Oracle reinforces its cloud stack to accelerate enterprise cloud adoption
Oracle has a strong portfolio of cloud applications that are proving competitive in the market against more narrowly focused or less integrated SaaS competition. Oracle’s core platform and infrastructure businesses, however, are proving a harder sell, implied by financial results and qualitative context, despite significant innovations over recent years. The tone of Oracle OpenWorld 2018 mirrored its overall performance: The company is well positioned and executing in cloud application adoption initiatives, and is well positioned but facing stalling sales in the infrastructure business.
Applications updates were minimal but valuable
As Oracle executives pointed out, Oracle has been able to position itself well in the SaaS market by buying and building applications across both front- and back-office functional areas, leaving few holes in its horizontal applications portfolio. This relatively comprehensive portfolio, particularly across the back office with integrated ERP and Human Capital Management (HCM) suites, positions the company well as more customers look to adopt cloud applications — both voluntarily to achieve efficiencies, and under duress to plan migrations as other vendors’ on-premises products are given end-of-support deadlines. Strengthening the value of its applications at the annual event, Oracle announced artificial intelligence (AI)-based capability additions to its ERP and HCM portfolios, including chatbots, recommendation engines and process automation. Oracle also enhanced select supply chain management applications with blockchain-enabled tracking and controls to increase value for customers. These advancements add value for customers but do not significantly alter Oracle’s back-office portfolio.
Oracle’s (NYSE: ORCL) annual conference, Oracle OpenWorld 2018, took a different tone than in recent years. With corporate focus narrowed around the cloud portfolio, and key product foundations already in place, keynotes and announcements were more focused on improvements to existing applications and the database and infrastructure architecture underpinning all cloud services. This year’s event doubled down on themes of past years, including Oracle CEO Mark Hurd’s previous keynotes concerning macroeconomic trends and predictions for the cloud market, and introduced a panel of distinguished U.S. and U.K. security personnel that painted a bleak cybersecurity picture, subtextually in support of a secure, single-vendor cloud stack that Oracle is positioning itself to best address.