This week, Supply Chain Matters is attending the Oracle OpenWorld conference held in San Francisco. In our first dispatch, we highlighted the opening keynote delivered Sunday afternoon by Oracle Executive Chairman Larry Ellison. In this dispatch- we highlight the morning keynote and some observations of the first full day.

The opening keynote for the first full day of OpenWorld was anchored by Mark Hurd, Co-CEO of Oracle. We purposely chose the anchored descriptor since Hurd’s delivery was literally behind a desk in a somewhat of a talk show backdrop. Hurd began the keynote in his usual reminders of compelling CEO and business trends, updated for new pressures related to brand reputational risks due to cyber-attacks along with additional pressures to grow investor returns at a quicker pace, sometimes at the expense of innovation. He again re-iterated that the tenure of CEO’s is declining and this year, that statement likely has much more meaning given the litany of multi-industry CEO’s that have been occurring of-late.

With so much pressure on near-term profits, the message of Cloud perhaps takes on different meaning.  One of the more resonating statements made by Hurd was: “Oracle fights with hackers every single day- let us do the job rather than you.” Hurd also ran video snippets that looked- back at prior Open World keynotes of Larry Ellison announcing various new Oracle applications in prior years which visually brought to-light what comes from an enterprise tech company that invests upwards of $5 billion in annual R&D and is now garnering increased market attention.  He also reinforced that Ellison only spoke of one new product this year, the autonomous 18c database being the most compelling to-date.

Hurd then transitioned to his previous five predictions delivered at last year’s OpenWorld, and humored the audience with some pointed examples (without naming names) of direct social media feedback he directly received. He then cited actual research data published by third-party research firms that reinforce his prior predictions of decreases in corporate-owned data centers, enterprise data stored in the Cloud and other Cloud related predictions. He then challenged those naysayers, principally tech and industry analysts to scorecard their own predictions before throwing arrows. For the record, The Ferrari Research Group does indeed scorecard every one of our annual industry supply chain predictions. We begin the process of scoring our 2017 predictions in November.

In a later news conference, Hurd re-iterated that years of product development are now leading to more positive financial results for Oracle, with Cloud based revenues near $6 billion. Oracle is approaching nearly 5000 Cloud ERP customers not counting the 12,000 NetSuite ERP customers.  Hurd also acknowledged that moving existing legacy or on premise to the Cloud does require more thought by companies. “You cannot just move added complexity to the Cloud.”  The transition does take time and purposeful thought.  He acknowledged that keeping the business running while planning and navigating a systems transition is incredibly hard for customers, yet many are beginning to realize the need for a new IT architecture for the next 10 years to bring about required business flexibilities and more digital transformation needs. He reminded press and market influencers that many of today’s start-up industry disruptors started with no internal IT legacies but instead immediately adopted the Clout IT model. While a large portion of Oracle’s existing E-Business suite customers have yet to begin their transition to the Cloud, Oracle has provided far more resources in educating customers on what to expect and how to prepare for such transition. Many of this year’s OpenWorld sessions add to that education.

A couple of added thoughts in this dispatch. There are, according to Oracle, nearly 62,000 attendees registered this year, and that is quite evident in the lines of people queuing up for sessions.  One session this Editor had planned to attend was a session on updating Oracle’s Cloud Platform Strategy and Roadmap, held at the Yerba Buena Center of Arts Main Theater.  Attendees were turned away 10 minutes prior to the start-time when that the theater reached maximum capacity. I also attended a session on IoT and Machine Learning Applied to Existing ERP and SCM Applications that literally filled a room of 250 person capacity.  There is obviously a lot of attendee interest in Cloud and in the many new technologies that leverage Cloud and big data. Oracle would be wise to make all of this year’s OpenWorld sessions available for viewing.

Stay-tuned for further dispatches.

Bob Ferrari

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