I expect the broad gap between traditional enterprise applications and industry-specific clouds will begin to narrow this week as Oracle will showcase significant “crossover” features at its big CloudWorld customer event in Las Vegas.
Over the past several months, Oracle executives — including founder and chairman Larry Ellison — have been particularly bullish on the industry phenomenon over the past several months, and the company has teased out a few cases in which traditional line-of-business (LOB) apps such as HCM (Human Capital Management) have been given industry-specific capabilities.
At the same time, Ellison and company have also been perfectly clear about their big ambitions in full-blown industry clouds for customers eager to make full commitments to these purpose-built solutions designed to meet the rigors of digital business in the acceleration economy.
Now, before I give the impression that Oracle’s feisty culture will turn this into some sort of civil war between the applications teams, Ellison has been so vocal about the virtues of both approaches that I believe Oracle’s plan is to provide a single, seamless, and broad set of options from which customers can choose based on their specific needs and priorities. It will most certainly not devolve into an internal battle that’s confusing for customers and self-defeating for Oracle.
The Cerner acquisition provides a perfect example of how this will play out. Via Cerner’s apps and related solutions, Oracle can expand its existing suite of healthcare-specific apps. And at the same time, Oracle can also take some of that Cerner expertise and embed it within Oracle’s popular HCM portfolio of products for healthcare customers that want more than what the traditional apps offer but are not yet ready to commit to full-blown industry cloud for healthcare.
In recent earnings calls, Ellison has also talked about Oracle’s ambitions in financial services, telecommunications, utilities, and other industries. It is perfectly reasonable to expect that Oracle will continue to infuse purpose-built features from its industry clouds for each of those industries into its HCM, CX (customer experience), and ERP (enterprise resource planning) applications. As an example, Oracle already offers a special bundle of its CX solutions for utilities companies.
Plus, Ellison has publicly described how inventory requirements within hospitals need to be addressed via intelligent applications, and an obvious outcome there would be something like Fusion ERP for healthcare. Speaking of Ellison, you can check out his latest thoughts on Oracle’s cloud evolution and industry strategy in our new Acceleration Economy Guidebook called Insights into Why and How Oracle Has Become the Hottest Cloud Vendor.
But, as you wonderful readers of Cloud Wars know, I think the future of business applications is tending more and more toward full-blown industry-specific solutions, and, ultimately I think that’s where Oracle will devote more and more of its focus. As a recent example of Oracle’s stance on this trend, please check out my video with Oracle Industries executive vice-president Mike Sicilia headlined “Road to CloudWorld: Changing the Game with End-to-End Automation Suites.”
At the same time, the customer-centric view that Oracle has adopted more widely and assertively over the past couple of years with its wholehearted shift to the cloud will require that it continue to offer traditional versions of its cloud apps as well for those customers not prepared to dive into the deep end of the industry pool.
I’ll be looking to share more details on these developments later this week as the CloudWorld event unfolds and Oracle’s plans for balancing its LOB apps and its industry-specific apps become more clear.
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