During last weeks Oracle OpenWorld one word you could not escape from was Cloud.  Obviously Cloud is a big deal for Oracle. Why? well they invested heavily in it in the last couple of years especially 2013 and 2014. Not only in software and platform but even in the underlying hardware.
So as a business person, why should you care about cloud? Well to tell you the truth… I do not know either. Of course cloud enables you to act quickly in certain situations, like allowing you to easily setup a marketing campaign or launch a nice microsite for that product launch you have coming. In the long run it has to connect to the systems and processes you already have in place in your organization.
Your cloud or mine?
So what did Oracle do that you might benefit from? Well with their investments there are three key elements that they worked on:
– Breadth of capabilities: other than any of the competitor Cloud software providers (SAAS) Oracle doesn’t focus on a single business process or silo (like Salesforce.com or Workday), but invests and implements a full range of enterprise wide capabilities: ERP, CRM, HCM. This allows business to choose from a variety of capabilities to be fulfilled in the Cloud, and even have a Cloud only strategy if desired. Not making it necessary to switch to a different vendor for yet another capability.
– Integration: The Integration Cloud as announced last week obviously is a bare necessity when several business capabilities are hosted in the cloud (either provided by Oracle or by others) and some are, still, in your own datacenter.
A hidden gem in the keynote by Thomas Kurian, was probably the annunciation of Process Cloud. A gem indeed, because it allows Oracle’s cloud solutions to be glued together and form end-to-end business processes. I’ll come back to this in one of my next blogs.
– Platform: the platform Oracle provides and actually uses themselves to provide their own Cloud services is broader and the most standard based then any other platform. Think of proprietary technologies like Salesforce’s APEX and force.com as well as SAP’s Hana, and compare that with Oracle Weblogic and Oracle Webcenter to name a few provided as PAAS.
And this platform approach is definitely key in allowing organisations to choose, between hosting of application in the public cloud or in their own “cloud”: if you apply Oracle’s platform in your own data center it will enable you to quite easily switch between one or the other.
So is it new, well to be honest, no: In the last couple of years we’ve seen Oracle present on what was first called Fusion Applications and everything EXA (-Data, – Logic , etc.) Now the buzz word is obviously Cloud with the Infrastructure, Platform and Services as specific denotation.
What is new however is that I believe that Oracle’s Cloud portfolio is getting to a degree of maturity that it becomes valuable to by far a wider audience than it had been ever before. The breadth of capabilities, the integrations between components and any backend landscape and specifically also a platform to amend the functionality. 
A Fundament for Digital Transformation
As such it forms a strong fundament for what we call Digital Transformation. Obviously it is one of the elements, as our research together with MIT shows that only if you combine appliance of Digital capabilities like Oracle’s Cloud products with strong Digital Leadership you will really benefit from it.
Specifically in the space of Customer Experience, Digital is very important. Allowing customers to access your company and open up your company to your customers, differentiating as much as possible to the needs of that customer, or to put it short: take an outside-in approach.
Obviously a buzz word, but it is definitely true, start with why you are selling, serving, creating products, building the experience, or making you company and products available to customer the way you do it?
So to cut things short, yes Cloud and definitely Oracle’s cloud portfolio is a strong basis for Digital Transformation, however just like with a “traditional” IT approach you should always think of why your customers should choose you first! And how should your organisation be amended to support this.
And Larry, well Larry is Larry and doesn’t really change even not in his new role of CTO and chairman.