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Oracle leverages AI to push enterprise apps as users move to cloud

Marc Ferranti | Oct. 3, 2017
At OpenWorld, Oracle is rolling out Adaptive Intelligence apps to ERP, HCM and SCM, an 'autonomous' database and new PaaS offerings

The idea is to better engage end users, whether they be customers visting a company web site, or internal staff at an enterprise using an HR application, noted Steve Miranda, executive vice president of Oracle applications product development.

AI Apps logic can be tied to the chatbots, so they can, for example, automatically recommend products to a customer visiting an e-commerce site, or prompt employees to sign up for HR benefits at the beginning of a new fiscal year, Miranda said. "We're turning our traditional consume-and-validate type of interfaces into a push interface, including being proactive on pushing recommendations," he said.


Getting ahead of the curve in cloud apps

While Oracle has been slammed for being late to the cloud, allowing competitors like Amazon and Microsoft to lead in the infrastructure market, this week's announcements show that it may actually be getting ahead of the curve when it comes to bringing leading-edge technology into its applications.

"We're not getting inquires where customers are saying, 'Can you please tell us about Adaptive Intelligence," said  Melanie Lougee, a research vice president at Gartner. "But we'll get questions about predictive outcomes in different scenarios, or virtual agents being brought into a call center type of situation, so while Oracle may be a little ahead of what customers are asking about I don't think the gap is significant -- things are headed in that direction very quickly."

At the opening OpenWorld keynote on Sunday night, company Executive Chairman Larry Ellison announced Oracle Autonomous Database Cloud, powered by the Oracle Database 18c. Billed by Oracle as the world's first autonomous database, it's designed to use AI techniques to do self-maintenance, optimizing workloads, installing security patches and doing routine maintenance while experiencing only 30 minutes of downtime a year. In a poke at Amazon, Ellison demonstrated various workloads running on the database on the Oracle cloud and on AWS cloud, highlighting faster processing time on the Oracle cloud and crowing that "their bill will be 9 to 15 times higher for the same exact work on the same exact database."

Enterprise users are accustomed to Ellison's bluster and will want to run their own tests of course. And Amazon, the IaaS leader with 44 percent market share, is more concerned with second- place Microsoft than Oracle. But Oracle's efforts to beef up its apps portfolio with cloud capabilities and highlight the underlying connectivity of its entire software stack appears to be winning over users.


Attracting users as they move to the cloud

While revenue from its traditional on-premises software rose only 2 percent year over year in the company's first fiscal quarter, Oracle’s SaaS sales rose 62 percent, to $1.1 billion. Revenue from the PaaS and IaaS businesses jumped 28 percent to $400 million. While on-premises software still accounts for more than 60 percent of the company's sales, they key indicator of the direction for future business is in the figure for customers signing up for new licenses (as opposed to paying maintenance for software they've already installed), which declined by 6 percent. Clearly, cloud apps are the future.


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