Is your ERP a cable box running in a streaming world?

June 17, 2021 | 4 minute read
Peter Russo
Vice President, Head of ERP Product Marketing, Oracle
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By Peter Russo, Vice President, Cloud ERP Product Marketing, Oracle

It amazes me how quickly my 6-year-old can absorb and interact with new technologies. From the past year of Zoom school, his Seesaw app presentation skills (which are starting to challenge my own), or his ability to jump into nearly any app and quickly explore new content, talking to Roku to ask for his favorite show (Cosmos).

Then he started asking me: why couldn’t you choose whatever you wanted to watch, when you wanted, when you were a kid? Why couldn’t you talk to your TV?

His jaw dropped when I explained that the TV I grew up with was built into a wooden cabinet, and it had a wired box that I had to walk up to turn a switch to see one of 37 channels. No buddy, I couldn’t watch anything I wanted to, when I wanted. The TV networks decided what was playing…. Mind blown! He couldn’t comprehend such a world!

But it got me thinking about the cable box—a relic today that everyone still had about 10 years ago.

  • It was essentially the same tech for 40 years. It got incrementally better every 5-7 years. The remotes went wireless, the UI got a little better, but not much else changed.
  • Delivery was inflexible. You watched your favorite show when it was on. That really bugged me about Knight Rider when I was a kid; it was on past my bedtime. Later on, you could record on a VHS (video home system), and then incrementally better with a DVR (digital video recorder). But still not much better.

Then, between smart TVs, better bandwidth, cloud, and subscription models, streaming arrived. And it was a completely new experience.

  • You’re always on the latest version of the platform, with new features added weekly. It only gets better with time!
  • You watch what you want, when you want.
  • Based on your selections and viewing habits, it learns, predicts, and suggests what you might like—getting smarter and faster every time it gathers new data.
  • This wealth of data tells the content producers which shows people like by region, age, format, length, actors, writers—virtually any data point the producers would like to know. It makes old metrics like set-top TV ratings look like dinosaurs—and that’s just one ancillary business that has been disrupted.

Sound familiar for those in the enterprise apps business?

Let’s consider many of the on-premises ERP systems still running some of the largest businesses in the world.

  • The processes have been essentially the same for 40 years, whether in finance, production, logistics, procurement, or HR.
  • UIs have had some incremental improvements over 40 years—from green screen to graphic user interfaces to HTML 5—but on-premises ERP struggles to even stay in the same decade compared to what’s on your phone or in your home.
  • Once you implement it, it just gets older and more out-of-date, until you can perform a major upgrade in 5-7 years time (if that!).

Contrast that with cloud ERP:

  • It’s self-updating and always on the latest version. Teams can apply new capabilities and AI to automate processes that slowed them down—some of which required full teams to support. Cloud ERP only gets better with time, an appreciating asset.
  • It learns and improves with more data, so it can predict, detect, and act on new situations that may come your way. If customer churn starts spiking, if demand for a new category takes off, or you have a major a supplier that goes down—whatever might come your way, good or bad—it keeps you ahead of problems or new trends.
  • You can deploy it at your own pace, so your journey is guided only by what you need, when you need it—such as modernizing your financials, supporting company-wide planning, or improving your logistics. You’re in control. Big bang ERP implementations are dead in the cloud ERP world.

The recent pandemic tested a number of industries to their limit for their ability to react and adapt to constantly changing market conditions. When market shifts strike, greater agility and innovation is not achieved by hosting and replicating your past in the cloud, but by embracing the forefront of what modern businesses have at their disposal with cloud ERP: a self-updating platform that constantly brings the industry’s most advanced technologies to your applications every 90 days, giving you the ability to build, innovate, automate, adapt, and leverage new business opportunities on demand.

IS your current ERP sounding like a cable box in a streaming world?

It’s been 6 months now since I’ve joined Oracle, a company I’ve known as both a client and a competitor for over 20 years. The pace of change at Oracle itself over the past decade is astonishing—especially our own move to a SaaS business model and the customer centricity that requires. Today, we apply hundreds of new features and improvements to our cloud apps with every quarterly release, and over 80% of these are directly coming from our customers. And since we use the same solution that we sell, best practices are openly shared across our community.

I recommend checking out our Oracle@Oracle and Oracle Cloud Customer Connect programs to learn more about how we’ve transformed our own business, and how we can help you do the same. One best practice Oracle is sharing with our customers is our ability to automate and speed our reporting time; we now close our books faster than any other company on the S&P 500.

As the economy fires back up, are you prepared to compete with the pace of those already running cloud ERP? Are your enterprise apps attractive to your latest workforce and their work expectations? Don’t let your ERP make your company look like the equivalent of your grandparents’ TV console with that dusty old cable box.

Learn more about moving to a modern Cloud ERP at

Peter Russo

Vice President, Head of ERP Product Marketing, Oracle

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