Ellison: Facebook the new model for business applications

Social networking is the new backbone of business applications, Oracle CEO said

Oracle CEO Larry Ellison speaks at Oracle Cloudworld on Wednesday.

Oracle CEO Larry Ellison speaks at Oracle Cloudworld on Wednesday.

Modern business applications need a social network at their core and should be so easy to use that even a CEO can figure them out.

So said Larry Ellison, CEO of Oracle, in a pitch for his company's software and cloud services in San Francisco on Wednesday.

"Our user interface is modeled after Facebook, something that doesn't require learning," Ellison said of Oracle's newest cloud software.

His point, made by others before him, is that in an age of Facebook, Twitter and Google, workers won't put up with stodgy enterprise software.

"The interfaces Oracle and SAP built 10 years ago aren't appropriate in the age of Facebook and Twitter," Ellison said.

It's a problem big organizations have wrestled with for years: they buy expensive software for things like HR and salesforce automation, then half the employees don't use it.

It's often easier to get people working on reception to use the software than top managers, Ellison said.

"The system has to be that easy to use that even a CEO can use it -- and that's a very low or high bar depending on how you're looking at it," he said.

Business applications need a social component at their core, he said, so that employees are connected to each other and to the organization.

"The social network is the new paradigm of the application; it's the interface of the application," Ellison said.

"Connected employees know what's going on in the company and they can help others do their job," he said.

He declared that customer service and human capital management applications are the two most important business apps of the 21st Century.

Companies win or lose based on the people they hire and how they treat their customers, Ellison said.

He was speaking at Oracle's CloudWorld conference in San Francisco, where he also declared that IBM and SAP are no longer Oracle's main rivals.

James Niccolai covers data centers and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow James on Twitter at @jniccolai. James's e-mail address is james_niccolai@idg.com

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