With over 60,000 attendees, this year’s Oracle OpenWorld was the largest to date. Oracle’s CEO Larry Ellison didn’t waste any time, making key announcements during his Welcome Keynote on Sunday night and kicking the event off with great momentum. This year’s OpenWorld was all about big data, with a healthy dose of customer experience on the side. Here’s what you missed:
1. Ellison opened with the introduction of several hardware systems highlighted by an in-memory database technology that promises 100 times faster query processing and an increase of double the current transaction processing rates. With the in-memory solution, transactions run faster on row formats, while analytics do better on column formats, he explained. This “breakthrough dual format” for both row and column in-memory formats for the same data, he said, is the reason the solution can deliver results at “ungodly speeds.” The system will also be fully compatible—meaning there will be no changes to SQL or existing applications—and is cloud-ready without the need for data migration. The transition will be simple for users, Ellison asserted. “All you have to do is flip a switch,” he said.
2. Ellison also unveiled Oracle’s new M6-32 “Big Memory Machine,” which is touted to be the fastest in-memory machine in the world. It’s available immediately, and holds double the cores of the M5 it replaces, hosting 32 terabytes of DRAM memory. “This thing moves data very fast and processes data in-memory very fast,” Ellison said, and explained that the M6 has double the system bandwidth of the biggest IBM system, and costs less than a third of IBM’s.
3. The last big reveal of the night was the company’s introduction of a high-performance engineered system based on its in-memory solution: a new high-speed backup and recovery appliance. The appliance was developed because backup appliances typically aren’t designed for databases. Instead, they treat them as “just more files to copy,” Ellison said. Oracle’s solution is designed to transmit the update and transactional logs to the backup appliance while the database is running, streamlining the process and implementing changes while the backup is underway to avoid customer data loss. The verbose name of the new machine—the Oracle Database Backup Logging Recovery Appliance—was actually Ellison’s idea. “If you’re wondering who came up with such a clever name, you’re looking at him,” he joked. “That’s the actual product name. That’s why they pay me the big bucks.”
4. At Oracle President Mark Hurd’s Monday morning keynote, big data took center stage once more. Picking up where CEO Larry Ellison left off during his address, Hurd discussed Oracle’s new in-memory option, and reiterated Oracle’s focus on applying fast, accurate analytics to strengthen its CRM resources. As big data grows, analytics systems have to keep up with it—not only in analysis effectiveness, but also in speed, he pointed out. “In the future, what will matter is not how much data you can collect, but how you can analyze it and how quickly you can do it,” Fabrice Bregier, CEO of Oracle Customer Airbus, said in a video during Hurd’s presentation.
5. Thomas Kurian, Oracle’s senior vice president of technologies development, took the stage with Hurd, and shared how the company’s big data solution is speeding up data processing and improving performance. “Our Big Data Appliance is the fastest preconfigured Hadoop appliance,” he said. “It can stream huge volumes rapidly into the Oracle database, where the in-memory function can scan billions of rows per second.” Kurian also introduced Oracle’s Fast Data solution, a complementary solution to big data that allows users to process data in real time and take action quickly. “It’s ideal for customers like Airbus, that might not be able to wait for long periods of time to process data. A pilot has to make decision instantly, so he needs to have access to data instantly as well,” Kurian said.
6. Kurian also made big announcements at his own keynote the next day, and unveiled a slew of new cloud services. While Oracle added 10 services to its cloud platform, Kurian focused specifically on the introduction of Oracle Marketplace. The Marketplace, a global marketplace where partners can publish applications and customers can browse through and discover new solutions to address their business needs, will feature a large collection of business applications developed by Oracle partners and enable customers to easily find, evaluate, and buy innovative applications that extend their Oracle Cloud solutions.
7. Kurian also shared major improvements made to Oracle’s Human Capital Management tool and Sales Cloud. The Human Capital Management tool, which is now integrated with Oracle Analytics, will help human resources executives not only recruit, hire, train, and retain employees, but also provide key insight into employee behavior with the capabilities to predict when an employee may ask for a raise or repositioning. Kurian then introduced improvements to Oracle’s Customer Experience Cloud, boasting the industry’s “most sophisticated marketing automation tool” and a new service component that allows customers to help themselves through a knowledge management capability and other support communities, and zeroed in on the redesigned Sales Cloud, which streamlines and unifies sales, marketing, and service components.
8. The focus shifted to the evolution and future of customer experience on Wednesday morning at Oracle OpenWorld, as David Vap, the company’s group vice president of product development, took the keynote stage. While more than 91 percent of brands claim that they want to be considered customer experience leaders, only 38 percent have a formal CX platform, and only 16 percent have an advanced platform, according to Vap. “Companies need to start bridging the gap between thought leadership and action leadership,” he said. “They need to start stepping it up.” One of the biggest challenges companies face, Vap explained, is that there is not enough communication between silos. Marketing, sales, and service teams remain disconnected, making it difficult to deal with customers across different channels and meet their variable needs. “The truth is, customers don’t care if your company has disconnected silos. If they’re dealing with one company, they want their interaction to be streamlined, regardless of silos,” Vap said.
9. Zeroing in on the importance social media plays in customer experience, Oracle Senior Vice President Reggie Bradford revealed recent research that says that 72 percent of online adults use social networking sites, and of these adults, one out of three prefer to contact brands via social media, not phone. “We’ve all heard the news that by 2017, the CMO will spend more on IT than the CIO. What this means is that there is a need for a hybrid to develop between marketing and technology. There are overlapping functions, so collaboration—and the technology to foster this collaboration—are essential,” Bradford said. Bradford discussed Oracle Social Cloud, the company’s social relationship management tool, and announced the integration of Oracle’s Social Relationship Management solutions with Eloqua.
10. Working to eliminate this disconnect between marketers and technology, Tesco Chief Information Office Mike McNamara and Chief Marketing Officer Matt Atkinson presented their company’s new customer experience strategy together, sharing the stage to drive home their collaborative mission. “Technology is transforming retail,” McNamara said. “Digital natives make purchases in whatever way seems most convenient. They’re ‘bilingual’ and move flawlessly from the technological to the physical world. That means that if you want to win in this world, you have to ride the digital wave.” Atkinson explained that the future of technology is a world powered by cloud, in which technology will enable customers to share their world automatically across devices, and companies will have to stop thinking about customers in individual silos, instead thinking about one customer in multiple experiences.