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Cloud computing has demanded a kinder, gentler Oracle

Cloud computing has demanded a kinder, gentler Oracle
From TechCrunch - October 4, 2017

Oracle has always had a swagger that reflects the public persona of its bombastic leader, Larry Ellison, but over the last several years, as the company has transitioned to the cloud, it has required a transformation to one that is softer and more customer-centric.

Mind you, this was a company that was the poster child for vendor lock-in the 90s and early 2000s. They knew you were looking for the best-of-breed enterprise database and their sales team knew how to get you hooked on costly maintenance contracts that kept you paying long after the initial sale and filled the company coffers. The cloud may not have completely killed off that model, but it has forced Oracle to play by a very different set of rules.

Of course, that didnt stop the marketing machine from cranking up at Oracle OpenWorld this week, or Ellison himself from taking a few swings at chief cloud rival AWS (or them swiping back). But if you listened carefully to the messages coming from Oracle execs, there was clearly a shift in emphasis, which all revolved around the customer.

Interestingly enough, the company has been using its own internal users as a test bed for some of its cloud products. The new AI tools that were announced this week began as in-house tools to create the companys new line of AI-driven applications. Jack Berkowitz, who is vice president of products and data science at Oracle adaptive intelligence, says his departments job is to test the tools for the company and create applications that reduce the time to value for customers.

Instead of hiring data scientists and data engineers and deployment specialists and system integrators, we provide those pre built to reduce time to deployment to days or weeks, Berkowitz explained.

Even if Berkowitz and in-house team are demanding bunch, and they very likely are, its still not the same dynamic that Oracle faces with a subscribing cloud customer. As Salesforce vice chairman and COO Keith Block, who was once an Oracle executive, puts it, the subscription model puts the customer in control and it takes more than simply delivering a cloud product to put the focus on the customers needs.

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