Oracle deteriorating: Sony Pictures CIO

Sony CIO: Oracle support deteriorates

Sony Pictures chief information officer David Cortese has slammed Oracle's acquisition strategy claiming customer service levels have dropped and its products have become "stale".

In Sydney for Teradata Universe, Cortese (below) told a media conference he was very concerned about rapid consolidation in the enterprise applications market, led primarily by software giant Oracle.

Sony Pictures CIO David Cortese

"The good thing is I only have to write one cheque instead of four. The bad news is it's Oracle," he said.

Cortese is vice president and divisional CIO for Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, part of the Los Angeles movie studio. His application portfolio in recent years has included PeopleSoft, JD Edwards, Demantra and Hyperion. All have been acquired by Oracle in the last few years.

"I'm very concerned about consolidation of some of these applications from Oracle. And my observation has been that the creativity and the growth around the product set tends to get a bit more stagnant and working with them gets more bureaucratic and [there's] more red tape.

"In fact I can fairly, confidently, frankly, say that the customer service component to working with those software vendors since the Oracle acquisition, each one of them on their own, has not helped. They've gotten worse. The service has gotten worse. The products have become somewhat stagnant and it's a real concern for me."

Sony was headed for a monopoly-style application portfolio in light of the amount of acquisitions by Oracle, said Cortese.

Oracle has not been shy about its growth through acquisition strategy and last year said it may buy more companies in 2007. It proved these were no mere words with its acquisition of Hyperion for US$3.3 billion early this month.

In contrast to Oracle's thinking, Cortese claimed acquisitions did not always help a vendor progress, citing his experience with JD Edwards.

"I think as the consolidation happens, there's less competition.

"We're a big JD Edwards shop ... when they go into an acquisition mode and that drags on for six to 12 to 18 months through the approvals and what have you, people stop buying.

"The development and R&D start to go down. The products become stagnant. They don't get the influx and the input and they lose momentum in the marketplace," he said.

Oracle was not Cortese's only worry in a rapidly consolidating enterprise applications market. Despite being a relatively new Teradata customer (about 18 months), Cortese expressed concerns for the data warehousing provider as a future takeover target.

Teradata is part of retail technology vendor NCR, however, the latter announced in January its intention to spin-off the data warehousing business into a separate company.

"It's a bit concerning for me with Teradata now off on its own, separate from NCR, that now they are a bigger target than they once were potentially within that NCR umbrella," he said.

Oracle could not be reached for comment at press time.

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