Oracle Mounts Multi-Cloud Charm Offensive Against AI Hype

Staying open and neutral, Oracle tackles AI, Cloud and economic issues


Oracle is taking the high road by reiterating its open stance, sticking to a value-based pricing model, and even playing nice these days, a departure from its former in-your-face approach in the rough and tumble world of selling enterprise software.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella(left), Oracle CTO Larry Ellison(middle) in Redmond, and Oracle CEO Safra Catz at Oracle Cloud World
Caption: Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella(left), Oracle CTO Larry Ellison(middle) in Redmond, and Oracle CEO Safra Catz at Oracle CloudWorld

At the recent Oracle CloudWorld, Oracle co-founder and CTO Larry Ellison was nothing but equanimous when he brought up his competitors from AWS to Salesforce, a far cry from the old days when he made disparaging remarks about their offerings from charging high prices to treating them as nothing but one-trick ponies.

When outlining his vision during the OCW keynote and fielding questions from investors, Ellison was almost effusive in complimenting their strengths in cloud infrastructure and CRM. Instead of engaging in a slug fest, Oracle is doing its best to stay interoperable with these rivals in the multi-cloud world.

Five days before he took the stage at Oracle CloudWorld in Las Vegas, the charm offensive was in full display when Ellison paid an unprecedented visit to Microsoft’s headquarters in Redmond, Washington, where he struck a deal with its former nemesis to make Oracle database readily available on Microsoft Azure. Ellison was ebullient and laughing as he sat next to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, who years ago had overseen Microsoft Dynamics ERP offerings only to find himself scrambling for ready support from Oracle because some Dynamics partners were not willing to part ways with Oracle databases.

The peace-making moves are designed to help Oracle customers easily utilize multiple cloud infrastructure providers in order to realize the benefits of open system computing without incurring steep integration costs, a promise that had been made but not kept by many vendors in the past.

Now Oracle is more than happy to oblige by playing nice and neutral as one of the top three Infrastructure as a Service providers, presumably Microsoft given the rekindled partnership between the two, is spending as much as $1.5 billion in Oracle Cloud Infrastructure capacity because its price performance serves as a better alternative to train AI models. Thou shalt not speak ill of any customer may apply to Oracle’s newfound altruism.

During his keynote, Ellison announced a raft of initiatives that probably covered everything one can expect from a responsible corporate steward. His topics included upgrading public safety for first responders by leveraging real-time communications, expanding indoor vertical farming for drought-stricken regions by relying on software and sensors to monitor agriculture production and improving population health with autonomous database and artificial intelligence to manage electronic health records for the entire country.

The turnaround comes on the heels of back-to-back disclosures that OCI has booked $6 billion in capacity to help AI companies like Cohere and others train AI models over the past two quarters.

Increasingly evident, Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) has something unique to offer that feeds the insatiable appetite of a growing number of AI companies.

Rather than painting AI all over its advertising copies, Oracle exercises restraint by simply positioning itself as the enabler that makes AI real and tangible regardless of whether it turns into a bigger money maker than the Internet revolution or something along the lines of augmented reality or quantum computing waiting to catch fire.

Similarly, Oracle customers are not going overboard with their AI strategy. A survey of 180 customers of recent purchases of Oracle Cloud ERP applications show that nearly half of them have also invested in AI tools to drive greater automation including their use of AP/AR automation, chatbots, robotic process automation and intelligent document management, according to our Buyer Insight Master Database. Some of these implementations can be found in Exhibit 1 below.

For example, Cloud Software Group, a holding company of technology assets including Citrix, Netscaler and Tibco, recently upgraded to Oracle Cloud ERP along with Oracle WebCenter Accounts Payable for AP automation after years of running legacy systems like Oracle E-Business Suite.

Additionally, utility PG&E, Italian Grocer Bennet and retailer WH Smith North America have all implemented AI tools to buttress their reporting, pricing, inventory planning and placement, along with their use of core operating systems from Oracle.

AI Shouldn’t Cost More

Steven Miranda, executive vice president of applications development at Oracle, considers AI features must-have enhancements that will always be incorporated into each release of its Oracle Fusion Cloud Applications as part of an automatic upgrade without requiring customers to pay extra.

During the conference, Oracle also announced a new generation of AI assist tools for customer service use cases including assisted agent responses, search, support resolution, and knowledge management in CX and employee recognition and performance management use cases in HCM. Miranda outlined his team’s plan to introduce more than 50 new generative AI use cases in ERP, SCM, HCM and CX over the next two product releases, in addition to traditional AI features.

Oracle CEO Safra Catz said her company is well-positioned to capitalize on a potential AI boom. At the same time, Oracle’s own use of Oracle Fusion Applications (and AI features within the suite) has enabled its internal teams to reduce costs and do more with less, said Catz who is known for her fiscal discipline.

And Oracle is holding firm on software pricing even as some of its competitors including Microsoft, Salesforce and SAP have recently raised prices.

