As every leading cloud provider surges into industry-specific cloud solutions, Oracle is emerging as a possible Top 3 player by revealing it has 100,000 industry-cloud customers and 16 million users across 120 countries.
On my weekly Cloud Wars Top 10 rankings, Oracle is the #6 player. But on my new Industry Cloud Top 10 rankings that will make their debut next week, Oracle is making a strong case to crack the top 5 and perhaps even claim the #3 spot.
In a recent conversation, the leader of Oracle’s industry-specific solutions, executive vice-president Mike Sicilia, focused on his team’s ability to offer advanced cloud-based “operating technologies” that allow Oracle’s customers to meet the emerging new requirements and expectations of their customers.
“At Oracle, we’ve been into vertical industries for well over a decade with deep vertical expertise and deep operating technologies,” Sicilia said on a recent Zoom call. You can check out the entire interview with Sicilia on a new episode of our Cloud Wars Live podcast.
“For some time now, we’ve been seeing a big rise in industry cloud uptake and I think what’s really driving it is the dramatic growth of public cloud and how it can overcome some of the shortcomings of traditional technologies, especially as you get out to the edge.
“Because that’s where you get the chance to start really touching your customers’ customers. So all these things like regulations and how those are factored into your operating technologies become really important,” Sicilia said.
“So package all of that up into a cloud solution that gives you not just the infrastructure, not just the regulations that are important and security certifications that are important to the infrastructure, but the actual operating technology for something as specialized as, for example, a clinical trial system.”
Since Oracle offers cloud infrastructure as well as applications—both vertical and horizontal—Sicilia said customers can run the industry apps on OCI for enhanced performance, stability and security.
“Plus, we have tens of thousands of people working in our vertical business units today with deep vertical knowledge and they can also apply that to some of our horizontal products like ERP and CX, for example, and actually build core vertical technologies and vertical solutions into those horizontal products, which of course are then deeply integrated with the operating technologies,” Sicilia said.
As I’ve been harping on recently, businesses are eagerly demanding these new types of industry-specific solutions because the traditional technology they have was never designed to deal with today’s rapidly evolving business models and emerging digital-business processes.
To illustrate that wide-ranging dynamic, Sicilia pointed to the huge changes in how clinical trials are conducted and the role the cloud is playing in helping life-sciences and healthcare companies adapt to those upheavals.
“Right now we have 145 trials actively running for COVID-19 therapies or treatments, and all of those are running in our cloud. Clearly, COVID has been a huge disruptor to these trials and the way the world handles these trials is going to be forever changed.
“Now it’s all about distributed trials, meaning we don’t have to bring as many people into a central hospital location to effectively run a trial. And that’s becoming the norm,” Sicilia said.
“Obviously you don’t want to bring people into the hospital in times of COVID if you don’t have to, so we now help them do ambulatory monitoring and real-world evidence gathering with connected devices and IOT, connected devices.”
But there are also regulatory issues to be managed as well, and those need to be incorporated into a single seamless solution.
“The challenge is how do you bring together lots of different technologies such as IoT and HIPAA endpoint compliance and real-world evidence gathering and direct patient interaction and pharmacovigilance safety monitoring. How do you get all that into a box, if you will, so that pharmaceutical companies can go through this transformation from traditional trials to distributed trials.”
Because those transformations have to cover end-to-end processes, customers need to carefully orchestrate the ways these new vertical solutions engage with their traditional horizontal solutions. For Oracle, Sicilia said, that’s created the opportunity to fuse some of the features of horizontal apps with the vertical solutions, and vice-versa.
“In verticalizing our CX suite, we announced a product called DX4C, which is digital experience for communications in which we’ve taken our core IP from our communications verticals that were focused on billing and revenue management and actually built that functionality into our CX platform,” Sicilia said.
“So it’s not just a veneer on top of CX—this is actual operating technology that’s now built into the CX platform. And that touches the customers of a telecommunications company.
“And inside the company, that means this process and this application now connects with the chief revenue officer, the chief operations officer, the chief financial officer, as well as the chief information officer.”
That ability to allow business customers to do things in today’s digital economy that those companies could never do before is the driving and animating force behind the rise of industry-specific cloud solutions. And according to Sicilia, that swing to vertical clouds is only accelerating.
“Our industry-cloud business is much bigger than our traditional industry-license business,” he said.
“One of the indicators of that that we’re seeing now involves some vertical industries that were slower in moving to the cloud, like financial services or communications. Even a couple of years ago, executives from those industries would probably have said, ‘Hey, we’re not going to move some of our core technologies to the cloud. We’re just never going to do that—we don’t see that as a the right thing to do.’
“Well, those discussions have changed pretty dramatically. Certainly the pandemic has fueled some of those discussions, but there’s no question those industries that were resisting the cloud a short time ago are now ready to move.”
Disclosure: at the time of this writing, Oracle was among the many clients of Cloud Wars Media LLC and/or Evans Strategic Communications LLC.
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