Charles Phillips' troubling keynote

Charles Phillips' troubling keynote

Summary: At some 5,500 miles distance, there is always a risk of getting the wrong end of the stick in parsing keynotes. Fortunately, some of my Irregular colleagues had the benefit of a meeting with Oracle president Charles Phillips.

TOPICS: Emerging Tech, CXO

At some 5,500 miles distance, there is always a risk of getting the wrong end of the stick in parsing keynotes. Fortunately, some of my Irregular colleagues had the benefit of a meeting with Oracle president Charles Phillips. Several of them were Twittering the conversation in real time. This allowed others to interpose questions. It also allowed me to 'stand back' and consider some of the things that were left hanging in the wind.

My central problem is that some of Phillips statements are confusing and contradictory. It starts with the expression Phillips coined: 'acquired innovation.' In one of Jeff Nolan's tweets:

What is acquired innovation: term Charles made up to describe what they are doing beyond a financial transaction

Steve Mann counters:

According to a recent McKinsey Quarterly innovation is IN THE CULTURE of the company... how can one acquire Innovation? Isn't it just technology?

Are we talking semantic nuances? I don't think so. Steve discussed this less than two weeks ago:

But companies, which talk the talk around innovation tend not to put in place management and governance structures which enable innovation. According to the survey, companies tend to focus on product and service innovation, NOT breakthrough or institutional innovation.

Vinnie Mirchandani has waged a long running campaign about the lack of innovation in delivery and maintenance models employed by both enterprise software vendors. That seems confirmed by Dan Farber's comments on more of Phillips thinking:

Fundamentally, Oracle and SAP are in a legacy business, and their investments in new generation platforms are decade long efforts, ensuring that they are relevant to customers as new architectural epochs come to fruition. It’s their hedge against extinction and is served both by internal development and strategic acquisitions.

While thousands of customers continue to pay full maintenance on what is in truth old and brittle technology then I cannot see how Phillips' statements make sense. Unless of course you are cynical enough to believe that companies have found a fresh appetite for new expressions (eg social graph for social network). Then it is easy to see 'acquired innovation' as marketing fluff.

I'm sure that as OpenWorld moves on, this and other discussions will take on greater meaning and become clarified.

Topics: Emerging Tech, CXO

Dennis Howlett

About Dennis Howlett

Dennis Howlett is a 40 year veteran in enterprise IT, working with companies large and small across many industries. He endeavors to inform buyers in a no-nonsense manner and spares no vendor that comes under his microscope.

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  • Stuffed Shirt


    You really are inventing controversy just to create it huh? You are not even at OpenWorld (becuase you were a crybaby that Oracle did not pay your airfare and hoo Dennis) and you are critical about Charles Phillips keynote?

    The keynote (for the REAL press that was at Open World) was very revealing about how Oracle's suite of products benefits the entire executive suite from the CEO on down. Phillips gave a very compelling overview of the product suites and the comments you are discussing were not even a focus of the presentation.

    You know Dennis, since you are not even here...why dont you keep quiet and blog about something else in the meantime. The Oracle blogosphere does not really care about what folks like you or Vinne or Dan Farber have to say are not that infulential in terms of those who both approve and purchase Oracle technologies and those who install, use and support these technologies.

    Unfortunately a few misguided folks at Oracle (Jake and Justin) have given you and the other "enterprise irregulars" too much of a soapbox.

    I am sure after OpenWorld is over you can crawl back under the proverbial rock and be ignored again for the next year
    • Dennis a Stuffed Shirt? ROFL

      Dan... you obviously don't know Dennis very well to title your comment "Stuffed Shirt"...Now Dennis is opinionated and tough and that is all goodness. Comments from the EIs help the enterprise ecosystem become better by amplifying the voice of the market and the customer back to these vendors.

      From your comment above, it seems that you only care about nice, kind, gentle words about Oracle... why else would you disregard your critics?

      And by the way, Acquired Innovation? There is no such animal.

      But good luck to you!

      Steve Mann
    • the bravado of the coward

      Dan-whatever-your-number-is needs to re-examine his role in the industry: is it to use whatever brain he has to advance an interesting and potentially provocative point about some important issue, or to use the skills he honed in junior high to sling insults at strangers whose water he couldn't carry with a two-ton forklift.

      Dan, why don't you try to former and see how hard it is instead of wasting your time and everyone else's revisiting your glory days as an obnoxious teenager? You mind find you have a genuine contribution to make, instead of just looking like a fool
    • What soapbox?

      Dan498 (whoever you are), we are simply giving bloggers like Dennis information, not a "soapbox" (ZDNet already did that). What they choose to do with that information is up to them.
    • this is fun

      Hey Dan. Nice to see that people read and care about all this. I wouldn't say Justin and I have given the EIs a soapbox, since they've been atop one for a while now.
      We're just engaging them more. Frankly, I like the coverage good/bad/right/wrong/indifferent, and at the end of the day, what does it really matter?
      I'm sure you know how to reach me if you want to talk about Justin and I are misguided.