At Oracle OpenWorld, Oracle’s annual customer and technology show, an onlooker can get a sense of what is important to Oracle, and Oracle customers. With more than 40,000 attendees, and diverse interests ranging from the Java programming language, to Oracle Database Technology to several Enterprise Applications, a broad variety of groups across the Oracle ecosystem were represented there. While it might be overreaching to project a few simple observations into an assessment of Oracle’s corporate strategy, one inescapable truth seemed to emerge: Oracle has a different view of Mobility than its chief rival, SAP.
Two increasingly popular means of assessing popularity and importance underscored Mobility’s relative importance at OOW. Both Larry Ellison’s keynote address and the number of OOW-related hash tags on Twitter were consistent in their message. Oracle’s founder does not mention Mobility until well into his Keynote. While maybe not a direct assessment of importance, the focus on other topics has significant implications. Further, Mobility was not in the top three topics as measured by the number of hash tags on the Oracle OpenWorld twitter feed through the third day of this four-day conference. The evidence of Oracle’s thinking is plain.
This point of view is in marked contrast to that of Oracle’s primary rival, SAP. At SAPPHIRE, SAP’s customer event held in the US in May of this year, the emphasis on ‘disruptive technologies,’ namely Mobility, Cloud-based solutions and Big Data, was clear. Having attending a number of SAPPHIREs in the past, it was stunning to look at the signage and realize there was not one reference to ‘ERP’ or ‘CRM,’ but many to ‘Mobility’ and ‘Cloud.’ SAP has publicly stated that while its traditional products, Enterprise Applications, will grow, they will only account for 1/3 of SAP's overall revenue; 1/3 will be generated by Mobility, and a 1/3 from Cloud and Big Data/Analytics. With its acquisition of the Sybase Unwired [Mobility] Platform and Syclo, SAP is definitely invested in their projection with regard to Mobility.
It may be Oracle thinks the emphasis on Mobility is overdone in the media and potentially in the minds of IT leaders, and Oracle has elected to pursue other, more tangible markets. Our research has shown that mobile devices are fast becoming the computing platform of choice: there are more tablets and smartphones than personal computers, and applications for those devices are growing at a phenomenal rate -- topping $8.5 billion in sales this year. Clearly, demand for mobile applications is growing.
Businesses are being pushed to address whitespace with mobile solutions that meet users’ expectations. As the demand grows, mobile applications are becoming more sophisticated, and the expectation of customers and employees are likewise becoming more sophisticated. Combined with the need to develop and deploy applications with short development cycles, businesses face a growing gap in their ability to provide solutions.
To be sure, many of the same vendors that are members of the SAP Mobility ecosystem were present at Oracle OpenWorld. Vendors like Kony and Sencha and Appcelerator are able to provide the same important development capabilities and have already provided, in Kony’s case, out-of-the-box integration with Oracle E-Business Suite, Seibel and other applications. In addition, there were a few Oracle oriented Mobility providers, like DSI and Oracle’s own ADK. Missing for the most part, however, were turnkey solutions for businesses.
Regardless of one's point of view, there are common, industry-wide capability whitespaces for businesses to address. And this whitespace -- whether it’s better serving their customers or employees, or reducing the cost of inventory management or production -- exists regardless of the back-end enterprise system the company uses. Companies are looking for help – in fact, our research indicates that approximately 80% of companies need help creating and executing their Mobility strategy.
There is obviously an enormous opportunity for a vendor with strong Mobility and industry experience. We believe this situation – a limited focus on Mobility, and a paucity of ready-made solutions – represents a virtual ‘green field.’ HCL’s expertise in Utilities, Manufacturing, Life Sciences and Aerospace and Defense, coupled with our broad portfolio of Mobility services – including strategic, transformational and support services – makes us uniquely qualified to help Oracle customers get value from Mobility.
Mobility will only continue to become more important to every business and their overall strategy. Mobile applications can reach new markets, or more effectively penetrate existing markets; mobile applications can provide important cost-saving efficiencies. In short, Oracle’s customers need Mobility and a strong mobile partner, like HCL .