. Nobody can figure out how to use Oracle PaaS offerings in meager 30-day trials
- Concentrate on real differentiators like Application Builder Cloud Service (and stop trying to provide their version of every cloud service in the universe).
Oracle is a great software engineering company. I hope they figure out why they exist.
Stockbrokers were taken by surprise by Oracle’s Cloud revenue when Oracle announced quarterly results last week, and Oracle stock duly jumped by seven percent. It has fallen back somewhat since but is still up three percent.
(source: Yahoo Finance)
Oracle Cloud revenue is up by 63% and now makes up 13% of Oracle’s $9.3 billion quarterly revenue. It is not clear how much of this is the “cloud credits” that is reportedly bundled into renewal and new on-premise deals. It will be interesting to see if customers find a good use for these credits and will buy more once they are used up.
As an ERP and database company, it would make the most sense for Oracle to push their strong SaaS and PaaS offerings. SaaS and PaaS currently make up 85% of Oracle cloud revenue, but they have decided to try to muscle into the already-crowded market for commodity computing services. With $195 million of IaaS revenue, it doesn’t make much sense for Oracle to try to catch up to Amazon’s $3.5 billion.
I spend much of my time advising people on Oracle software, and someone just asked me on Quora.com about the future of Oracle SOA.
I told him that the future of Oracle SOA is bright, but within a much bleaker future for SOA in general.
SOA in general has over-promised and under-delivered to such an extent that it now considered legacy and poor practice. While a few organizations have gotten SOA right, most haven’t and have little to show for their multi-million dollar SOA projects.
For the people who still belive in a Service-Oriented Architecture (mainly public sector and large, slow-moving organizations), the Oracle SOA product is a very strong offering. As is to be expected of a product from the largest enterprise software vendor in the world, the Oracle SOA suite contains everything you need and carries a corresponding price tag.
Is Oracle SOA right for you? Send me a mail and let’s discuss it.
In another indication of how important Cloud is to Oracle, the ACE Director community just received their first official quota of advocacy from Oracle. We are expected to produce a specific number of blog posts, videos, tweets, etc. about Oracle Cloud.
I’ve been part of this great program for eight years, have benefited greatly and have been able to help many Oracle customers along the way. Until now, we ACE Directors have been free to contribute in whatever way we wanted. We’ve handed in an annual report of our doings, and those found worthy have been granted another year in the program.
This is the first time we have been given such a specific assignment, and it makes me worry about Oracle’s position in the Cloud marketplace. They have great Cloud products, but if they consider it necessary to ask us to promote Cloud more, it indicates that Oracle Cloud does not have great traction among customers yet.
You know there are good User Experience Design Patterns. There are also anti-patterns – bad stuff done by people who don’t know better.
And then there are Dark Patterns – User Experience deliberately crafted by clever people to trick users. The Oracle Cloud trial is unfortunately an example of the Roach Motel pattern. Many pages of instructions on how to sign up, but nothing about how to terminate your service.
It becomes almost absurd when you try to use the prominently featured chat function, only to be told “Chat Support is presently unavailable. Your inquiry is important to us”. You can’t make these things up…
More than 6 months after Oracle announced the Java Cloud and Database Cloud services at Oracle OpenWorld, we’re still waiting for these services to materialize. There might be technical reasons for this delay, but it is also obvious that Oracle hasn’t figured out a business plan for these services either.
At the announcement, Oracle was cagey about the pricing, which was to be expected for a service Larry reputedly invented a few months before OpenWorld. However, I recently had the opportunity to ask Oracle again if they had worked out – and they still refuse to quote a price. You’ll have to talk to your friendly Oracle salesperson to get a quote (that will undoubtedly be wrapped in legalese saying you can’t share it).
This lack of transparency is a clever move by Oracle: They can offer reasonable pricing in order to acquire a few token customers and then quote everybody else a yearly price equal to, say, one third of the cost of a perpetual license. In this way, they can claim to have a cloud service without cannibalizing revenue from their existing business model of selling full licenses up front.
By failing to embrace the cloud model, however, Oracle will eventually start loosing market share to true cloud players. It’ll be interesting to see if they figure out how to transform themselves into a real cloud company.