Having attended vendor conferences for the better part of 12 years, I always look forward to attending Oracle OpenWorld in San Francisco. This year was no different. OpenWorld is one of the best-organized, well-attended conferences with about 60,000 customers, partners, and employees attending. The 2015 edition theme was clear from the beginning, Cloud. Everywhere you looked and every session you attended, all you heard about was the Cloud. As Oracle’s CTO Larry Ellison will happily tell you, Oracle has been in the Cloud business for almost 10 years but this seems to be the year that Cloud is going to the next level. I learned this week that Larry is not only a fighter pilot and yacht enthusiast, but also educates those in attendance at his keynotes on how to make nuclear bombs and buy sensitive data on the internet. Like always, he did not disappoint in entertaining the crowd during his presentations at OpenWorld.
The message this year was distinct. Oracle is the leader in Cloud technology. From SaaS (Software as a Service), PaaS (Platform as a Service) and IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service), Oracle’s message is that they are the one stop shop for the best of breed suite in Cloud offerings. Feel free to come to your own conclusions about whether that is true. The biggest difference I heard this week compared to year’s past was the value drivers of making the move to Cloud. For years the main message has been reducing costs but this year, that’s taken a backseat to increased productivity, faster innovation, real-time reporting and scalability. This message seems to be resonating with customers as Oracle claims to have added 1,300 ERP Cloud customers and 1,000 HCM Cloud customers in the last 12 months alone.
We heard from a few of these customers during the conference and their experiences were as wide ranging as their industries. One constant though was that their change was transformational. In order to successfully implement one of the Cloud offerings, one must be aware of and accept that things will be different moving forward. This transformational change requires buy-in from all levels of an organization and we heard varying metrics around adoption. In rare cases clients were able to go through a selection process and implement Oracle’s ERP or HCM cloud offering in 18 months but others took over 24 months.
Oracle’s CEO Mark Hurd made some interesting predictions during his keynote speech. “By 2025 80% of production apps will be in the Cloud” and “By 2025 virtually all enterprise data will be stored in Clouds”. It will be very interesting to see if his proclamations hold true but one thing is very clear…Oracle has their “Head in the Cloud”.