Looking to prove it’s fully committed to the customer-success phenomenon that’s become the centerpiece of the enterprise-cloud business, Oracle—the world’s second-largest vendor of cloud applications—recently unleashed a slew of new SaaS services and capabilities designed to make it easier and faster for customers to take full advantage of the cloud.
Oracle founder and chairman Larry Ellison said the new services, called Oracle Soar (“soar to the cloud”—get it??), are designed to generate greater business value for customers in the following ways:
- speed their migrations to the cloud from on-premises systems by up to 30%;
- reduce the need for complex on-off customizations;
- accelerate the adoption of Machine Learning capabilities via built-in features;
- offer out-of-the-box chatbots and other voice-command user interfaces;
- transform the closing of financial books from a quarterly mega-project to something that can be done on a daily basis; and
- integrate Oracle applications with other Oracle apps or even with those from arch-rivals Salesforce.com and SAP (which is a *big deal* for customers).
Here’s how Ellison rolled out that blockbuster in his description of the Integration Accelerator component of the migration solution:
“Integration Accelerator takes advantage of this huge library of integrations we’ve pre-built and put into a box that you can just pull out so you can do an integration between Fusion ERP and www.saleforce.com’s Sales or Service application; between Fusion ERP and SAP’s ERP application; or between Fusion ERP and a J.D. Edwards manufacturing application,” Ellison said.
“We have dozens of these—actually more than 100 of these pre-built integrations in a library, where you can then pull out.”
If you’re wondering just how extensive Oracle’s transformation to customer-centric cloud provider has been, just mull that one over: Oracle’s cloud orientation now offers ready-made interconnections to apps from its primary competitors.
And that’s just one more benefit that cloud computing can offer for business leaders: cloud vendors find it is no longer in their best interest to extend their competitive battles into customer locations, and instead are recognizing that most business customers are insisting on having multi-cloud environments—so why not be part of the solution instead of exacerbating the problem?
Describing the new automated cloud-migration solution during the launch event, Ellison said Oracle was dead-set on making the move from its on-premises E-Business Suite to its Fusion ERP SaaS apps faster and simpler than it was for customers to upgrade to new versions within the E-Business Suite itself.
“We’ve made it much easier for you to move from an on-premises ERP system into the cloud,” Ellison said.
“And once you’re in the cloud, that’s the last upgrade you will ever have to do—because after that, all the cloud upgrades are on us, and they’re all done 100 percent automatically.”
During the event, Oracle executive vice-president Steve Miranda, who’s led the complete conversion of all of the company’s vast applications portfolio to the cloud, shared some thoughts on why business customers will be interested in these new offerings. And Miranda’s primary point was that Oracle’s putting increasing resources into not only cloud technology, but also into greatly simplifying the ways in which customers can consume and take full advantage of that technology.
“In the past, whenever we’d have these launch events, we’d all be talking about the new innovations that we brought to our customers,” said Miranda.
“But inevitably the first question our customers would have was, ‘Well, that’s great, but how do I get there?’
“With ERP in particular, customers wouldn’t update their systems or upgrade their systems for maybe 5 years or even 10 years—and sometimes even longer. And so as excited as we were about the new features and things, such as machine learning and bots and innovative UI and voice interfaces, for customers it was always, ‘We hope someday we’ll eventually get there.’ ”
Over the past few years, achieving that customer-centric perspective has been a top priority for Oracle as the cloud has become the centerpiece of its entire business. So it was telling to see the head of applications development describe the excitement he feels for closing the gap between what Oracle offers and what customers are able—or willing—to consume.
Miranda continued: “Today is really unique in that we’re combining the two things: we’re very, very excited about the innovations we’re bringing with the products and this Fusion Cloud, and we showed you some of that.
“But even more important, today we’re announcing Soar, which is a fast, easy way to get customers there so they can actually achieve those benefits. That’s what’s really unique about today.”
Asked about the new priorities he’s hearing about in discussions with customers, Miranda said that businesses across every industry are making it clear that they have to move faster than ever before to meet the needs of increasingly demanding buyers—the need for speed has never been greater.
“With Soar, we give you speed to get to the cloud, and that gives you the benefits of being able to use what’s already enabled today: voice, machine learnings, bots and more,” including IoT and Blockchain, all of which are fully supported in the Oracle Cloud.
“The key point about Larry’s comment about how this will be the last upgrade you’ll ever do is that once you do this upgrade—which we’re going to make very easy for you—from that point forward you get continuous updates. So we will update your system just like you do with your phone,” Miranda said.
“But the speed of change is only going to increase. And so in two years, the big value to our customers are we bring them value today by getting them those feature functions for their business. And we protect them by giving them speed to enable so that whatever comes around the corner, be it technology or business practice, they’re now enabled to consume that. And frankly they don’t have to do anything, because once you’ve done Soar and get moved to the cloud, we take care of the updates for you.”
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