Ian White (Credit: Oracle)
White told OpenWorld in San Francisco yesterday how his team scored some major customer wins this year, Mark Hurd, who just joined Oracle from competitor HP, and Australia finally having a government, sending IT spending back to "full steam ahead".
One of Oracle's customer wins is Qantas, which is putting more than 7 million members of its Frequent Flyer program onto Oracle's Siebel Loyalty Management platform. Qantas will be running the program on Oracle on Demand, a cloud-based solution hosted by Oracle at one of its several worldwide datacentres.
Qantas has just completed phase one of replacing its 22-year-old Profile system, which was built on Fortran and was running out of capacity. It isn't running on Oracle's Exalogic Elastic Cloud (EEC) yet, but White seems to think it will.
"They've only started implementing, and I can't imagine why we wouldn't be using the best infrastructure for that."
White founded and ran one of Australia's earliest software companies, joining Oracle in 1993, rising through the ranks to become Oracle's chief of Australia and New Zealand more than five years ago. He says he is pretty exhausted after a customer dinner that caused him to miss Sunday night's keynote address, but glad to be at the largest OpenWorld event ever, surrounded by 400 Oracle customers, partners and colleagues.
Asked what he is most excited to introduce to his customers, White mentions first the new Oracle Fusion Applications suite of modular business applications, and says that Oracle has just about caught up to SAP in Australia when it comes to enterprise applications.
Is the battle with SAP battle personal? White laughs: "I'm going to disappoint you, there's nothing personal. They're well focused on us, for good reasons. You might have read about the National Broadband Network going down the Oracle path a few months back. It's good to win in a greenfield situation, and with something that is so critical to Australia's future."
Having the former CEO of HP, the world's leader in servers, on board as Oracle's newest president, can't hurt the prospects of Oracle's new "cloud in a box", the Exalogic Elastic Cloud system. It is designed as an integrated platform on which to build cloud-based applications, and Oracle claims that just two of these could offer enough power to support all of Facebook's HTTP needs. White won't say which customers he is targeting with this monster machine, but he believes that Exadata's recent success in Australia will let customers see EEC as a large evolutionary step for a proven platform, not as something radical or risky.
HP settled its lawsuit with Oracle over Mark Hurd's employment with the company earlier this week, and White believes that Hurd's arrival would not strain Oracle's relations with HP in Australia.
"It's the nature of the industry. The fact is that CEOs move around. We work with the major applications companies, because they use our technology and infrastructure, and our apps need to run on other people's infrastructure as well," he said. "We all compete, and we all work together, we share customers and we need to be partners for those customers."
Update at 10:38am, 23 September 2010: In paragraph six, "Monday night's keynote" has been changed to "Sunday night's keynote". Quote has been added in paragraph four.