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In 2009, Larry Ellison the CEO of Oracle, made fun of the word 'cloud' as being a mere hype term in computing. Last night at a webcast event in San Francisco, Ellison turned full circle, formally announcing the full general availability of the Oracle Cloud.
The Oracle Cloud is an effort that Ellison's company has been working on for at least seven years under the guise of its Fusion application suite. At Oracle's OpenWorld event in 2011, the company first took the wraps off the Oracle Cloud with a preview of the platform. Oracle's cloud includes versions of all its software products including database, CRM and collaboration tools.
Oracle is also taking specific aim at rival Salesforce.com with a Social Relationship Management offering that is different than traditional CRM (Customer Relationship Management). Ellison explained that the goal is to enable users of the platform to work with people before they are customers and to build relationships so that they will become customers.
Ellison onstage demonstrated the platform, which is fully integrated with social media management capabilities for Twitter and Facebook. Going a step further, the system can be used to analyze and understand what customers are saying in order to drive them to acquire more products.
During his presentation, Ellison stressed that the Oracle Cloud is all based on the same standards that enterprises are using today. Those standards include SQL, Java and HTML5, which enable a degree of openness and portability. Ellison blasted rival Salesforce.com last year for their lack of openness, calling them a 'roach motel' from which you can check in but never leave.
The emphasis on HTML5 is also particularly important. Ellison said that Human Capital Management (HCM) rival Workday has based their solution on Flash. The problem with Flash is that it doesn't run on Apple iOS devices.
Overall, Ellison isn't worried about competition in the HCM space when it comes to the cloud.
"I think we'll start winning more than Salesforce," Ellison said. "Oracle fusion HCM beats Workday and I have no slide [in his slide show] for wins over SAP, cause they've got nothing, there is no competition against SAP. We can't beat them if they don't show up."
The fact that all Oracle applications have been built for the cloud with the Fusion effort is another large plus, according to Ellison. Ellison noted that SAP today still doesn't have many of its core applications available in the cloud and likely won't until the year 2020.
"20/20 is a great news program, but it's a terrible year to get to the cloud," Ellison said.