If I had to describe my first Oracle OpenWorld in two words, they would be disruptive innovation.

I’m not going to lie. When I first joined Oracle, I thought of it as a 40-year-old database company with an interesting past, but I didn’t have a clear view of its future.

But that view has firmly cleared after attending Oracle OpenWorld 2017, my first OpenWorld event. I saw first-hand that Oracle is building cutting-edge, transformative technology into every layer of its product portfolio stack: IaaS (Infrastructure-as-a-Service), PaaS (Platform-as-a-Service), SaaS (Software-as-a-Service), and now DaaS (Data-as-a-Service).

What’s more, Oracle has designed its technology to help customers personalize their paths to the cloud through one seamlessly integrated platform that helps users operate critical business applications, all from a single vendor. The result is an IT environment that efficiently and cost-effectively drives business transformation—one that is both secure and scalable.

Most importantly, Oracle is taking the lead to help customers unleash their innovation.

One way that Oracle is doing this is through automation, which was a pervasive topic at OpenWorld. Attendees wanted to know how automation is going to help them, and they got lots of input!

On a related note, Mark Hurd’s keynote at Oracle OpenWorld helped validate how Oracle was unleashing innovation in key ways. “Eighty percent is generous — 85% of IT budgets is spent on just basically keeping the existing systems running, so [there is] very little innovation [budget left for customers],” explained CEO Mark Hurd in his keynote address. “Our objective has been to have the most complete suite of SaaS applications, the most complete suite of PaaS services, and the next generation of Infrastructure-as-a-Service that all work together to complement each other. That’s what we’ve built out, and that’s what we now have.” In other words, Oracle is helping their customers say bye to complexity and hi to simplicity.

All of the keynotes energized me, but I also attended various sessions and had the privilege of speaking to many customers and partners around the show floor. They shared specifically why and how Oracle is revolutionizing their businesses. Here are my top five highlights from the event:

1. Keynote by Cloud Business EVP Dave Donatelli

During his keynote, “Oracle's Integrated Cloud Platform, Intelligent Cloud Applications, and Emerging Technologies for Business,” Dave shared how Oracle offers a number of options to help organizations evolve their cloud strategies on their own terms. Many of the customers I chatted with shared their journeys, referencing Dave’s six journeys-to-the-cloud model:

  • Optimize your data center: Oracle Engineered Systems is powered by Exadata X-7, which is available as the traditional on-premises machine, as an Oracle public cloud machine placed behind your firewall, or as an Oracle cloud service deployed in our cloud.
  • Cloud at Customer: In this path, the same hardware and software is used in the Oracle Public Cloud but located in your data center and offered as a cloud-like subscription model with no maintenance requirements.
  • Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (IaaS): This is a complete layer of compute, storage, and networking. An important part of what happens here is data management and processing with tools such Oracle’s Big Data Appliance.
  • Create a new cloud with Oracle PaaS and IaaS: Oracle makes it possible for developers to create applications with new technologies such as blockchain and machine learning, and deploy those applications wherever they like.
  • Transform operations with SaaS: Oracle has written all of our SaaS products to have a common data model, which makes it easier to add business processes to your cloud environment on your schedule and without being locked into inflexible packages. It’s also easy to start with Oracle’s “vanilla” SaaS solution and easily customize it to add automation like bot-powered voice commands or augmented-reality for training.
  • Build a “born-in-the-cloud” business: This isn’t just for start-ups. Oracle customers are launching new divisions and units as cloud-first businesses to find the speed, agility, and growth trajectory they need to be successful.

Dave also covered the critical importance of the DaaS layer in enterprise technology for targeting and personalizing messaging and offerings to customers, and then measuring results to adjust for even more effective marketing. This is something many companies are doing to grow their revenue and market share, he said.

2. Customer Validation of Oracle Innovation

I was struck by the stories of our users. They made it clear that Oracle innovations are making them more successful—for example, Oracle Exadata Database Machine X7’s ability to automatically transform table data into in-memory DB columnar data in Flash cache, enables enterprise research and other big data processing needs at scale. Some of my tweets from the event summarize their stories:

Oracle’s range of #PaaS and #IaaS services are enabling researchers to do enterprise research at scale” -@CERN #OOW17 #CloudReady

RECVUE is powered by @OracleBigData to help process over 50 million transactions/day for revenue & billing management. #OOW17 #CloudReady

I had a chance to hear from Securex, Cloud Architect Winner of the Year at Oracle’s Global Leaders program, as they shared the following: “Today IT must deliver the capabilities for the business to drive agile data analysis and BI in a self-service manner. So we turned to Oracle and the cloud.”

I also talked to a lot of customers who were concerned about scaling security. The big announcement of Oracle’s Autonomous Database and Highly Automated Cyber Security, and how they work together to secure data faster and better than any alternatives, caused a lot of excitement. “Oracle has helped make big data a driver of business success,” said Luis Esteban from CaixaBank, winner of the Oracle Innovation and Cloud Ready Infrastructure award. “We now drive better quality, customer knowledge, sales, and mitigate fraud threats.”

3. Big Data, Machine Learning, and Cloud Strategy, Oh My!

Big data continues to be top of mind for so many businesses. I attended some key sessions intended to highlight the opportunities of big data and provide practical solutions to common challenges.

General Session on Big Data Strategy
Of course, many people were looking for ways to glean more value from the volumes of data their organizations collect. Today, successful big data projects are enabling more than 50% of organizations to see increases in revenue or reductions in cost. The big takeaway from this session was that Oracle’s Big Data cloud offerings can scale on-demand so they shift how an enterprise plans for capacity and analysis.

Big Data and Machine Learning and the Cloud
The lasting impression I have from this session is that it drew back the curtain on the technology that enables key business use cases for big data: innovation, customer insight, operational efficiency, fraud, risk, and compliance. It examined real-world examples of each use case and the technical architecture that supports them. For example, Oracle Big Data Manager is a new feature of the Oracle Big Data offering that uses machine learning to help users identify their most profitable sales opportunities, customers, markets, etc.

4. Feet on the Street: The Show Floor

What would a live event be without selfies? I was privileged to tour the show floor and capture some pictures with folks interested in sharing why they came to Oracle OpenWorld:

Vital from Charter Communications shares why he’s at #OOW17: “To see how I can leverage #ML, #AI capabilities in @Oracle’s cloud offerings so I can drive more efficiency and worker productivity for the team that I manage.”

Why do you love @Oracle? “We have 12.5 million employees so PeopleSoft has been incredibly helpful!” #OOW17

“I’m most impressed with how @Oracle is integrating analytics tools into a single Oracle analytics cloud.” – Fors partner #oow17 #CloudReady

 

5. I Had Fun!

Not only did I see just how powerful Oracle technology is for helping organizations modernize, innovate, and compete in a digital world, but I had fun!

I will always remember these words from Larry Ellison during one of the keynote sessions. They represent for me the disruptive innovation I saw in action, and how Oracle is making that disruptive innovation work for customers: "We unify the data, we analyze the data, and we automatically detect and protect your data—all in one unified system."

Find out more about these big data innovations, such as the new release of Big Data Appliance X-7 discussed in this blog "Announcing: Big Data Appliance X7-2 – More Power, More Capacity." If you’d like to catch up on the Oracle OpenWorld 2017 keynotes you may have missed, visit https://www.oracle.com/openworld/on-demand.html.

Source: Oracle Big Data Blog posts