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Oracle president Charles Ph

Oracle president Charles Ph

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Published by Tim Steward

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Published by: Tim Steward on Jul 11, 2008
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Oracle president Charles Phillips: EvangelisingEnterprise 2.0
Oracle is setting up a dedicated Web 2.0 organisation, although president Charles Phillips admits there is still confusion in the market about the nature of Enterprise 2.0. So what is Phillips' Enterprise 2.0 pitch?
By Stuart Lauchlan, news and analysis editor
With all the noise surrounding Enterprise 2.0, Oracle is putting its money where its corporatemouth is and setting up a dedicated Web 2.0 organisation to evangelise to CIOs worldwide.It's partly a response to confusion in the market about what Web 2.0 implies. Oracle presidentCharles Phillips revealed in London last week that he's been meeting a lot more CIOs than he has in the past but has found that there are varying levels of understanding.“Every company has similar issues,” he said. “They are struggling to get to simplified computingenvironments. But in Europe they are not as far along the Enterprise 2.0 curve as they are in the US.Companies are building an architecture that is open and expandible and it's that architecture that most largeorganisations are evolving to.
"Enterprise 2.0 is self-organising, so good ideas tend to bubble to the top, but bad ideasdon't get much currency."
Charles Phillips, president, OracleLow awareness of the potential of Web 2.0 is still relatively common. “That's fairly typical when you're earlyon in the market and people are struggling to understand it,” said Phillips. “What I concluded is that we needto educate the market more, so what we're doing is creating an Enterprise 2.0 salesforce which deals incollaboration and content management technologies that you need to build an Enteprise 2.0 infrastructure."I want a focus inside Oracle so that everyone inside Oracle is thinking about this every day. We need tomarket to people about Web 2.0. We need to get out there and share success stories with customers. We haveexperts here who can help. We are ahead of the curve on this so that other people don't have to makemistakes. We will be putting these people out there in June and we expect them to be in great demand.“We haves seen some C-level resistance from people who are not sure how this Web 2.0 stuff applies. Theythink it's about Facebook and MySpace. You can't blame them. They hear of new technologies every year andhalf of it doesn't work. Confusion about new technologies has been going on for 30 years. We're always goingto be talking about something that customers haven't heard about before; that's what they pay us for. That'swhy we have to arm the Enterprise 2.0 salesforce with real case studies so that they can engage with both ITand business.”
The Enterprise 2.0 pitch
So what's the pitch that CEOs need to be hearing about Enterprise 2.0? According to Philips, its one aboutcommunication and being open to hearing ideas from all parts of the organisation. “What I tell CEOs is 'Doyou think that there are good ideas at the lower echelons of the business that you want to know about?' If not,
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then they shouldn't be doing Enteprise 2.0. But really you should never be afraid of more information.Enterprise 2.0 is self-organising, so good ideas tend to bubble to the top, but bad ideas don't get muchcurrency. Ideas get embedded through peer pressure. Now, either you believe the wisdom of the crowd isuseful or you don't. Most of the CEOs I talk to get it, but it can be uncomfortable according to what your organisation is like.A two way 'conversation' is essential. “It's vital for us to getcustomer feedback constantly,” noted Phillips. “At Oracle, we needa balance between the vision of where we want to take people andtheir needs, while they want us to stimulate their thinking. They wantto know about best practice. It's not just through our meeting withthe CIO advisory councils and user group meetings and so on. Wecollect a ton of data every month."The organisations that get this message most easily are often thosewho also recognise the huge opportunity that interaction with their customers represents. “It's the concept of the long tail,” explainedPhillips. “There is great technology in Enterprise 2.0 to reach out to micro-markets. You can get to small,focused groups that are interested in certain subjects. Netflix is good example in that it started out with all themainstream titles but ran into competition with Blockbusters so they started to do the more genre, more nichetitles. That's now 70% of its business. That's good to be able to find new pockets of demand. It's alsosomething dangerous for any business to ignore.“It's about people who you want to collaborate with more easily. I've never met anyone who doesn't want todo that. Is there an easier way for you to find out what customers and experts think? How we developsoftware now is different to the way that we did inside Oracle even a year and a half ago. People now tagthemselves in collaborative environments according to what their expertise is. We all need to find people whoare experts so they tag themselves."Everyone else gets to vote on whether you really are the expert, so that if you're good, other people will callyou. It was hard to keep up and keep current when you have developers all around the globe. You need tohave the ability to execute quickly and have everyone on the same page. When you're designing products,your head engineers are often in the US and you have people in India who can feel distant. They feel that theother guys make decisions and throw them over the wall at them. You can only do so many conference calls.With Enteprise 2.0, you can bring everyone into the same community and make them feel closer to the core.
"You can only do so many conference calls. With Enteprise 2.0, you can bring everyone into the samecommunity and make them feel closer to the core."
Charles Phillips, president, Oracle“It can be hard to keep people up to date on what we are doing so we're pushing to move to collaborativeenvironments. We would love to have people collaborating and desigining presentations that they're beinggiven, sharing notes and working on problems, so that we don't have to have people travelling on planes. Itwill enable us to change the way that we do partner training. We have so many partners who are eager tolearn, but of course they are cost conscious, as we are. We have 20,000 partners and 9,000 products. Onlinewe can mange this. It gets back to the long tail idea. We can also target training to what people need in particular markets each week.”The collaborative concepts of Enterprise 2.0 also have applications implications, particularly in the areas of socalled social CRM. “This allows sales people to work in communities,” explained Phillips. “For instance, if there's a particular presentation with a customer reference which then helps close the deal 90% of the time,
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then you want to share that information with other salespeople."Today you'd share that information by phone or by email, but now you can do it using collaborativetechnology. All presentations are tagged by those who wrote them, did we get the deal, did the deal close andso on. You can look at past products and sales and share that information with colleagues. Sales people havealways shared information, but we just couldn't see it. It's a club – they will talk, but they just don't wantmanagement to be part of that club!"
[Footnote: Even in the Brave New World of Enterprise 2.0, vendor hype still has its place. Ironically, Phillips was talking about Web 2.0 in London a day after Salesforce.com had spent much of its Dreamforceconference talking about Web 3.0. “Whether you call it 2.0 or 3.0, the concepts are much the same,”chuckled Phillips. “In CRM On Demand and in Social CRM, we are way ahead of the market. We arewinning deals on the basis of that and a lot of what [Salesforce.com CEO Marc] Benioff is saying is inresponse to that. Salesforce.com is developing the Cloud aspect of its business which can take the eye ofthe main application. They're still doing well, but it can be dangerous to take all the R&D money and pour it into something over here.”]
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Oracle president Charles Phillips: Evangelising Enterprise 2.0 - 13 May 2008http://www.mycustomer.com/cgi-bin/item.cgi?id=133710&d=printdetail...3 of 47/9/2008 3:45 AM

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