With updated Cloud Applications, Oracle targets a broader customer base

While Oracle is expecting its large enterprise customers to drive cloud sales, it said its offerings also help it serve smaller businesses.

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Oracle on Wednesday unveiled its latest updates to its Cloud Applications suite, bringing enhancements across customer experience (CX), enterprise resource planning (ERP), human capital management (HCM), and supply chain management.

With the introduction of Oracle Cloud Applications Release 13, the tech giant is stressing that its cloud offerings serve customers of all sizes.

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"Three or four years ago, the market perception of Oracle would be we serve the enterprise level customer," Liam Nolan, VP of Cloud Applications Development at Oracle, told ZDNet. "By introducing these services via cloud, our entry point is getting smaller and smaller by the month."

The company is still largely looking to enterprise customers to drive its strong cloud growth. In Q4, Oracle's non-GAAP total cloud revenues were up 64 percent to $1.4 billion.

"In the coming year, I expect more of our big customers to migrate their Oracle databases and database applications to the Oracle Cloud," said Oracle CTO Larry Ellison when discussing Oracle's fourth quarter financial results in June. "These large-scale migrations will dramatically increase the size of both our PaaS and IaaS cloud businesses."

Still, Nolan said Oracle's Cloud Applications can serve large entities, such as Bank of America, which may need a complete ERP backbone, or a small business that needs just five seats on the Oracle Sales Cloud.

Additionally, "by working in both SaaS and PaaS, what we have seen is a softening of the way CFOs' or CMO's view cloud," he continued. "Every customer thinks they are unique in some shape or form. By combining SaaS and PaaS, what we've seen is a greater acceleration of people adopting a broader set of Oracle services. They know they can configure those services and... extend it, so if they have some peculiarities, they can essentially build their own app sitting on the same platform."

Oracle's Cloud Applications suite is still in the early days of offering supply chain management capabilities, but Release 13 comes with hundreds of new features and six new products in that area. The new products should assist with aspects of supply chain management such as aligning internal activity, as well as improving collaboration between suppliers and manufacturers.

They should effectively enable "full circle collaboration between the marketer, brand owner, producers and assembly people," Nolan said.

They new supply chain management tools wills also help companies manage inspections and quality control, as well as asset maintenance.

Within the ERP Cloud, Oracle is adding new financial and procurement tools. Universities and research organizations, for instance, will be to leverage its multi-funding tool to track the flow of different grants or other sources of funding. Oracle is also offering expanded country localizations for ERP Cloud in India and Brazil.

The HCM Cloud, meanwhile, includes updates that were largely customer driven. Those include improved capabilities to support the needs of customers with unionized workforces, such as retail and health care companies. It includes an improved HR helpdesk service, as well as an improved user interface.

On the customer experience side, Oracle is updating the Sales Cloud with enhanced mobile and data visualization capabilities, as well as a range of new capabilities to increase sales rep productivity. In addition, Oracle is rolling out the Oracle Engagement Cloud, which is a combination of sales and service tools.

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