Jeff is Senior Vice President, SMB Applications, Oracle.
Do you remember when you first started your business?
Maybe you cobbled things together in a pop-up workspace, or a food cart, or a small store front. Then you opened two or three more locations, or hired 40 staff members—and the next thing you know, your business is in hyper-growth mode.
When your business is growing fast, there is always lots to do. Raise money. Hire staff. And then, of course, there’s the technology.
How much technology does it take to run a growing business? Well, let’s see.
I’m in sales, so if you ask me, the first and most important thing you have to do is sell. For that, you need salesforce automation software. Once the sales team starts selling you need to implement accounting software to plan and budget, reconcile receipts and manage multichannel order capture. As you grow, you need to recruit and hire employees, and develop these new employees into leaders and company zealots: HR software. And if your business happens to be building a killer app, you need development tools.
Then there’s the hardware to run it on. Most companies today, when they’re starting out, don’t want to bother with hosting servers on premises. They buy software from the cloud and have it delivered over the internet. They pay for it on a monthly basis, so they don’t have to make a large up-front investment. Sounds perfect, right?
Well, not quite—because after you get your salesforce automation software from ACT or Goldmine and your accounting software from Quickbooks and your HR software from Jazz or Zenefits and your development tools from Amazon, you find out that none of them work together. Each cloud is its own silo, with its own separate data set. You’re stuck constantly re-entering data from one system to another, importing and exporting spreadsheets trying to reconcile your numbers.
How many times do those numbers not match up? A lot.
Wouldn’t it be great if you could run your business from a single cloud, with a single set of data that’s always accurate, no matter which application you happen to be using?
That’s where we come in.
There are hundreds of point-solution cloud providers selling to SMBs. Oracle is the only one to offer a fully connected platform that covers all areas and all functions of the business, from the front office to the back office.
By the front office, I mean the customer experience, which covers marketing, sales and service automation. The back office covers HR (human capital management) and finance (enterprise resource planning). If you’re a manufacturer, it would even cover supply chain management.
Of course, most SMBs don’t have the money to subscribe to all of these services at once. The good news is, you don’t have to.
Our SMB customers tend to be nimble companies that want to grow fast. If they’re funded by venture capitalists, they need to return high shareholder value. These SMBs can buy a single cloud product from Oracle to start with—say, Oracle Java Cloud, if you’re a software developer—and then over the course of months or years, continue to add functional capability to cover your entire operations.
That's a huge benefit to growing companies.
Fast-growing companies don’t have the time, the wherewithal or even the desire to manage multiple vendor relationships. Our conversations with SMBs often go like this:
"Hey, I just brought my minimum viable product to market. I need to go out and scale this. I need to be able to get customers, I need to sell, I need to do all the things to grow my business. I don't have time to manage multiple vendor relationships—and I certainly don’t want to staff a large IT organization to integrate all my systems. I need to stay focused on growing my company."
With a single, connected cloud, Oracle offers more than just subscription software. We offer a strategic partnership, managed through a single account executive, to help explain how all of the pieces of our cloud work together to help solve your business challenges—from sales challenges, to marketing problems, to finance and reporting issues, to talent and recruitment drives.
You might not realize it, but Oracle has been in the SMB space for a long time. Out of our 420,000 customers, 75% of them classify themselves as small or midsize. Historically, Oracle has been seen as a company that sold mainly to the big players—mostly because, in the old, on-premises license model, it was mainly the big players who could afford it.
The cloud has changed everything.
In addition to subscription pricing that’s SMB-friendly, we’ve changed the way we do business. We launched an accelerated buying experience to help make our customers successful with their cloud purchases—because we want your business to succeed.
Of course, we want to sell software. But more than that, we want to help solve your most immediate business problem. And once we’ve done that, we can educate you on how to overcome your next challenge. For example, once you have your sales team running at full throttle, you can look at all the contacts in your sales cloud and think, “How can I market to all these new contacts?”
Then it’s time to connect your sales cloud to a marketing cloud, so that you can send campaigns and awareness pieces and do a better job of nurturing your prospects. And then, once you’ve started selling to those contacts, you might need to put an e-commerce solution in place, so that you can configure, price and quote via your web site.
And when all that money starts rolling in, you need to manage your financials and provide transparent, accurate reports to your investors—so you need an ERP and EPM cloud to handle planning and budgeting, the financial close, accounts payable and receivable, bank reconciliation, and more. And when there’s enough money to hire more people, you’ll need an HCM system that plugs right into your finance cloud.
You can sit down with your Oracle account manager and do quarterly business reviews, look over our road map, and try to figure out where the next opportunity is.
In the coming months, you’ll be reading a lot more in this space about the challenges and opportunities for small and medium businesses—across sales, finance, HR, IT and more. Our goal with this publication is to demonstrate that we can be that strategic business partner you’re looking for—that we understand your challenges, because we once started out small, just like you.