We are blogging from the Oracle Open World Conference being held in San Francisco this week.  Yesterday, we posted our initial commentary and we pen this posting on Tuesday evening of the conference.

The principle themes of the Tuesday keynotes were once again focused on Oracle’s product announcements in the area of database, cloud and engineered systems.  What is becoming much clearer is the ongoing product strategy related to both underlying IT infrastructure and deployment of future applications releases.

For this author, this will be my eight OpenWorld conference and thus I can provide some historic context. Peel away the multitudes of Oracle PowerPoint over this period and one gets a sense that Oracle has figured out how to compete and deploy what could be breakthrough engineered systems.  What remains is expanding the outreach to business and functional audiences in the context of delivering significant business value.  More on that later.

The blizzard of new product releases announced in just two days needs context for business as well as IT enablement. Executive Vice President of Development Thomas Kurian indicated that within the last 4 quarters, Oracle has produced 60 major releases of software and has updated 3600 software products. Yet, he clearly stated that the single most important project for Oracle’s engineering teams was developing cloud based infrastructure and applications.  That includes cloud-based availability of IT infrastructure (aka Amazon like data center services), cloud-based database, Java related services, document collaboration, marketplace services and finally applications.

For functional supply chain, product and other business teams, that implies a vision once articulated by ex-Sun Microsystems CEO Scott McNealey fifteen or so years ago, “the network is the system”.  Instead of the company’s IT budget being primarily consumed by data center, infrastructure maintenance, upgrade and rollout costs, Oracle is positioning itself to be the one-stop shop for IT services.  A massive undertaking but yet, the components are starting to fall into place, at least in PowerPoint and prototype demos.

The goal post is now becoming quite visible, and as we have opined months ago, the clash of the enterprise software vendors has reached a new milestone.  Oracle has thrown down the gauntlet.  A series of unlikely enterprise partners is also evolving.  Who would have envisioned Microsoft and Salesforce partnering with Oracle, joining previous partners EMC and Intel.

Thus far, Oracle has had time as an ally.  The Fusion powered applicationsvision articulated several years ago is now becoming more concrete.  The new test comes when mission-critical business applications are completely powered in private or public clouds.

Stay tuned for our next update as we share our insights on the broad supply chain umbrella of applications and what may be in-store for future development paths.

Bob Ferrari