On September 23, 2013 Oracle® announced updates to its Oracle HCM Cloud and Oracle Talent Management Cloud SaaS offers. This Oracle PR effort follows closely on a similar effort, published the prior week, by one of Oracle’s direct competitors in this market — Workday.
This PR is, in my opinion, only marginally effective. Conspicuously absent from the press release were any mentions of the unique scalability of the Oracle solutions. Certainly these SaaS cloud offers should integrate very well with Oracle’s on premises HR solution suite. So there is an inherent advantage for enterprise customers with a substantial commitment to Oracle’s on premises HR software to opt for the Oracle cloud offers. The same scale of operations, whether via public cloud, or via private cloud behind corporate firewalls, cannot be achieved with the Workday solution.
Instead, the press release mentions hooks to social media software, principally LinkedIn. In fact the Workday solution can directly compete with this feature. Just last week Workday announced a partnership with Salesforce.com. Salesforce.com already includes hooks to LinkedIn, facebook, Google + and Twitter. Further, Workday can leverage the Chatter feature of Salesforce.com (which has established a credible beachhead across likely sales prospects in this market) to capture even more data from social interaction.
I think the less-than-optimal design of the Oracle PR effort is entirely consistent with similar efforts made by other mature enterprise ISVs. The trend is to react to the efforts of cloud challengers. Businesses in reactive mode function very much like people in the same mode. Strategies are formulated to contain ambitious strategies from competitors, and to exploit any weaknesses in them.
In contrast, I think these efforts should be the result of assertive, expansive strategies. The strongest suite Oracle®, or any of its peers can play, is to emphasize the scalability of their solutions. After all, what enterprise CIO wants to throw out an investment already amortized in on premises ERP applications like HR and Finance?
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