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Past experience of large-scale enterprise software rollouts suggests the process takes years, by which time business requirements had changed. That need not be the case with cloud deployments, according to an Oracle executive.

Unlike previous generations of enterprise software, the adoption of cloud does not require 'big bang' rollouts. "We're seeing hardly any big bang transformation," said Steve Miranda, Oracle's executive vice president, applications development. Instead, there is a tendency for new and innovative systems to be deployed in the cloud.

In general, only cloud vendors and very small businesses are going all cloud, he said, but "I think over time that will change" and in two to five years it will not be unusual for all of an organisation's major systems to be in the cloud.

Oracle Cloud is a brand new product line, he said, delivering best in class solutions that can be adopted piece by piece.

For example, the ERP module uses the best people and best ideas from all of Oracle's ERP products to deliver "a complete set of ERP applications in the cloud." But Miranda suggested ERP will be one of the last functions to move from on-premises to the cloud as it is generally being operated efficiently in house. Customers likely to move their ERP sooner are likely to be those that are using old products, or where significant organisational or business changes have occurred since the current ERP system was implemented.

Functions such as sales force automation, customer service, marketing, recruiting, and talent management provide "more impetus to change," he said.

The Sales and Marketing module lets organisations "monitor the digital body language of your customer," said Miranda, with embedded business intelligence to help identify good targets for the next marketing push.

Oracle Cloud has been in development for around seven years, Miranda said, but things have changed over that time. It was initially intended to be 'SaaS ready' ('cloud' is a more recent concept), mobile requirements have changed significantly, social has emerged as an important consideration for businesses, and big data has followed business intelligence.

But the suite should not be seen as a response to criticism of the way Oracle chose to maintain the multiple and overlapping products it acquired, he explained, as the different products suited different types of customer and different geographies. "It wasn't a response to that at all - we saw an inflection point coming."

The suite runs on enterprise-grade Oracle infrastructure in "world-class [generation 4] data centres globally" including the recently opened Sydney data centre, using the same architecture the company recommends to its on-premises customers.

Miranda noted that Oracle itself runs on the eBusiness Suite and Siebel, including some cloud systems. The company plans to make all of its products available in the cloud.

Disclosure: The writer travelled to Sydney as the guest of Oracle.

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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences, a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies, and is a senior member of the Australian Computer Society.

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