​The Sky’s the Limit - Oracle in the Clouds

By John DeLeo, Oracle Lead at Navigator

Fusion, the Advent of Oracle Cloud
Long before there was “cloud computing”, Oracle’s Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) roots were in E-Business Suite in the late 1980s.  This “on premise” software typically resides on servers housed by the customer and is perpetual license based (an up-front cost and annual support fee).  E-Business Suite today offers Financials, Human Capital Management, Project Portfolio Management, Customer Relationship Management, Supply Chain Management and Manufacturing.

Oracle acquired PeopleSoft in January 2005.  PeopleSoft was a competitor to Oracle which had many of the same ERP software components: HRMS, Financials, Supply Chain, CRM and Enterprise Performance Management.  PeopleSoft also provided Campus Solutions, a student management system for education establishments and Grants Management for managing research administration.  PeopleSoft has much of the ERP market share in higher education.  The PeopleSoft acquisition also brought with it JD Edwards ERP (acquired by PeopleSoft in 2003).  Most JD Edwards customers were medium size companies.

In September 2005, Oracle acquired Siebel Systems, market leader in customer relationship management (CRM) software.  Siebel also had Siebel Analytics, the basis for Oracle’s OBIEE (Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition) software.

In 2005 shortly after the PeopleSoft and Siebel acquisitions, Oracle announced its Fusion Applications, which was a ground-up rewrite ERP application taking the best parts of E-Business Suite, JD Edwards, PeopleSoft and Siebel built on a service-oriented architecture (SOA).  The intent was that E-Business Suite, JD Edwards, PeopleSoft and Siebel customers would migrate to Fusion and Oracle would have one codebase to maintain versus three or four. With the benefit of hindsight, many customers of Oracle applications did not move to Fusion because they were satisfied with E-Business Suite, PeopleSoft, JD Edwards and Siebel and they likely did not want the high cost of a Fusion implementation project.  There did not appear to be enough benefit to move to Fusion.  Therefore, Fusion Applications were primarily targeted at net new customers and Oracle continued to develop new versions of their on-premise ERP offerings.  The market generally showed little  compelling reason for customers to move to Fusion.

Oracle Cloud was announced in June 2012. While Oracle Cloud offers ERP Cloud (Financials), HCM Cloud, Supply Chain Management (SCM) Cloud, and EPM Cloud, among others, it also has built-in social, mobile and analytics capabilities.  Right now Oracle Cloud has the Customer Experience suite (Oracle CX Cloud) that delivers Marketing, Sales and Service and is being implemented in higher education as a front-end student system, but Oracle is developing full Student Management Cloud software (much like PeopleSoft Campus Solutions).

Enterprise Performance Management and the Cloud
Oracle also is a market leader with Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) applications that came with the acquisition of Hyperion in 2007.  They took the market leading Hyperion Planning application and made it cloud ready with Oracle Hyperion Planning & Budgeting Cloud Services (PBCS).  This is a planning, budgeting and forecasting application used by large and small organizations alike now that it is available in a SaaS environment.

A Word about Cloud Computing
SaaS and cloud computing are often confused for the same thing.  SaaS is but one form of cloud computing. Cloud computing can also consist of Platform as a Service (PaaS), Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Database as a Service (DBaaS) and other hosted services.  Oracle offers all of these cloud computing options.

Key Oracle Cloud Characteristics and Features
Here are a few key characteristics and features of the Oracle Cloud:
  • Complete stack – Oracle owns all the components throughout the complete cloud stack including the SaaS applications, the Oracle database, the hardware with Exadata and Exalogic servers in the Oracle data centers.  
  • Upgrade date flexibility – Oracle Cloud has 2 updates per year.  They allow customers to pick upgrade dates within a window of a few months.  This allows customers to plan upgrades around their critical business cycles.  
  • SaaS/PaaS Coexistence – Oracle has the unique ability to provide a complete cloud by offering SaaS and PaaS.  This means that customers can move their entire footprint to the cloud when they are ready.  One example is higher education.  A college could convert to Oracle ERP/Financials Cloud and HCM Cloud (both SaaS) and integrate to PeopleSoft Campus Solutions in Oracle’s PaaS cloud environment.  The entire footprint would be in the cloud but not all SaaS.  
Navigator Advisory Services
SaaS, PaaS, IaaS… it all can be confusing.  Navigator is well equipped to help clients navigate the cloud market and help determine the best path forward.  Our advisory services have helped many clients decide what cloud options are best for them and develop a roadmap to the cloud.  Navigator’s implementation services have also helped many clients achieve cloud success.  Contact Navigator and let us help you find the right solution for your organization.