Oracle Corporation reported earnings after the close of markets on December 20, 2011. You can register and then listen to the Oracle Second Quarter, 2012 Webcast. Your time will be well spent if you opt to listen to this presentation. Within literally the first few minutes of the 37 minute presentation, Safra A. Catz, President and CFO noted that with regard to Oracle’s sales of applications to global business and public sector customers that “. . . in the last few weeks, really for the first time in a while, in some regions we saw an increase in last minute additional approvals required for previously expected deals. As a result, we are putting in place better deal management so that we have the time and the approvals necessary to take this into account [for future deals].”
Kash Rangin, an Analyst from Merrell Lynch picked up on Ms. Catz’s early assertion. He noted that “[t]he only thing that we are scratching our heads about is the applications number . . . [i]s it Financial Services, Public Sector or the [industry] vertical [markets] that are talked about?” Ms. Catz noted that the weakness she had described was in the industry vertical markets. Translate that into global private businesses. Subsequent to further questioning from other analysts on the webcast, she provided this telling indicator: “What we did see was folks where all of a sudden the CEO had to approve [the purchase], or something like that, before it was all set. . . in some cases things literally closed the next day or a few days later once the approval came in. But those [deals], when we do run them right to the end you just run out of time . . .”
Keep in mind that Oracle is one of a handful of top tier purveyors of complex solutions to global business. Further, Oracle has a record of delivering satisfactory value to its customers. Therefore, if a business like Oracle has to note delays in closing sales (deals) and, further, has to note that final approval for these purchases has been escalated up as high as to the CEO of global businesses, then the coming year, or more, of selling enterprise technology solutions to global business has taken on a rather cold tone. I see this vignette as a very clear indicator that delivering measurable, quantifiable value through each and every sale of innovative technology solutions to global business in the coming year, if not longer, must be absolute status quo for any successful selling organization.
Of course, value is a specific quality that must be delivered to specific customers based upon their prescribed understanding of the benefits they seek through solutions. Therefore, substantial effort must be expended to understand the value specific customers are after. As well, successful sales teams will participate with theses customers in the creation of the prescribed solution. I will be happy to elaborate on these points upon request. You may reach me at 631-673-2929.
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