Oracle makes cloud pitch at OpenWorld Asia

Oracle made a strong call for cloud at its inaugural OpenWorld event in Asia on the back of robust growth in cloud revenues

Oracle’s third-quarter earnings in its 2019 fiscal year beat market expectations, thanks in part to its cloud traction that is showing signs of improvement. The company appears to be building on that momentum, going by pitch it made for its cloud services at OpenWorld Asia held in Singapore for the first time.

Starting with the Oracle Autonomous Database, which the technology giant is hoping will spur greater adoption of its cloud services, Oracle executives touted the benefits of its technology stack to a primarily Southeast Asian audience.

Steve Miranda, Oracle’s executive vice-president for applications product development, fired the first salvo by underscoring the role of cloud in helping organisations tap emerging technologies such as machine learning (ML) which are developing rapidly.

At the same time, he said, organisations are also grappling with the hastening pace of business and the demand for innovation.

Against this “new norm”, Miranda said businesses can no longer maintain the status quo and let the lack of capabilities in their business applications hold them back.

“If you need to dramatically change your price list and offer new ways of paying, you can’t be limited by the lack of blockchain capabilities or integration with suppliers,” he said.

“If you need to reach new customers and markets, your business systems need to act and react at the speed at which your business and technology environment exist today.”

Cloud-based applications, Miranda said, will enable businesses to overcome the limitations of traditional on-premise business applications which are typically highly customised, with software upgrades adopted once every five, seven or even 10 years.

“The cloud model is all about speed,” he said. “When we issue a new feature, 100% of our customers get access to that feature within a quarter. All of our customers get the same version of the software, and because it’s hosted we can now measure the effectiveness of all features and make changes.”

Miranda also touted the flexibility of Oracle’s cloud applications portfolio, which can be adopted in whole or in parts, and integrated with Oracle on-premise applications, other third-party applications, or “other cloud vendors should you see fit”.

With ML capabilities built in, Oracle’s cloud applications are also getting smarter too. Miranda said ML will enable organisations to move from a manual rules-driven decision-making paradigm to one that is dynamic and contextual.

For example, approvals for expense claims can be automated through ML, not only for employees who submit claims for usual business activities, but also for those whose expenditure might fall outside pre-determined rules over time.

In the third quarter of 2019, Oracle’s total cloud services and license support revenue was $6.7bn, up 4% in constant currency and now accounts for nearly 70% of total company revenue, largely recurring revenue.

Oracle co-CEO Safra Catz said during an earnings call that as in past quarters, the company is “seeing robust double-digit growth rates for total cloud revenue in all regions, with especially strong growth in Asia-Pacific”.

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