The Oracle founder took to the stage to talk cloud and customer service and human capital management. And he was on form, good form - especially in an open Q&A, a forum in which he has always excelled and which we don’t get to see enough of these days.
So what did we learn from Larry? Some assorted highlights follow:
On the need for a social UI:
"The social network is the new paradigm of the application. All of Oracle's apps in the cloud have social network built in. It's the interface of the application.”
"Our user interface is modelled after Facebook, something that doesn't require learning.”
“The interfaces Oracle and SAP built 10 years ago aren't appropriate in the age of Facebook and Twitter.”
On how big Oracle’s commitment to the cloud has been:
“If I’m going to do one application and put it in the cloud, that’s fairly straightforward. Oracle isn’t a company that builds one application, it’s a company that builds many.”
“You can say that we’re late but it’s not because we started late, we started 10 years ago. It was just an enormous task bringing an enormous suite of apps to the cloud.”
On why customer service and HCM are the two most important business applications:
“My focus now is on people, and that means taking care of your employees, and taking care of your customers.”
“Take care of your employees, and take care of your customers"
“HCM is the app that manages your most-precious asset--your people.”
"Connected employees know what's going on in the company and they can help others do their job.”
On Oracle’s cloud credentials:
“Oracle is the only company in the world seriously operating at all three layers of the cloud."
“Oracle is only company in the world that has a serious SaaS business, a serious PaaS business and a serious IaaS business."
On who the competition is now:
“We just swapped a bunch of big guys—IBM and SAP—for a bunch of other guys who are small but agile."
“A huge portion of [SAP’s] business is ERP, but they haven’t even started to rebuild for cloud.”
“Our competitors are this whole new generation of cloud companies. We’re focused on the infrastructure companies like Amazon and the SaaS companies like Salesforce.”
On the impact of the NSA spying scandal:
“To the best of our knowledge, an Oracle database hasn’t been broken into for a couple of decades, by anybody. That’s how I’d answer it… It's so secure, there are people that complain.”
“Mr. Snowden never could have gotten into an Oracle database.”
And on that 'detente' with Salesforce.com…:
“It's interesting that Salesforce.com uses Oracle, but sells something else to its customers!”
To which last remark, Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff replied on Twitter:
“It is a zen koan.”
(And in case you don’t know what that is, it’s a story, dialogue, question, or statement, which is used in Zen-practice to provoke the "great doubt”.)
I'm not entirely sure we learned anything that we didn't already know, but the arsenal of senior talent on parade served as another timely reminder that the Oracle cloud commitment is real!
And Larry in free-form Q&A action is as impressive as ever it was.
Disclosure: at time of writing, Oracle, Salesforce.com and SAP are premium partners of diginomica.