Seems like we were just here a few months ago but a lot of things have happened since the last Oracle OpenWorld in 2009.
It was great to see a full house of exhibitors that consumed most of the Moscone center in San Francisco. Walking through the two completely full tradeshow floors, which indicates some degree of growth in the broader technology market, especially after I saw a number of mega-booths with a lot of promotional events.
I didn’t see the Sunday keynote with Larry Ellison, but I heard multiple times that he announced everything at that session. It appeared that area that SaaS followers were keenly interested in learning more about was Fusion and as one analyst mentioned to me it, ‘Larry mentioned a couple of the new Fusion Apps and then went Yada Yada Yada for the rest of them.’ His opinion was the anytime you Yada Yada anything that means you are not taking it seriously. Well maybe.
It sounds like Oracle is taking Fusion serious, having invested close to $4B in R&D during 2010 alone, in order to be ready to launch these next generation apps. Oracle is offering 100 modules and over 7 different product families including Financials, Procurement, Sourcing, Project and Portfolio Management, HCM, CRM and SCM. We will see over the next few days if there is real detail and deliverables around all of this investment in Fusion or just more Yada Yada.
If Oracle plays this correctly, they will be able to cash in on the buying public’s shift to OPEX spending rather than traditional capital spending on software, which is no longer in vogue. Fusion applications could be a viable alternative to smaller more risky best-of-breed application alternatives, but they need to be both pure-SaaS and functionally complete. We will know over next few days.
I personally think that Oracle’s hiring of Mark Hurd was a true master stroke, and a major mistake on the part of HP for letting him go. Mark kicked off the Monday keynote session and he looked like he had worked at Oracle for years, brimming with confidence and very comfortable. It is also clear that having someone with his knowledge of the hardware world at the helm, is a major advantage, with all of the Sun technology now firmly part of the Oracle ‘Full Stack’ offerings.
We saw a fully buzzword set of presentations this morning; OLTP, Petabyte, threads, cores, and ZFS to name a few. Speeds and feeds were the name of the game and Mark Hurd and John Fowler discussed the new Exadata 2 and Exalogic products. Oracle loves fast products and breaking records, so owning the entire technology stack is going to be fun for Larry. It is interesting that all of these really fast “Full Stack” products will be huge advances and will definitely improve the performance and scalability of future Cloud Computing services, offered by Oracle and others.
M&A in the Air
There have been a number of deals in the technology space over the past 30 days including HP purchasing both 3PAR and ArcSight for close to $4B. In the HCM space there have been a very rapid spat of deals including one announced between SumTotal Systems purchasing Softscape, Taleo purchasing Learn.com, Kenexa buys Salary.com and Stepstone picks up MrTed. One has to wonder if there won’t be a big announcement at Larry’s Wednesday afternoon keynote. I have heard that Oracle might buy Netsuite, which is interesting considering that Larrry already owns about 65% of the company. Considering Salesforce.com is speaking and exhibiting here at OpenWorld that might be sort of embarassing to everyone concerned. It might also not be a ringing endorsement of Fusion either, but we will wait and have to see what happens.
More from OpenWorld tomorrow.