By: Jeff Erickson
When you’re an enterprise technology company substantially living off of licensed software running onsite at your customers’ data centers, how do you dare call yourself a “cloud company”?
That thought might have been going through some minds as Silicon Valley types recently filed into a downtown hotel in San Jose, California, to hear Oracle ORCL +0.87% executives share the latest about the company’s enterprise cloud offerings.
If they had not been paying attention to the software giant lately, the escalator ride up to the Oracle CloudWorld keynote hall, festooned with cloud-themed signs and balloons, might have seemed a bit much.
Hours later, however, on the escalator back down, they would know that, as unlikely as it might have seemed to the casual observer, Oracle has become a cloud company—with a clear strategy to become “the” cloud company.
Here are a few choice bits from the opening talk by Thomas Kurian, Oracle’s president of product development. His comments highlight the silo-busting, digital-first way of thinking that cloud customers are hungry to adopt.
Cloud-based human resources management is about more than automating traditional HR processes.
“Once [employees] are onboarded and being paid, you can give them a career plan. You can set up a review process with them and as part of that review process you can set goals and a development program. You can set up succession management and give them classes…. It is an integrated system, so if you are head of HR not only do you see all of the employees going through this life cycle, but you also have the ability to use the same system to get analysis done. You can get a view of your workforce. You can understand where you need to improve compensation. What are the best sources from where you can source new people? All of that is done through our built-in analytics capability that is integrated into the system.”
Cloud-based HR systems move people beyond HR.
“Normally when people think of HR, what do you think about? Organizational charts. The place you go to look at your pay slip. The place you go to change your benefits. That is not what we want HR to be. You [want to] go to the browser and [be able to] access all of the capabilities I have talked about. To us modernizing HR is about making it a system that can reach every person in the company, that can engage them and help them build a network within the company and can help them build their career and engagement within the company.”
Cloud technology makes everyone smarter, faster, and more autonomous.
“If a manager wants to get a report about their team they do not need to call a professional reporting department. If an executive wants information, they do not have to wait; they simply access the system and get information now. It is not out of date—it is coming live off the system. That is the same for ERP and every piece of our suite.”
Just renting infrastructure lowers your hardware and software acquisition costs, but doesn’t put a dent in your labor costs.
“If you are on the same software you can run our software on other people’s clouds. What they give you is facilities and hardware. They are renting you that. Who is responsible for configuring Oracle? You are. Who is responsible for patching Oracle? You are. Who is responsible for configuring certificates? You are. Who is responsible for backing it up? You are. That maintenance cost, which is the biggest part of the cost, does not go away. What we focused on in PaaS is to reduce your cost by eliminating the steps that are manual in nature.”
CloudWorld discussions also covered the company’s ballooning cloud customer base, many of whom have never purchased from Oracle before. And its Swiss Army knife of platform as a service offerings that make Oracle Cloud the easy choice for its gargantuan installed base of license-carrying customers. (Remember them?) Smart on lots of levels.