By now it's abundantly clear that cloud computing is a true change agent. Cloud is powering remarkable innovation, even as it contributes to an increasingly complex global marketplace. In addition to redefining IT processes and business practices, the cloud is changing the nature of the technology industry itself, with a focus on building out ecosystems, partnerships, and strategic services. And nowhere is that more apparent than in marketing.
Like almost all areas of business, marketing is technology driven. Last year marketing columnist Scott Brinker published a notoriously colorful and crowded supergraphic" of companies that have some level of involvement with marketing technology, from marketing operations to analytics. The number of companies he included had doubled from the graphic he produced the previous year (in 2014 there were 947 and in 2015 the total was 1,876), yet Brinker lamented "this is still not comprehensive." (Which helps explain why he still hasn't published his supergraphic for 2016.)
The complexities that define this environment can't be understated, and are compounded by the increased responsibility for improving the "customer experience"—a critical corporate strategy in a global marketplace—that marketing now shoulders.
Oracle is looking to help its customers and partners understand and exploit this complex environment by providing best-of-breed technologies bolstered by a strong ecosystem of partnerships.
Oracle thrust itself into the marketing technology environment, and specifically cloud marketing, with its acquisition over the last several years of cutting-edge tech providers such as AddThis, BlueKai, Datalogix, Eloqua, Maxymiser, Responsys—and my company, Vitrue—among many others. Now Oracle offers the most comprehensive set of customer experience cloud services available.
Advertising and marketing agencies, having moved past the Selectric typewriters of Mad Men, increasingly tout their expertise in digital strategy and the effective use of marketing technology. Just as CIOs use system integrators to help with IT planning, implementations, and support, chief marketing officers use agencies to help with marketing strategies, planning, and campaigns.
In today's environment, though, marketing agencies must now support the needs of customers enabled by increasingly sophisticated cloud services that automate everything from sales processes to social media engagements. What CMOs and agencies are interested in from Oracle is tapping the depth and breadth of our solutions across this spectrum—marketing cloud, social cloud, data cloud, service cloud, even customer relationship management (CRM) and platform as a service (PaaS).
That's why Oracle is developing new partnerships that will help exploit the extensive Oracle Customer Experience Cloud. Oracle is committed to creating a class of partners who can use our application programming interfaces (APIs) to roll out new tools for the digital, social, and mobile markets. It's about co-innovating and co-creating with third parties, whether industry veterans or emerging startups, new products, processes, and services that meet—or hopefully exceed—rapidly escalating customer expectations.
This emphasis on seeking out new marketing technology partners is of a piece with Oracle's new strategy to enlist partners to support its increasing emphasis on cloud services in general. We're overhauling our entire approach to partnerships.
Partnering has always been important to Oracle. Throughout its 40-year history as an enterprise software vendor, Oracle has been dedicated to seeking and supporting beneficial partnerships that work for the good of all constituents—customer, partner, and vendor.
Take, for example, Sapient, which started life in 1990 as an enterprise IT systems integrator and consulting firm. Over the years Oracle has worked closely with Sapient—still does—to help Oracle customers successfully implement their on-premises enterprise software projects.
Recently, Oracle has been working on a project with SapientNitro, the services firm's digital marketing organization. The relationship was created to aid a European engineering firm in its implementation and use of Oracle Customer Experience Cloud services. (It's interesting to note that Sapient was acquired last year by Publicis, a multibillion-dollar global marketing services company.)
That's one example. Oracle is looking to build out a dynamic partner ecosystem that aids and empowers our customers, no matter their level of marketing or cloud experience, through new products, new services, and new ideas. It's a strategy that's different from our past approach to partnership by degree, as well as by a strong commitment to the fundamental platform of the new CX environment—the cloud.