Sunday, June 10, 2012

Oracle and Cloud - The Truckin' Continues

Truckin', like the do-dah man
Once told me "You've got to play your hand"
Sometimes your cards ain't work a dime
If you don't lay 'em down
                 --From the Grateful Dead's "Truckin'"

I've been thinking a bit about Oracle's public cloud strategy announcement.  In the short run, the Vitrue acquisition will likely have some significant impact.  In the long term, it's the strategy of Fusion Applications as a SaaS offering that will be the big deal as Oracle keeps truckin' along the up-to-now evolutionary path.  Yeah, I know that Oracle's public cloud implementation is still catching up to the strategy announcement…but it will catch up.  I'm thinking this is more than just marketing mumbo-jumbo.


So, what's the big deal about Vitrue?  In the apps space, I've been fascinated for some time with the evolving capabilities of design time at run time - end users creating new designs on the fly in the process of doing their jobs.  Vitrue takes the concept much further, as it allows end users to create new social relationship opportunities between brands and customers on the fly - not much required in the way of IT skills. And it's already on a SaaS platform.  I see a big wave coming on two fronts:  1) Oracle managing their brands through social communities on the Vitrue platform, and 2) Oracle providing SaaS opportunities for customers to manage their brand engagement with social communities.  Yeah, Oracle is moving into the Social Relationship Management game in a big way. And, with Vitrue, they've acquired a great vehicle for truckin' into this space.

Fusion Apps on Saas

Bigger subject now:  Fusion Applications on SaaS via Oracle's public cloud.  Personally, I've always thought that this is the big play for Fusion Applications.  Not just hosted, not on-premise, but SaaS.  Why?  First, SaaS may offer an inexpensive point of entry into Fusion Applications.  It's typically a much lower up-front cost to purchase a subscription based on usage than it is buy full-up licenses.  Granted, Oracle's initial cut as the licensing model appears to be subscription-by-the-seat rather than measured usage.  Competitive pressures may compel a change in that model in fairly short order…depends on how customers respond to Oracle's initial SaaS offering.  We'll see.  Second, SaaS shields Fusion Applications customers from the not-to-be underestimated middleware footprint.  That's been a significant concern for many customers looking into Fusion Applications.  Third, this is another step in Oracle's evolution toward SaaS.  What do I mean by that?

It's like this: Oracle continues to evolve their Fusion Architecture concepts, step-by-step.  They do learn from their experiences as they keep truckin' along.  As they move into their full-blown SaaS strategy, I' expect that Oracle is already learning (if they didn't learn this from the Taleo acquisition) that SaaS customers purchase on a service-by-service basis rather than application-by-application.  Once that happens, we may see Fusion Apps functionality offered on a service-by-service basis.  If I'm right, this will happen quickly…months, not years.  When Oracle lays those cards down, if they handle the licensing model well, we'll see additional substantial momentum build in the uptake of Fusion Apps.  It'll be disappointing if Oracle opts not to play those cards.

What About SIs?

What I have yet to figure out, and what I'll be noodling about over the next little while, is how Oracle's public cloud strategy announcement will impact Oracle's applications System Integration partners.  It's obvious to me that it will, but I'm still working out my perspective on the how.  Any thoughts on that?  Leave 'em in the comments.

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