Oracle woos cloud customers: Time for a kinder, gentler enterprise experience?

Oracle highlights its industry-focused strategy, launches financial services cloud and says that the engagement model will become much easier with fewer consultants and simplified pricing.

NEW YORK---Oracle outlined its industry as a service strategy as it pitched financial services customers and targeted various CXOs in what equates to a roadshow for the company's cloud offerings.

Oracle's CloudWorld came to New York as part of a series of stops. Cloud vendors such as Salesforce and Amazon Web Services have a series of local events to follow up on their big conferences. Oracle is following the same playbook.

"This market is $128 billion wide in the next few years," said Shawn Price, senior vice president for Oracle's cloud business. Price cited wins for its ERP cloud from companies such as Lending Club. Dunnhumby, a big data player, was cited as another Oracle cloud customer.

More: Oracle: Winning cloud perception game with IT buyers | Oracle gets its cloud due: Can it sustain it? | Oracle's Larry Ellison talks cloud catch-up game with Salesforce.com | Enterprise vendors: Can they scale and keep it simple?

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The company on Tuesday launched its financial services cloud that aims to deliver back office processes and operational support as a service while adhering to privacy, compliance, security and regulations requirements. The industry-focused financial services cloud is integrated with Oracle's HCM, ERP, customer experience and platform clouds.

Having the event in downtown New York City also came in handy given Oracle's customer base in financial services. In addition, Wall Street happens to be giving Oracle's cloud strategy props at the moment.

What's the bottom line message? Oracle has transformed to a cloud company and continues to evolve. Oracle's plan is to be best of breed for every process slice by slice. "If you can't find a cloud application from Oracle to run every function of your business I don't know where you could," said Price.

Oracle is aiming to get customers on the cloud quickly, deliver a good experience and then start landing industries as a whole with help of word of mouth. Price's message is that Oracle is "deploying in 90 day increments. "It's our responsibility to keep pace with innovation and regulations. Each deployment we do is an audition for the next," said Price.

Although Oracle's agenda for the event was marketing heavy and designed primarily as an introduction to Oracle's cloud efforts, Price was hitting issues that matter to customers.

For instance, Price said Oracle is aiming to reduce the need for consulting where possible, simplify deployments and make it easier to engage with the company during the sales cycle. Price said that the cloud engagement model is an 80 percent use case, fixed fee consulting and cloud pricing. This simplified sales effort is fully baked in some categories and evolving elsewhere, said Price. "We are rethinking the engagement model," said Price.

The larger question: Will Oracle become easier to deal with for enterprise customers via a cloud model?

With the lead-in from Oracle executives, the company featured demos as well as tracks for human resources, back office, customer service, sales and marketing and financial services.

Thomas Kurian, president of product development at Oracle, walked through the company's strategy---make its software easy to consume for anyone via a browser---and highlighted the user experience for ERP, HR as well as sales tools. The common theme from Kurian was engagement for both business to consumer and business to business companies using Oracle's cloud applications.

Based on a show of hands, Oracle's audience of 250 was IT based with a dash of line of business execs. The presentations mostly featured Oracle leaders and partners such as Deloitte, Hitachi Consulting and Accenture. A few customers were featured from IEEE and Cox Communications, but for the most part Oracle execs led the presentations.

Here's a snippet of Oracle's agenda:

cloudworld-slide-1.png

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