Will Oracle's bigger is better cloud strategy benefit customers?
Oracle's cloud strategy, which revolves around chest thumping around hundreds of cloud apps, reminds me of the meathead in the gym who will tell you about how much he bench presses and the size of his biceps, but lacks leg strength and overall fitness.
Oracle's OpenWorld powwow in San Francisco has concluded and the big takeaway is that the enterprise software giant is hell-bent on being the No. 1 cloud vendor with an approach that revolves around the theory that more services are better.
If you're an Oracle customer the big question to ponder is whether more equates to better. There's choice. And then there's too much choice because technology companies aren't disciplined or focused enough to build a narrative and cut things that may not fit. Oracle almost hit the 60 press release mark for OpenWorld.
Rachel King noted in one of her many OpenWorld missives:
On Software-as-a-Service, (Co-CEO Mark) Hurd further boasted Oracle offers more SaaS apps than anyone, dozens upon dozens of which were developed in 2014 alone. Tipping over more than a few hundred, Oracle's SaaS app portfolio holds more than 84 HCM and marketing products each as well as 113 service and 69 sales cloud apps.
"We are very focused on the cloud," Hurd summarized. "I hope the best evidence you have of that is what we just covered."
I'm not sure I'd call that many cloud applications exactly focused even if they will in theory be unified by Oracle's Alta user interface.
Oracle's cloud strategy reminds me of the meathead in the gym who will tell you about how much he bench presses and the size of his biceps, but lacks leg strength and overall fitness. Efficiency and proportion are missing. Meanwhile, the better option may be to be the guy who can do 100 burpees in five minutes. Do you want your cloud innovation vendor to be a performance enhanced meathead or a well-proportioned athlete?
Simply put, Oracle's bigger is better cloud strategy may actually reveal an overall lack of fitness and focus. Can Oracle really be agile with that many cloud applications? Can any company really manage that many cloud offerings?
Workday, Salesforce and Oracle's more focused rivals have a narrative and are generally resisting cloud app creep. Workday and Salesforce are likely to be more nimble than Oracle, which will have to keep up the innovation pace for hundreds of SaaS apps.
Rest assured, Oracle will get some sales mileage out of its massive menu of cloud applications, but customers may still be at a loss to recite the company's strategy in an elevator. Today, Oracle's cloud strategy appears to be to bulk up, pump up the product offerings and obviously sell you services. It remains to be seen whether this bulky cloud menu is better for customers---or even Oracle.