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Ellison: Users have bought too many databases

IT vendors have consistently failed corporate chief information officers by delivering software that lacks interoperability, reliability and quality, claimed Oracle chief executive officer Larry Ellison.

In a speech to the OracleWorld conference in San Francisco, Ellison said that the three most serious problems in information processing were data fragmentation, incomplete software integration and incomplete automation.

"We're in the business of selling databases and you have bought too many of them," he said. "You have so many separate databases all over your organisation, all over your industry, that it's very difficult for you to know where to look when you need some information."

Customers have also bought too many software applications that do not work together properly, he added.

"It's almost as if we think of our customers as computer hobbyists," Ellison said. "We don't really sell complete business systems; instead we sell technology components . . . and it's up to you to figure out how to assemble them from lots of different vendors - no instructions included."

The third problem, said Ellison, is incomplete automation.

"It turns out that as we sell you these general ledger systems, these [enterprise resource planning] systems, these [customer relationship management] systems that, historically, they haven't been complete. By that I mean you couldn't just take them and plug them into your business and operate your system."

Inevitably, Ellison then claimed Oracle's latest software could solve these difficulties. Customers should store all their information in a single database where it can be managed and stored more easily.

Oracle's application server bundles all its middleware into one product, meaning customers do not have to assemble the pieces, while Oracle's suite of business applications is ready for use out of the box.

Ellison used the speech to repeat another Oracle mantra, the importance of standardised configurations. "We would like every one of our customers to run the same exact software configuration; that's how you get software quality," he said.

He then focused on the state of the IT industry and said the demise of so many software companies after the dotcom bubble burst was not necessarily a problem. "There won't be, and nor does there need to be, tens of thousands of software companies."

"All the specialised, one-or-two-product companies are going to have a hard time ever coming back," he said, arguing that the future lies with big vendors such as Oracle.

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