Oracle Replaces Its Top On Demand Exec

Oracle has put a new face on its on-demand software efforts. Jurgen Rottler, formerly head of public sector, health, and education business for Hewlett-Packard, is the new executive vice president for Oracle On Demand, a position that answers directly to CEO Larry Ellison. Rottler replaces Timothy Chou, who led the firm's hosted-applications efforts for years, and reportedly remains with the company in an unspecified role. Oracle made change despite reports that its On Demand revenues are up by one third in the past quarter, compared to the same period last year. According to some industry watchers, the strategy for the firm's On Demand offerings has been unclear for some time. Oracle has repeatedly tried to communicate a hosting plan to the market, including an ambitious, deeply embedded program in which customers can subscribe not only to Oracle software packages, but also to a suite of specially constructed applications meant to address a specific business process, such as quote-to-cash. Also, the company ended what many considered a successful cross-marketing agreement with NetSuite earlier this year, which eliminated the Oracle Small Business Suite brand, leaving a gap in Oracle's offering that is yet been filled. "They have changed their direction a number of times," says Denis Pombriant, managing principal of Beagle Research. "I think they've tried and failed, and have not been successful with an on-demand strategy, and I think it's a glaring weakness for them, or anybody who does not have an [on-demand] strategy at this point." Although Pombriant credits Oracle for its business-process approach, he believes the software vendor may be having difficulty thinking outside the traditional enterprise IT box. "I think it's ultimately a flawed strategy, because it has in the background the presumption that every application you'll ever need is going to be provided by one vendor, and that vendor is going to be best-in-class," he says. "That's not realistic, and I think it swims against current events." Chou had positioned Oracle to compete with other hosted and on-demand vendors not on price, but on capabilities. It remains to be seen how new management will effect Oracle's On Demand offerings, if at all. An Oracle executive was unavailable for comment. Related articles: On-Demand CRM: Is it Right for Every Company?
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