Oracle's Mark Hurd talks Fusion Applications, customer satisfaction and SAP's HANA

Hurd wishes SAP 'good luck' in its plans to take database market share away from Oracle

As co-president of Oracle, Mark Hurd is tasked with selling an ever-increasing array of new software and hardware products, such as the Exadata database machine and Fusion Applications, while figuring out how to keep the company's vast installed base happy and fending off competition from the likes of SAP.

Hurd spoke to IDG News Service on a variety of topics during an interview at the Collaborate user group conference in Denver. What follows is an edited transcript of that conversation.

IDGNS: Oracle has said there are more than 400 customers of Fusion Applications, which became generally available in October 2011. Are you happy with the rate of Fusion Applications adoption?

Hurd: We sort of think of it in different categories. If we went to HCM [human capital management], we think we're doing quite well. In terms of cloud, SaaS deals, we think we're winning all deals internationally in HCM. We think we're doing quite well now in the U.S. We've got a great team, our product is maturing, we've got lots of go-lives, references, etcetera. In sales automation, we have a tougher competitor. We've made a number of acquisitions in the social space. We're integrating those into sales automation. We're going to market later with that product than with HCM, and that's the place where we're really driving hard for more business. We don't typically think of Fusion Apps as a single thing. We think of it more in these various pillars.

IDGNS: Oracle has made a long-term commitment to its other application product lines, such as Siebel and PeopleSoft, through the Applications Unlimited program. But is the ultimate goal to eventually move all customers onto Fusion Applications?

Hurd: We really haven't announced any intention to phase out any context of our apps. Our view is that we're going to have Siebel customers installed for a very long time. We're talking about thousands and thousands of customers. Fusion is a modular solution, so you can now be a PeopleSoft customer and get access to recruiting, or get access to compensation workbench, or performance management. We are not pushing at all a rip-and-replace sort of strategy, we're giving the customer ultimate choice. I think there will be a PeopleSoft track at Oracle OpenWorld 2020.

IDGNS: The big complaint about Oracle's sales force has been that they are aggressive and call on customers from multiple angles. You mentioned in your Collaborate keynote that you're trying to make life easier for customers. Can you elaborate on these plans?

Hurd: We're hiring a lot more salespeople. Part of the reason for that is because we think we need more coverage. Second, we are making them more specialized. We feel like it's important a salesperson knows a lot about HCM and feels comfortable calling on a head of [human resources], instead of a generic apps salesperson. We've now got [salespeople] supported with more technical people and we think that's good for customers at the same time.

You said Oracle's salespeople are aggressive. That's not necessarily a bad thing. We don't want people to be passive, we want them to be working with the customer and helping the customer achieve their objectives. One of the things we've done a lot at Oracle is change [sales] territories, and that sort of exacerbates things. We're really culturally changing that. Next year we'll be working really hard on getting continuity and consistency in the sales relationships. This is a big deal to us. We're spending a lot of time on this.

IDGNS: SAP has made it clear it wants to take database market share away from Oracle with its HANA platform, especially by replacing Oracle's database underneath SAP ERP (enterprise resource planning) implementations. Do you feel threatened by HANA?

Hurd: If I'm a CIO and I think of the things that will make me great, I don't think [migrating to HANA] gets on the list. I think what gets on the list is, do I innovate? Do I help improve that customer experience for my company. I think there has to be a clearer mission than just, let's replace this, let's replace that. There needs to be some value-add. Are you going to take your core ERP and change out the infrastructure, with the risk that it falls apart, the risk that it doesn't work? Our view has been for SAP, particularly, if they want to spend their time and money going after database, that's great. I've heard people say they should probably have about the success they've had with their middleware strategy. [SAP has said HANA is the fastest growing product in its history.] There's a lot of people that want to go do a bunch of stuff. If that's their most innovative thing, good luck to them.

Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris' email address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags business issueshardware systemsCIO rolemark hurdsoftwareIT managementCOLLABORATEbusiness managementOracleservices

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Chris Kanaracus

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?