The growing relationship between Oracle and Zoom
The growing relationship between Oracle and Zoom

Larry Ellison Tightens Zoom Relationship, Oracle Leaps into Ad Business

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As Larry Ellison attempts to redefine the enterprise-cloud business in both apps and infrastructure, he plans to integrate Zoom technology into some Oracle apps and to push Oracle into the nascent field of automated advertising.

(On my weekly Cloud Wars Top 10 rankings, Oracle is #6.)

Ellison revealed these plans earlier this week in a virtual event that was centered on the company’s new CX plans but that Ellison—never one to be pinned down by specific agendas or topics—used to share his ambitious vision for entirely new types of enterprise applications. (You can read more about that in yesterday’s analysis: Larry Ellison Wants It All—Can Oracle Get It?)

The Zoom boom

Earlier this year, Ellison and Oracle made some significant news when, shortly after the onset of the COVID pandemic, Zoom tapped Oracle as an additional cloud-infrastructure supplier to complement primary IaaS supplier Amazon.

The newsworthy angle was that as Zoom faced exploding growth for its video-conferencing business, it did not simply procure extra infrastructure capacity from incumbent supplier AWS but instead brought in Oracle as a new cloud vendor.

Since then, Ellison has been effusive in his praise of Zoom and the burgeoning relationship between it and Oracle. And in Oracle’s CX event earlier this week, Ellison made two striking disclosures about its intensifying relationship with high-flying Zoom:

  1. Oracle has begun embedding Zoom video and collaboration technology into some of its sales applications. “We are working on integrating Zoom with our sales products, with our service products,” Ellison said. “The way we communicate with our customers, we have to be able to connect with them very quickly wherever they are, have an effective communication, share documents, all of those things—and do it securely. We have to allow them to find the right documents, file service requests where they pop up in a Zoom meeting, and all of those integrations with Zoom are happening as we speak.”
  2. Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) has now displaced AWS as Zoom’s primary supplier for handling Zoom meetings, Ellison said. As Ellison put it during the CX event, “The majority of Zoom meetings—these tens of millions of Zoom meetings that happen every day—happen in the Oracle cloud. We do more Zoom meetings than anybody else. There’s another cloud supplier that also does Zoom meetings [big smile from Ellison as he says this] and they were way ahead of us at one time, but now we’re ahead of them.”
Oracle the ad agency

Ellison also disclosed another high-impact development when he said that Oracle’s “Gen2” sales-automation tool spans and automates the entire process from lead optimization through targeted advertisements created and delivered by that app.

Here’s how Ellison explained the new capabilities and why he believes they need to be sharply differentiated from first-generation sales-automation products. I’m going to air a fairly long comment here from Ellison because I believe it represents not only a specific breakthrough in the sales-automation category, but also a glimpse into the wild new future for all types of enterprise applications as software vendors unleash more of the barely tapped power of ML and AI.

“We think sales automation should help you sell more, not forecast better. That’s a fundamental distinction between first-generation sales automation and second-generation sales automation,” Ellison said.

Using data about existing customers that’s already in the Fusion suite, Oracle’s “recommendation engine” can provide a salesperson with a list of high-probability prospects who’ve bought related products.

‘Nobody’s ever done that!’

“So we actually tell the salesperson what company they should approach next to sell to. Our Recommendation Engine helps a salesperson identify leads but it also goes beyond that,” said Ellison, clearly eager to get to the real breakthrough.

“But not only does it help you identify leads through our recommendation engine, it will automatically spin up a system that then starts advertising to those targets. You don’t go to your ad agency, you don’t do any of that stuff,” Ellison said.

“So we automate advertising—nobody’s ever done that!”    

Suite power

And no other company will be able to match this innovation from Oracle unless that software vendor offers a complete end-to-end suite of richly integrated enterprise apps, Ellison says.

“You can’t do any of that without integrating all the pieces of the suite: sales to service, front office to back office, front office and back office to HCM—all of those things are made possible through integrated suites as opposed to point solutions.”

So across both IaaS and SaaS, Ellison is trying to use the Gen2 label to position Oracle as the most-innovative cloud provider. Here at Cloud Wars, we’ll be watching closely to see if customers believe Oracle deserves that designation.

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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