REDWOOD CITY, Calif.- Cloud computing was the primary focus of a media day for journalists here at Oracle headquarters yesterda. A bevy of Oracle executives starting with CEO Mark Hurd detailed the company’s progress and product offerings in the cloud during the event that also featured several customers.
Most companies haven’t fully committed to the cloud and Hurd said this hybrid approach of on-premises and cloud computing is likely to remain popular for the next decade. “Most of our competitors are either all on premises or all cloud,” he said. “The fact that we can do both and let our customers go back and forth and manage it all from a single pane of glass is a key differentiator for us.”
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Cloud computing has also expanded Oracle’s business to where they are now attracting startups and others relying solely on the cloud for their infrastructure. Hurd said of the 1,125 new customers Oracle signed up in the last quarter for cloud services, the majority were brand new, not migrations from traditional on-premises customers. He mentioned ride-sharing Lyft and Boingo Wireless, among others.
Some of those customers were on hand to discuss their deployments. Trek Bicycle, a maker of bicycles and cycling products is an existing Oracle customer running JD Edwards software for back-end operations, that is now tapping the Oracle Cloud Platform to help its network of over 10,000 independent bicycle dealers in 90 countries.
“We partnered with Oracle to develop mobile cloud services our retailers can log in to from any mobile device,” said Tom Spoke, global ERP director at Trek. With the mobile app, dealers can scan a picture of the bike and the serial number and speed the process of making a claim directly to the company’s ERP system from seven minutes down to two.
“If a dealer is making 2,000 claims a year, that’s huge,” said Spoke. “They have a lot more time to sell bikes.”
Twitter, another Oracle customer, says it uses Oracle’s Data Cloud to make ads on the social network more relevant and effective. “We have 320 million active users and great data on folks as far as who you follow and who you engage with,” said Rob Pietsch, senior director of sales at Twitter. “But the data isn’t perfect. Oracle’s Data Cloud gives us better targeting to deliver better ROI to advertisers.”
The Oracle Data Cloud includes petabytes of data from public sources. Pietsch said Twitter can use that data to find potential buyers. “If you were BMW and you wanted to reach Mercedes’ owners on Twitter it would be great to be able to serve them an ad.”
Pietsch gave other examples of using the Oracle Data Cloud to identify fans of Dr. Pepper and peanut enthusiasts. He said Twitter ad client Planters was able to target those peanut enthusiasts to the extent the company realized a $5 return for every ad dollar it spent.
Last month, Oracle announced the acquisition of Moat, a cloud-based, digital measurement and analytics company that offers services to large brands and publishers. Oracle is adding Moat to complement the Oracle Data Cloud’s audience targeting and measurement solutions. Spoke said he’s very interested in Moat “because it will let help Twitter show who ads are targeting and prove those users saw the ad.”
Oracle and the Trump administration
During a Q&A, Hurd declined to comment specifically on the new Trump administration. “I don’t like the company to be political,” he said. But he did comment on a few issues the Trump administration is working on.
He said the tax rate in the U.S. “is incredibly high. You’ve got to get it to be more competitive.”
While the Trump administration would likely agree with those sentiments, Hurd was more critical of limits on the H-1B visas the administration has put forth.
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“We have many talented engineers trained at U.S. universities that come from somewhere else and we’d like to hire them,” said Hurd. “We let them learn here, but they can’t work here?”
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President Trump has also spoken in favor of giving U.S. companies a special one-off tax holiday on overseas funds where they’d only make a 10 percent payment, vs. the current rate of 35 percent. Hurd said Oracle has $50 billion overseas. “The opportunity to bring it back here and invest in this country is a big opportunity,” he said.
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On another topic, the loss of jobs due to automation, Hurd said he favors continued investment in innovation. “Our view is to keep innovating. If we don’t do it here (in the U.S.) someone else will …. It’s a more complex subject, but what are the things core to driving an economy? At the core it’s about education and creating more valuable jobs. I don’t think Silicon Valley or any company should stop investing in technology because it frees up capital to invest in other things.”