Oracle may think it's ahead of the game in cloud, mobile, social and big data, but the true picture is less clear-cut, according to one analyst's assessment.
In a school report-style evaluation by PAC UK principal analyst Philip Carnelley, the enterprise software giant emerges at best as promising in the four key areas it picked out.
For example, Carnelley admits Oracle's claims to cloud leadership have credibility, thanks to the acquisitions of RightNow and Taleo. The availability of its Fusion apps in the cloud also gives it "a strong position in SaaS".
While its Java Services PaaS product is only just emerging, it "will become an important player". However, he understatedly goes on to point out, "There's a long way to go in roadmaps, pricing, integration and deployment."
With mobile, Carnelley thinks Oracle's progress with mobile-enabled apps has failed to meet expectations, even though the company is actually stronger in this area than people realise. "An unusual example of Oracle underplaying its strengths," he notes.
His verdict on mobile: "Has ability, could do better, needs to work at this over the coming months."
It's a similar story with Oracle's activities in the social arena, which Carnelley describes as "somewhat spotty". However, he gives the company credit for the launch of WebCenter and some "smart acquisitions in the area of public social-network analysis and exploitation — most notably Vitrue for social marketing".
He also acknowledges Oracle's work in promoting customer experience, with the addition of ATG, Fatwire and Endeca e-commerce and analytics tools to its CRM products.
Carnelley's report-card verdict reflects his view that Oracle social efforts have been patchy: "Has done some good work, needs to maintain this standard throughout."
When it comes to big data, he describes Oracle's activities as fairly rudimentary but not behind the rest of the field. "Few organisations are yet ready for more than Oracle can give them, nor are other providers clearly ahead," he says.
"Its main thrust today is to persuade people that its engineered systems meet most of today's big-data needs, potentially augmented by links to NoSQL databases like Hadoop."