by Thomas Wailgum

My ‘Innovative’ Response to Oracle’s “100 Days of Innovation”

Jul 17, 20093 mins
Enterprise Applications

Is this the best time to be touting perceived innovation, or could Oracle's time be better spent elsewhere?

There is nothing like the summer. It’s a time for kicking back on vacation with a good book, sipping a cool margarita, enjoying long days at the beach or lake, and eating plenty of potato salad.

And in the spirit of grand summer tradition, of course, there is that timeless event known as 100 Straight Days of Oracle Innovation!

“What’s that?” might ask those of you not in the know. Well let me fill you in on a few details.

At a time when Oracle customers are suffering through a cataclysmic global financial crisis, layoffs are as reliable as 100-degree heat in Arizona, and IT budgets are under intense scrutiny, Oracle has decided that in the 100 days leading up to its OpenWorld event it will showcase all of the innovation it offers companies.

“For more than 32 years,” its PR machine points out, “Oracle has been a technology innovator, transforming the way business is conducted.”

Hmmm, now let’s think about this for a second. Do customers want to read 100 press releases about Oracle “innovation” (and that term, in this context, is highly debatable) when there’s not a snowball’s chance in hell that many could a) afford all this new “innovation”; b) find the resources or business desire to implement it; c) actually implement on time/on budget; and d) really care about this nonsense?

As I recently wrote, just how much ground-breaking software innovation can a company actually deal with at the moment? Stark corporate IT realities have a way of quickly squashing innovative tech dreams.

Just so you don’t think I’m making this stuff up, a recent Forrester survey of more than 2,200 IT executives and technology decision-makers found that modernizing key legacy applications was the top software initiative for businesses this year—cited by 64 percent of enterprise and 55 percent of SMB respondents.

Hmmm. “Modernizing key legacy applications”…that doesn’t sound too good. And it also doesn’t sound like the type of IT environment ready to embrace expensive Oracle “innovation.”

I can think of a couple ways of how Oracle should have spent 100 days: How about “100 Days of Showing the Value of Maintenance and Support Fees”? Or “100 Days of Laying Out a Clear Software Roadmap”?

Instead, Oracle has chose to propagate its “innovation” over the next 100 days, and also raise its prices on some products, change the usability of its support site (to the ire of many), and vow to keep its cash cow maintenance fees at their sky-high levels.

It’s strange that Oracle’s customers don’t seem to be bothered by it—at all.

I’m beginning to think Oracle customers and their CIOs just don’t care enough about enterprise software costs. They’re allowing Oracle to dictate every single term in supposed vendor-client relationship, and Oracle and its shareholders are winning mightily. In fact, it’s a blood bath.

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