By Steve Cox, Group VP, ERP and EPM Cloud Business Group
Here at The Modern Finance Leader, we like to provide advice that finance professionals can use to help them do their jobs better. Thought leadership is our goal, and I like to think that we’ve done a pretty good job of providing it. Our ever-growing readership seems to think so, too.
But let’s face it—we’re Oracle. Every now and then, we like to toot our own horn.
So imagine how delighted I was to hear that others are tooting it for us.
“Oracle's Booming Cloud Business Could Rip and Replace SAP as #1 In Apps,” said a recent headline in Forbes. In a 4-page article, author Bob Evans writes, “As the bell sounds on Round One in the Cloud ERP Wars, the judges give a unanimous decision to Oracle.”
Evans’ take is that SAP “dodges the question and blurs the line between the on-premise[s] version of S/4HANA, which has been out for more than 2 years, and the cloud version, which was introduced about six months ago in February 2017.”
Based solely on the number of customers, Evans writes that “the evidence I've been able to gather so far tells me that Oracle is the clear leader over SAP so far in the cloud ERP space.”
(Disclosure: Evans has worked for both SAP and Oracle in the past, and now runs his own communications firm. He exchanged emails with me for his Forbes story, as well as with SAP executives.)
On top of that, press coverage for the latest release of Oracle Cloud Applications has been effusive, with headlines such as “Oracle Refreshes Entire SaaS Line, Aiming to Fuel Cloud Momentum” (CIO), “Supply Chain Tops List of Oracle Cloud Applications Enhancements” (SiliconANGLE), and “Oracle Delivers Bevy of Updates to its Cloud Suite” (TechCrunch, MSN).
The consensus is building: SAP is yesterday’s ERP. In the early 1990s, SAP captured the dominant market position in ERP through its on-premises solutions. But it hasn’t kept up with Oracle’s level of innovation or investment, fueled by our huge $6 billion annual R&D budget.
We’ve been developing new applications for the cloud for the past eight years, and are continually adding new capabilities to our cloud—including emerging technologies such as adaptive intelligence, machine learning, blockchain and more.
Oracle has nearly 5,000 customers using its ERP cloud applications (not including NetSuite), and we’re adding more every day. As Evans notes, the vast majority of S/4HANA implementations are on-premises.
On-premises, as we know, comes with customizations, complexity and cost—all of which are barriers to agility and innovation in the digital age.
Matt Trager of Lloyds Bank says it best in this video, explaining why his company moved from SAP to Oracle ERP Cloud: “It was a transformative operating model that would change how business and IT work together, and allow us to focus on what we’re good at.”
Oracle founder and animating force Larry Ellison practically invented the idea of software as a service. Witness this prediction from a press conference in 2000, as quoted in a Harvard Business Review case study:
“I think the software industry will vanish and will be replaced by a service industry. In this service industry a company will no longer buy its own computers or hire its own staff to automate its business. Instead, it will buy an automation system that’s on the Internet.”
It’s for this reason that Oracle has been investing heavily, not only in innovative products, but in improving our services: customer success managers, an accelerated buying experience, and a commitment to ensuring that every customer is happy with their cloud implementation.
Seventeen years after Larry articulated his vision for software as a service, it’s gratifying to finally see the press, the industry—and especially, our customers—so enthusiastic about climbing on board.