Juergen Lindner, SVP, Global Marketing Head SaaS, Oracle in conversation with dynamicCIO talks about the changed ecosystem as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and how it has accelerated the adoption of digital technologies. As Oracle donned the hat of a trusted advisor for its customers and stayed away from classic sales conversations, Lindner further throws light on the company’s strategy to help its customers in their digital journeys.
dynamicCIO: The pandemic forced businesses to take digital transformation seriously. What has been your observation?
Juergen Lindner: I think that the pandemic has been a unique and educational experience for all of us. What I found interesting was that the conversations around digital accelerated and it brought functions like finance and supply chain at the head of digitalization. The business leaders were trying to be ready for any eventuality because of the pandemic. Some sectors gained, while some others faced existential crisis.
We teamed up with McKinsey to understand the changed ecosystem. We donned the hat of a trusted advisor for our customers and stayed away from classic sales conversations. Our customers appreciated our changed approach. That explains our head start with 33% y-o-y growth in ERP in Q1FY21 despite the pandemic. In fact, we saw more go-lives than we had expected. We consider ourselves to be blessed having the ability to serve our customers, in their hour of need, with a cloud-based environment and we can really be there for them.
DC: How is Oracle positioned against the competition? What sets Oracle apart from its competitors?
JL: In terms of pricing, we are extremely flexible. We have a standard list pricing; however, we understand that every customer is different. We are supremely confident of our product. We feel that the foresight with which our complete suite of apps has been architected over the last decade, gives us a tremendous competitive edge. With us, customers can start their digital journey anywhere and their journey will never come to a grinding halt with us. Association with us proves to be cost effective for our customers as they do not have to use very expensive data warehouses bridging mechanisms. If you look at the entire package of having innovation capacity in the infrastructure being natively embedded in the business process systems directly gives our customers a huge advantage.
Today, more than 80% of the corporations think that their future is tied to the adoption of AI. We do not see this as a different concept. We see this as an integral part of how we extend business processes to our customers. These evolving technologies are ambient in the background of our cloud solutions and the customer does not even know that he/she has been interacting with machine learning. The system just learns from interactions, gets smarter and anticipates the next move. Over time, we train the system constantly with tons of features into standard applications offerings and our customers simply love it. This gives them huge competitive advantage and at the same time, allows us to be extremely visionary with relentless automation so that we can liberate functions such as Finance, Supply Chain, Back Office and Front Office to add more value addition versus mundanity of transactional type of interactions.
DC: New normal realities have caused the cloud to leapfrog. How is Oracle positioning itself to take more market share in ERP?
JL: We have access to a broad spectrum of industries. We are constantly unlocking new functionalities, specifically towards industries where we have a very stable core system and to gain access to newer industries. We are seeing a fantastic growth in the Higher Education sector. We are just breaking ground in the Oil and Gas industry through joint venture accounting. Our ability to deliver on 90-day type of increment allows us to be super swift in extending our addressable markets. We have proven success with 7300 Cloud ERP customers and 5000 of these are go-lives.
There is no other vendor in the market right now with a complete suite of services with end-to-end solutions for every line of business, like we are. Our ability to extend every innovation from our infrastructure side to SaaS customers gives us huge opportunities. We are a holistic cloud service provider and that sets us apart from any other cloud provider.
DC: What special steps did Oracle take to help its customers through tough times in taking data driven decisions?
JL: Through the crisis we acted like a business partner, not like a technology partner to our customers. For the first time ever, we gave solutions for free to our customers, considering that there are financial hardships for them. We extended some pieces of functionalities to our customers to ride through the crisis. We announced elevations to our SaaS offerings. We are helping our customers to shift their business models. We are offering a very seamless orchestration between the configuration of the service and customer experiences and between revenue streams and financial systems and supply chains. All these things have been made possible by common data model. That is what customers have come to realise – that the data needs to flow seamlessly between the applications within one suite, with embedded analytics. This allows having predictive features as part of the platform and gives the tremendous advantage to redo scenario model to all those things that our customers need to survive right now and for the next chapter of growth.
DC: Are there any customer successes that you would like to share, where the customers faced the crisis successfully?
JL: As I mentioned before, during the pandemic, the conversations about the digitalization did not cease. Omega Healthcare, a leading healthcare outsourcing provider were using European HCM legacy systems and they looked at it critically during the pandemic. They decided to partner with us as we could offer them one cloud platform. There is where we stand up in the competition with SAP. When customers compare our offerings with competition, they feel that we can be a better choice in the long run as we offer them this innovation platform. Then we have Cactus Communications, researchers for medical services. We implemented ERP for them in less than 10 weeks, which shows that a cloud ERP journey has nothing in common with an on-prem ERP. It can be very tactical for quick business wins and this is one of those examples that in just first 10 weeks we already had business success. It is really about closing the book faster. So, they saw the books being closed four days earlier and four days out of a closing cycle is huge if you translate it into repetitive type of financial stream models. Not just that, the customer also saved 20% of their time that they spent on procurement.