Oracle CEO Safra Catz made some interesting and cryptic comments about big changes coming to the company when talking to analysts after reporting quarterly earnings.
It almost sounded like a major re-org, but it wasn’t.
Speaking to Wall Street analysts after the call, she said (emphasis ours):
We ourselves have been going through an operational transformation which I’ll actually be sharing more of in our in-house town hall that we’ll be having for our own employees later today. But we are really aiming to be the easiest company in the business to do business with and you’re going to see some very good positive changes that we think our customers will love.
This follows a research note put out by close Oracle watcher, Pat Walravens of JMP Securities, in which he noted rumours that Oracle may be “making major changes.”
Walravens (who rates Oracle “market underperform”) summarized the situation:
Stepping back, we believe Oracle’s problem is this: while it is seeing strong growth in its SaaS cloud applications, demand is shifting away from its database, middleware, and hardware businesses as enterprises move workloads out of corporate data centres and into cloud infrastructure vendors like Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure.
Business Insider has learned that the changes will make it easier for everyone to sign up to use Oracle’s cloud, without having to go through an Oracle sales rep (although the reps will also be able to sell it). It’s a new program called the “Oracle Accelerated Buying Experience.
Oracle executive chairman Larry Ellison had promised this sort of thing in November, when he said that Oracle was working on making its cloud available with the “swipe of a credit card.”
One person close to the company told us these big changes were not “that big of a deal” but that they did involve changing Oracle’s cloud licensing known as the “cloud service agreement” so that companies could buy Oracle products without a sales rep.
That could be a relief to Oracle’s customers.
As Business Insider has previously reported, Oracle has been increasingly using hardball tactics with its customers to encourage them to buy more stuff from Oracle, especially its all-important cloud services. And Oracle customers are increasingly fed up with it.
Oracle’s competitors have taken notice. Both Amazon and Microsoft are now offering programs to woo Oracle customers from the cloud in terms of software that makes it easier for them to switch. Microsoft even promised to give its database to Oracle customers for “free.”
Microsoft Cloud and Enterprise Corporate VP Takeshi Numoto telling us, “The level of frustration I’ve seen in their customers has been very high.”
So Oracle is taking steps to keep its customers on its side.
Here’s the company-wide email that Oracle sent out about the new sales program:
To: All Oracle Employees
As many of you know, the move to the Cloud is a generational shift in technology that is the biggest and most important opportunity in our company’s history. Oracle embarked on this initiative over ten years ago when we began rewriting all of our software as integrated cloud services that are easy to own and use and also provide the agility, reliability, scalability and security that customers expect. We now have the leading and most complete set of cloud services in the industry, and more than 10,000 of our customers around the world are already using them to help run their businesses.
In order for us to reach our goal of being the best company to do business with in the Cloud and further propel our competitive differentiation, we have been deploying our own cloud services internally and revamping how we sell to and care for our customers. We are excited to share with you today the launch of the Oracle Accelerated Buying Experience, a major component of our Cloud transformation.
The Oracle Accelerated Buying Experience enables customers to effortlessly purchase our cloud services with the click of a button. Through the use of our SaaS applications, including Sales, Service and Configure-Price-Quote (CPQ) Clouds, we can now complete orders significantly faster than anyone else in the Cloud. The result is less time processing transactions and more time focusing on meeting the needs of our customers. In addition to deploying our own cloud services, other changes that are making the Oracle Accelerated Buying Experience possible include
Empowering the field with more contracting flexibility;
Reducing and eliminating required approvals;
Simplifying and shortening the order documents;
Providing the ability for customers to self-procure; and
Delivering extensive help throughout the process.
More detailed information on how to take advantage of this transformational initiative can be located on the Accelerated Buying Experience portal. In addition, we are planning to make the Oracle Accelerated Buying Experience available for Licence and other non-Cloud transactions in the near future. These important changes will help us continue to be the most successful enterprise technology vendor in the world.
Chairman and CTO
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