Oracle’s disruption play: If you can’t beat them, get them as customers

  • Gets Singapore startup RedMart as a customer for its ERP Cloud service
  • Sees startups and SMEs as a viable customer base, especially in SEA

Oracle’s disruption play: If you can’t beat them, get them as customersYOU can’t find a more traditional software company than Oracle Corp, with its massive software technologies like the relational database management system that got it started, to its slightly-friendlier enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions.
It is a company that isn’t thought of as being quick and nimble. Yet today, giants like Oracle have to be able to respond quickly, or be left behind by the – take your pick – forces of digital disruption, a growing millennial workforce, social or mobility.
“We got to be mindful that a very large demographic that our customers are looking to serve are natively digital,” said Neeraj Shaabi (pic), Oracle regional managing director for Asean and South Asia Growth Economies.
“That’s causing a tremendous amount of push or impetus with the companies we see, and even the small to mid-sized companies need to undertake digital transformation as an agenda,” he told a March 23 media briefing in Singapore.
Oracle has rebuilt its software applications to cater to today’s market reality, according to Adrian Johnston, vice president, Oracle Cloud Applications, Asia Pacific.
“Why we rebuilt our applications from the ground-up is really in response to the disruption that companies like Oracle are facing,” he said.
“The organisations that we compete against today probably weren’t in business or were extremely small and were incubated only few years ago,” he added.
That’s not the only change. The development and implementation lifecycles cannot be measured in such long terms as years anymore.
“In the past, large IT companies like Oracle, IBM and SAP would dictate what was happening in the market, and we did releases based on what we thought was good for the customer,” said Johnston.
“Now we’ve been disrupted by customer demand – 10 years ago, we didn’t have things like social media integration, and you wouldn’t have built an expense management system with mobility.
“We have also reduced our development cycle time from multiple years to two releases a year – we could do it faster, but how quickly can an organisation adopt that? As solutions and organisations mature faster to new technologies, we could actually increase the release cycle,” he added.
Legacy meets the upstarts
Oracle’s disruption play: If you can’t beat them, get them as customersAt the same briefing, Oracle announced that Singaporean online supermarket startup RedMart has chosen to run Oracle ERP Cloud. This was a bit of a milestone, given that Oracle is more known for targeting large enterprises.
“In the past, our solutions were probably more aligned to larger organisations, but with the cloud we can deploy components of those solutions, just small services that you can offer [smaller] organisations,” said Johnston (pic).
Now, “startups are an opportunity, mid-market SMEs (small and medium enterprises) are an opportunity,” he added.
Given that SMEs make most of the businesses in South-East Asia, that would mean a huge opportunity indeed.
And while traditional businesses and SMEs may drag their feet over adopting the cloud, startups are more open, according to Johnston.
“If I founded a startup tomorrow, I wouldn’t have a server, which is why [the cloud] is a huge advantage for startups,” he said.
“Why did RedMart select ERP Cloud? Because it doesn’t want to manage an ERP system on-premises – it doesn’t want that legacy or overhead of managing on-premises infrastructure or database administrators,” he added.
RedMart’s head of finance, Jim Boland, concurred.
“With a startup, business priorities tend to change quickly in response to the competitive needs of the market,” he said in an official statement.
“Our systems need to be flexible to match our priorities – technology is at the heart of our business, and we need to constantly strengthen it in order to grow,” he added.
Related Stories:
Oracle gets aggressive about its cloud business
RedMart raises US$26.7mil, hires ex-Amazon VP as COO
Oracle revenue falls, but Malaysia bucks the trend
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