The Red Cloud

Red Clouds - Oracle Red Stack in the Cloud by BloomThink
Creative Commons Attribution by Flickr user tipiro

It is Oracle Open World 2012 and this year the theme is cloud.  There are the obligatory 12″c” (the c is for cloud) release announcements.  There are the staggering statistics (10,000 Oracle Cloud customers already).  At Oracle Open World 2012, the cloud is red.

Over the last year Oracle has acquired no fewer than 5 cloud companies (and their customers!) and there is a reasonable argument that at least 3 more of the last year’s acquisitions at least play in the cloud.  Oracle would have us believe that they are the defacto leader in the cloud space and have always been there.

While there is certainly geek credibility to the cloud technology Oracle has acquired, their claim to the lofty king of the cloud crown they covet is a bit premature.

Oracle must prove that they’re doing more than following trends and buying market share by gaining new native cloud customers and addressing specific business challenges in uniquely cloudy ways.  If there is no net benefit to using Oracle’s HCM in the cloud, crowing about it lacks impact.  It’s like being excited you rent midsize cars from Avis now instead of Hertz.  Yawn.

R Ray Wang Tweets About The Cloud image captured by BloomThinkPartners can take advantage of the wealth of techno-api-gadgetry that all falls under the Oracle Red Cloud Stack now and build some truly amazing business solutions.  But it is still a bit early to see those taking hold in the market place.

R Ray Wang of Constellation Research has been tweeting up a storm and has this forward looking statement about the cloud, “MyPOV: Prediction: enter the cloud suites. we’ll have made the Cloud Best of Breed hell to Cloud suite journey by 2015”  Right now it is my POV that Oracle has gathered some of the best of breed capabilities under one corporate banner, but we’re still a long way away from a suite.  After all, a collection of rooms spread out across different geographies, in different styles and with little coordinated “flow” between them does not a suite make.  This is why I believe it is up to the developers and partners to spur outcomes.

It is the focus on outcomes, not “stacks”, not “solutions”, not brochure ware.  So keep an eye out for outcomes…from partners…that use part or all of the Oracle Something-as-a-Service.  Meanwhile, contact BloomThink for help with your social business strategy.

Here are important Oracle and Related Links:

Oracle Cloud Homepage

Oracle Cloud Services Portfolio

Social Networks and the Cloud

The Oracle Apps, Mobile & Cloud Strategy

Wired’s take on the Oracle Cloud

GigaOM’s take on the Oracle Cloud vs Amazon

UPDATE: Oracle’s FatWire Acquisition Round Up

Oracle Acquires FatWire

========= UPDATE ===============

This is a response to Laurence Hart’s commentary on Word of Pie blog that may be found here.

I think that the WEM and widget capabilities of FatWire complement (read: fill the gaps) the in the ECM / WebCenter stack.  Oracle’s story around how to do that natively was much more about building with the stack.  While possible, it wasn’t necessarily quick or easy.  Combined with other R&D priorities like combining BEA with WebCenter with Stellent with IPM with Apps and you’ve got an overloaded product management team with too many competing “good and necessary” priorities to fill in-house.  The alternatives are to look to partners to build necessary add-ons (take a look at their OVI program to see how they’re leveraging this model) and look for other technology to acquire – enter ATG, Fatwire, and undoubtedly others.

Look at Oracle’s trajectory – ECM continues to move into the background as a SOA enabled rich content store.  But they recognize that they need to keep up with WEM not just by allowing coders to code but also to build in or fold in capabilities that meet the needs right away.  Thus Fatwire.

Disclaimer: I’ve got absolutely no insider info on this and it is pure conjecture.  Educated conjecture, but conjecture nonetheless.

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You can be sure that there will be more coming out over then next weeks about Oracle’s acquisition of ECM company FatWire.  But here is a run down of some of the best sources at the end of day one.

Apoorv Durga from The Real Story Group has the customer perspective.

CMSWire notes that Oracle ECM has been lacking specific engagement management capabilities for a while that FatWire rounds out.

FierceECM says that the acquisition complements Oracle’s earlier acquisition of ATG.

ReadWriteWeb compares Oracle’s acquisition strategy to that of Adobe.

Oracle has released a letter that places the acquisition smack into their existing ECM & E20 platform.

The original press release.

Oracle’s FatWire acquisition page on their website

I applaud Kumar Vora, Oracle’s new SVP of Development for E20 (among other things) and his team for getting out ahead of the pundits and putting his name to the letter above.  This kind of transparency and leadership is a breath of fresh air from big Red.  It also gives some important hints as to what Oracle is likely to do with the technology and customers from FatWire.

While I have been out of Oracle since 2009, I can see how FatWire’s web engagement capabilities plug a badly leaking hole in the whole ECM/WCM stack.  Oracle may have simply gotten tired of getting beaten up by the analysts for having lack-luster features and capabilities in this area.  Campaign management – kind-of.  Analytics (tracker? really? still!?) – meh.  Personalization and mobility capabilities – well, to be sure, ECM and mobile ADF *could* do all of these and, sure, Real Time Decisions (coming out of Siebel) could stand in for a pretty good persuasive content strategy.  But at the end of the day these required much more work to wire together and even re-code than most folks were ready to do.

Now enter ATG with high-powered, highly curated, high-performance scripted e-commerce and combine it with the mature and WCM specific engagement widgets from FatWire and you’ve got the ingredients for an all-you-can-eat ECM buffet.  Oracle has proven repeatedly that they are adept at taking all those ingredients and baking them into nicely integrated single-source solutions.  The only down-side is that it often takes them longer than the market would like.

This is the risk that I see for Oracle with this acquisition.  The features needed to be part of the Oracle ECM / E20 stack *yesterday.  Waiting a year or more wont cut it unless there are no other options.  With the host of smaller and open-source players snapping at their heels and with user interaction paradigms changing Oracle will have to plug the WEM leak while evolving their E20 stack to keep apace of the industry, the market and the demands of people like you and me.

I wish them the very best of luck.

PS – to any of the FatWire folks reading – It’s just my opinion but you should really not fret about big scary Oracle.  Oracle invests in technology and people.  They will do a good job with you too.  You’re in good hands with Thomas, Hasan, Kumar, Andy and the team.