Oracle Gets Serious About the Cloud at OpenWorld 2014

clients shared insight on their transitions to the cloud. "Customers are going to want to buy the way they want to buy, when they want to buy it," Mark Hurd, Oracle's co-CEO, said in a morning keynote. The challenges that most customers are facing, he explained, are transforming their businesses "in front of a backdrop of secular change with growing budget constraints." As mobile, social, and other disruptive channels grow to dominate the way people interact with brands and shop, brands are adjusting their business strategies to be more customer-centric and contextually relevant.

Tim Theriault, the senior vice president and chief information, innovation, and improvement officer for Walgreens, discussed how the company is using the cloud to "do more with less" as its customer experience budget decreases. For example, Walgreens has been relying heavily on its loyalty program to draw key customer insight and deliver more personalized experiences for customers in the store. "We're using Oracle's cloud analytics and marketing solutions to make in-store experiences more geographically relevant and make sure we deliver lobsters in Boston and Elvis in Vegas," Theriault joked.

For GE, another Oracle customer, the move to the cloud was all about scalability. "We can't be worrying about running 10,000 different applications," GE senior vice president and CIO Jamie Miller said. Instead, Miller says the goal was to run several core processes and move onto the cloud to manage other operations more efficiently and with more automation. "Our view on cloud was we have to start and we have to start now. We like SaaS solutions because they allow us to standardize processes at scale, and scale quickly," she said.

Oracle's B2B customers have embraced the cloud as well. Intel CIO Kim Stevenson shared that like many others, Intel has been "disrupted by the shift from a PC-centric world to a mobile-centric one," which has led the company to rely on different business models than it's used to. For example, while Intel Inside was one of Intel's most successful marketing campaigns because it pioneered the idea of ingredient branding, it "doesn't play in the current market anymore," Stevenson said.

To modernize its overall strategy, the company has restructured its marketing and sales efforts to shift the focus away from audience segments organized by verticals and territories, instead looking at what potential buyers are researching to segment by interest. Intel used solutions from both Oracle Eloqua and Bluekai to drive its marketing and sales innovations, and was able to cut qualified lead costs from $300 to $25. Thanks to Oracle's solutions, the company generated $35 million in one quarter, and noticed a 75 percent velocity increase. "It's fascinating how quickly the digital disruption grew from just B2C to B2B as well. Things have changed, and these tools have helped Intel change," she said.

As for Oracle, the vendor promised to keep evolving as well. "We will continue to deliver the best-of-breed solutions as well as an integrated suite of solutions. We have a unique ability to add platform capabilities to build up capabilities as needs arise, and we'll continue to give our customers what they need," Hurd concluded.

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