Hype, Mixed Messages, Snark, and Cover-up

The convergence of cloud, mobility, and consumerization of business technology make a competitive environment for ERP applications even tougher. No vendor can deploy all the answers today. This leads to exaggerated claims and snarky counter claims by the big ERP vendors. Larry Ellison shows why he is the king of controversy with his recent claim of 100 cloud apps.

Larry Ellison claimed in his Oracle Cloud presentation last week. I’ve just checked, and his exact words were “Over 100 enterprise-grade applications running in the cloud.”

Analysts wonder just what Ellison is talking about.

Indeed, Ellison at one point boasted that Oracle was eating its own dog food by running four of its own cloud apps, and a familiar list appeared on the screen: Fusion Sales and Marketing, Fusion Financials, Fusion Talent Management, and Fusion CRM. (When these four apps appeared on the screen, I couldn’t help asking in a Tweet where the other 96 apps were.)

The analyst consensus is that Oracle is creating hype through an ever changing definition of what is and isn’t an app. This hype is kicked into high gear when Ellison claims SAP doesn’t get cloud.

For example, Ellison claims that SAP has done nothing in the cloud except for its acquisition of SuccessFactors, and that it will have nothing otherwise in the cloud until 2020. He conveniently overlooks SAP’s five or seven year effort to develop Business ByDesign, a full-suite multi-tenant cloud ERP system, which SAP has has sold to over 1,000 customers.

Yeah, Ellison is doing his normal thing again. The real question is what value is there for Oracle customers in what has been announced. Frank Scavo finds the cover-up that Ellison’s hyperbole is designed to push behind the curtain.

Back-channel discussions indicate that nearly all Oracle Fusion application sales are for cloud deployment, not on-premises. It appears that this is the case not because Fusion can only run in the cloud (like Salesforce.com or Workday) but because Fusion technical requirements are so complex that virtually no organization wants to deploy Fusion Apps on-premises. It is easier to simply turn over the infrastructure and application management activities to Oracle.

The Oracle Fusion Apps are too complicated to run on-premises? This is a major technology fail event hidden behind bluster and snark. The whole argument behind the cloud is that cost are controlled by having the vendor deal with the application. However if it is too complex to run on premises, the vendor may be able to manage the apps from behind the curtain in the cloud – but not at a competitive cost.

HarrisData revealed our approach to consumerized technology at our recent user conference. Yes all the typical checkmarks are included (cloud, mobility, analytics) . However the metric underlying our approach is whether the new consumerized technology is easier to deploy than our prior releases. This ease of deployment is a key software engineering goal of the project. The economic justification for time invested in ease of deployment: lower cost deployment for our customers on premises equals higher ROI for customer projects with an added benefit of lower cost deployment and higher ROI for us behind the curtain in the cloud. Better outcomes for customers always create better outcomes for vendors, it is a virtuous circle. It is simply stunning that other vendors miss this key principle of application development.

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