Oracle OpenWorld 2012 Highlights the Real Cloud Innovators
Oracle’s 2012 OpenWorld Conference provided one distinct message above all the hype: The Emperor has lost its crown.
Similar to every other major technology conference this year, Big Data and the cloud were the two major themes addressed by Oracle. Oracle President Mark Hurd shared during his keynote that the amount of data generated by the average company is increasing by 40 percent annually. Storing and managing that data is an expensive and challenging proposition. In a different keynote, Larry Ellison emphasized Oracle’s focus on the cloud and hinted at new developments in the company’s cloud-based social capabilities.
These announcements came in the wake of disappointing earnings for the database giant. While Oracle’s software business fared relatively well, its hardware product sales were “a disaster” according to Bloomberg.
Oracle’s poor hardware sales reflect a tectonic shift in the way that enterprises are going about managing, storing and analyzing their data. On-premise infrastructure, if not dying entirely, is certainly being phased out as businesses implement more cost-efficient and scalable cloud-based services.
Oracle may have made a play at enterprise hardware, but as executives themselves tacitly acknowledged during Oracle’s OpenWorld, the cloud is now where enterprise technology lives.
User interface, especially as it relates to Big Data, is another important factor slowing Oracle down. Large corporations such as Oracle are sorely lacking when it comes to delivering a business intelligence offering that doesn’t require an engineering background to decipher. The enterprise is craving an easy-to-use, collaborative and interactive BI solution which enables real-time decision making to drive revenue and growth.
Meanwhile, Oracle attempted to acquire this type of technology via M&A through its $3.3 billion acquisition of Hyperion Solutions. The end-result, however, was that it procured an expensive, labor- and infrastructure-intensive solution that did little to add value to companies’ collections of Big Data.
While Silicon Valley giants such as Oracle and HP attempt to monetize and innovate around Big Data and BI, true innovation is coming from more agile, nimble start-ups that are exploding on to the technology landscape. This innovation is resulting from a concept that has been formally hard to deliver: consumer-friendly designs that end-users love – taking the complexity out of enterprise computing and introducing the next generation of scalable, simple and intuitive technologies.
The ability for Oracle to integrate M&A assets into its company culture in a productive way will be a difficult challenge in the short-term. And with a bevy of start-ups working collaboratively with both small and large enterprises and enabling them to monetize big data in the cloud, Oracle may have missed the last train. Time will tell.