Oracle's recently completed consolidation onto a single, global system for enterprise data took five years, Oracle chief executive Larry Ellison told the company's OpenWorld user conference yesterday.
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"It was a very long and arduous task to go to a single global instance," he said. Ellison acknowledged that users would probably face the same lengthy and daunting process as Oracle in streamlining systems using its own products.
But he touted Oracle's data hub technology as the solution, saying that, by virtually aggregating their data, users could take advantage of a shortcut to the benefits of centralised access to company information.
"We used to have several hundred financial systems. Now we have one. It's much cheaper operating one. The cost benefits won't come from a hub, but the informational benefits will."
According to Ellison, Oracle has reaped substantial cost benefits, with the company's gross profit margin reaching 40% this year compared with about 20% in the late 1990s. He attributed the increase to Oracle's internal work to connect its systems and streamline procedures.
Much of Ellison's address was a reprise of his speech at Oracle's AppsWorld conference in San Diego in January. As he did then, Ellison praised a global credit database created by worldwide banks as "the most interesting application in the world", and hailed it as an example of a data hub with far-reaching influence.
Now 60, Ellison has been Oracle's chief executive since he co-founded the company in 1977 but shows little enthusiasm for retirement. He said the current management team was the strongest in the company's history, and was upbeat about his own prospects. "I'm still working," he said. "They can't get rid of me."
Earlier this year, Oracle promoted Safra Catz and Charles Phillips to company presidents - the first since 2000 - and named Oracle veteran Jeff Henley to replace Ellison as chairman.
Stacy Cowley writes for IDG News Service