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Oracle in Focus: Cloud, Infrastructure, Database and Platform (CXOTalk #261)

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What is Oracle and where do its software, database, and cloud products stand today in relation to cloud technology and big data? Three prominent analysts – Mike Fauscette, chief research officer at G2 Crowd; Liz Forrester, vice president and primary analyst at Forrester; and Neil Ward-Dutton, co-founder and research director at MDW Advisors – talk with CXOTalk to place Oracle in focus. For more information see, https://www.cxotalk.com/episode/oracle-focus-industry-analysts-view Fauscette is the chief research officer at G2 Crowd, a platform and community where people can connect and share experiences about business software. Fauscette previously spent ten years as an executive and senior analyst at technology market research firm IDC, where he led worldwide business software research. He is also a published author, blogger, photographer and accomplished public speaker on emerging trends in business software, business modernization and customer experience strategies. Herbert focuses on the technology services industry, helping clients navigate this fast-changing market and maximize the business value of their technology investments. As a principal analyst, she helps clients understand the key dynamics in the enterprise application services market and make smart technology sourcing decisions. Specific topics of focus include SaaS, SAP and Oracle Services, and services for cloud and mobile. She also advises technology and technology services vendors on market dynamics, buyer demands, competitive landscape, and go-to-market. Ward-Dutton is MWD Advisors' co-founder and Research Director, and is one of Europe’s most experienced and high-profile IT industry analysts. His areas of expertise include business process management (BPM), enterprise architecture (EA), Cloud computing and digital strategy. He also acts as an advisor to large organizations across a range of sectors and industries, including leading technology vendors. From the transcript: What are you seeing in the market with respect to Oracle today? Liz Herbert: (00:05:52) Sure. One of the things we've seen is that, like you said, they're one of the largest technology suppliers out there, and sometimes that means they're not the fastest. They don't necessarily take risks the way that some smaller and more startup-type companies do. For example, it's well known that Oracle was a bit late to the overall cloud competition that we see looming large in today's applications market, as well as platforms and infrastructure. (00:06:17) That said, when they invest, they go big. One of the things that's been notable about Oracle is that, where they're jumping into a new area of customer demand, they're able to put a significant amount of investment behind it. In fact, there's something very unique about the company, which we haven't really talked much about yet, but because Larry Ellison owns such a substantial part of the overall company, they're able to take decisions in a way that many other public companies of their size would not be able to. Neil Ward-Dutton: (00:08:45) Now on the platform side of things, fundamentally, my view is that Oracle's strategy is kind of defensive, but that's not necessarily a bad thing, nor is it surprising. Its position and its strategy is fundamentally about realizing that the center of gravity for the foreseeable future for new investments is going to be cloud. It's all about being there when customers want them to be there, to kind of minimize opportunities for customers to go anywhere else, to make sure that they always have something that they can offer customers when customers go to town and want to do things. Mike Fauscette: (00:21:48) I think it's an interesting point to say that customers and business, in general, change. We know, and you hear people talk about digital transformation. We think about platforms, and we think about this new way technology plays in business. It's much more into a competitive differentiator, a competitive advantage. It's something that companies that jump ahead can really leapfrog competition by using technology and people in the right sort of combinations. (00:22:22) Fundamentally, the way that companies think of what they want from the technology has started to shift. Now there's the conservative middle that'll follow that isn't out on the edge yet. You think about companies like Oracle, Salesforce, and others that have to be able to work in that environment. They have a business they have to maintain and, at the same time, they want to start to help those customers shift, move in the directions, and have the things available that can help them do that.
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