Oracle’s CEO Ellison Unveils Oracle Cloud, Validates Facebook

Wednesday, June 6 – Oracle CEO Larry Ellison led the launching of the cloud version of the company's business applications and database and application servers this week at the company’s headquarters in Redwood Shores, California. And during his speech, he unintentionally validated Facebook as being important to business applications by spending about 20 minutes of his 45-minute presentation explaining how his company’s 100+ business applications seamlessly integrate with the social networking site.

Specifically, Ellison explained how Oracle Apps can create a Facebook page for a company and provide a central console for updating the Facebook status on one’s business page, analyze the various comments and posts made by customers (a.k.a., "fans"). Now if that does not validate Facebook as being important to businesses, I don’t know what does. (BUT don't take this a clue to run out and buy Facebook stock; talk to your personal investment adviser.)

He also referred to Amazon Web services, calling the Oracle Cloud as elastic as Amazon's, thus tacitly recognizing Amazon's current leadership position in platform as a service.

Ellison also made several references to Twitter and tweeting. Interestingly, he’s got close to 22,000 Twitter followers without ever tweeting. We are sure, though, that just the prospect of the outspoken and outlandish Ellison having access to a Twitter account makes his company officials lose sleep.

Ellison also showed how Oracle can do a “sentiment” analysis of what people are saying about a brand or a concept, using as an example a natural food company launching a brand of coffee; Oracle’s software, he explained, can mine what people are saying about the coffee, providing excellent insight to the company’s marketing department.

Ellison reiterated how his company is now embracing the cloud – and how it was a difficult process getting to this point. “It’s been a long time coming,” Ellison said, adding that, in fact, this decision to redesign all of Oracle’s applications to make them suitable to the cloud was made nearly seven years ago.

It was interesting to see Oracle re-branding Fusion as a cloud initiative; as those of us who have been tracking development in the eBusiness Suites know, project Fusion was actually about combining Oracle's Own Suite of Apps with the suites it acquired from PeopleSoft - strong in HRMS, Siebel (strong in CRM applications). But he indirectly admitted that part of the reason to rename Fusion was because competitors had started referring to it as "Confusion."

“It was as difficult a thing as we have done at Oracle,” Ellison stated. “We couldn’t do it ourselves. We had to make the right acquisitions as well.”

So far, Oracle has secured deals to acquire Taleo Corp., a recruitment software maker, and Collective Intellect, which specialized in processing user data harvested from Twitter and Facebook.

This wholehearted respect for cloud computing and the vendors involved (such as was a rather new thing to see from Ellison, as he had been calling these initiatives mostly a hype and a rebranding of existing technologies. Today, though, he seems to have embraced it entirely, even taking on the cloud dress code! Instead of wearing one of his usual custom-tailored Italian suits, he was garbed this time in a casual, comfy V-neck T-shirt.

Before the end of his talk, he couldn’t resist taking a jab at archrivals Workday and SAP. Ellison noted that Workday’s decision to base its user interface on Adobe’s Flash, which doesn’t work on the Apple iPad and iPhone, was “calamitous,” thus endorsing the potential of Mobile Commerce and Mobile Technology. As for SAP, he repeatedly mentioned that the company does not expect to have cloud offerings until 2020. He mused, “2020 – a terrible year to get into the cloud,” eliciting laughter from the audience.