Moving Towards Touchless B2B Processes

During last year’s event, Oracle announced integrations with JP Morgan Payments and FedEx that would enable customers to streamline B2B payments and shipping and activate services from within Oracle Cloud ERP. The latest building block of that ecosystem is the partnership between Oracle, Mastercard, and HSBC to automate end-to-end business-to-business (B2B) payment transactions with virtual cards for supplier invoice payments, corporate purchases and working capital support

Vowing to keep Oracle easy to do business with for customers, Mike Sicilia, executive vice president of Oracle Industries, said all of its vertical applications have been ported to run on OCI with Cerner scheduling to complete the migration by the end of the year. The cloud migration should make it easier for hospital networks or national health systems to offload the burden of managing electronic health records to a single platform.

Customer Perspectives

Frances Chao, group vice president of enterprise business applications at Providence, a national, not-for-profit Catholic health system with over 120,000 caregivers across 51 hospitals and 1,000 clinics has strategically partnered with Oracle and Deloitte to implement a single cloud ERP instance. As part of an ongoing business transformation journey, Providence is the largest healthcare system on an integrated ERP cloud platform that was delivered at 2-3 times the typical scope in a single go-live. Adopting Oracle Fusion Cloud Applications for finance, enterprise performance management, supply chain, and HR and Payroll enabled Providence to accelerate and reduce its deployment time by 25-50% compared to other large-scale ERP implementations.

“We were one of the first major healthcare systems to sign on for the full ERP and HCM suite. I was initially skeptical if Oracle could meet all of our complex healthcare needs,” Chao said, adding that their implementation of Oracle’s integrated ERP solution has been a huge achievement for Providence. Deployment of its integrated ERP platform was during one of the most challenging times in history when healthcare was thrown into the core of an unprecedented crisis – the COVID-19 pandemic – where resources were scarce, and labor and supply costs were rising.  Adopting Oracle’s cloud-based ERP solution has well-positioned Providence to accelerate its digital transformation journey to leverage advanced technologies (e.g. RPA/AI/ML) to decrease costs and increase productivity.

This is just the first step of an ongoing business transformation journey. Implementing an integrated ERP platform has not only laid a solid foundation to simplify processes and technology, but it has propelled Providence forward in the healthcare industry, eliminated its technical debt and has reduced the administrative burden for its caregivers, so they can focus on providing quality care.

“We couldn’t survive with what we have been doing in the past. We need to drive ourselves to improve performance, financially and operationally” Chao said. Case in point is the use of AI / ML to automate and streamline processes such as accounting, recruiting, and inventory management with Oracle to minimize manual and repetitive tasks, enabling Providence resources to focus on value-added activities.

Sherrie Schaufele, senior director of strategic sourcing at Western Digital, another major account that has standardized on Oracle Fusion Applications for financial, supply chain management, and procurement. These cloud applications help deliver a single source of truth that allows the storage company to identify areas for continuous process improvement, especially in sourcing and approval, that ultimately results in a touchless environment for procurement automation. “There is still too much process time to buy a product. AI can analyze our processes with 20 approvers and recommend how we streamline that” Schaufele said.

In the post-pandemic era when forces like multi-cloud, AI, and cost containment are colliding all at once, the lesson from this year’s Oracle CloudWorld is that no single vendor can call the shots and even the software powerhouse that has dominated a number of markets from database to cloud ERP has to stay resolute in its commitment to driving business value before scoring customer successes.

An ICT manager of one of the largest hospitals in Belgium commented during the conference that it has not made any decision to migrate its legacy ERP to the Cloud. Instead, he is busy writing his own code using Oracle’s low-code Apex tool in order to contain costs. That is music to the ears of Oracle with an extensive portfolio that meets almost any budget or technology requirement of its vast installed base. However, it could still be years before a major account like the one in Brussels starts migrating to Oracle Cloud ERP.

Under no pressure to rush anything, billionaire Ellison agrees with that assessment by saying that “Fusion is still in its early days”.

Exhibit 1 – Pairing Oracle ERP with AI Automation – Examples of Oracle customers running both ERP and AI assist tools

CompanyUse of ERP and AI AssistFunction
7shiftsPlootoAP Automation, AR Automation
7shiftsOracle NetSuite ERPERP Financial
8×8Stampli AP Automation PlatformAP Automation
8×8Oracle NetSuite ERPERP Financial
Accurate BackgroundBilltrust AR AutomationAR Automation
Accurate BackgroundOracle NetSuite ERPERP Financial
Active NetworkDocstar AP AutomationAP Automation
Active NetworkOracle NetSuite ERPERP Financial
Active NetworkArtsyl docAlphaIntelligent Document Processing
AffirmCoupa InvoiceAP Automation
AffirmOracle NetSuite ERPERP Financial
AgilysysAvidXchange AP AutomationAP Automation
AgilysysOracle NetSuite ERPERP Financial
AlationBill.comAP Automation, AR Automation
AlationOracle NetSuite ERPERP Financial
Alkami TechnologySAP Concur InvoiceAP Automation
Alkami TechnologyOracle NetSuite ERPERP Financial
Ansys Inc.Celonis AP AutomationAP Automation
Ansys Inc.Oracle Cloud ERPERP Financial
Ansys Inc.Celonis Execution Management PlatformProcess Mining
Ansys Inc.Microsoft Power Automate RPARobotic Process Automation
AppianTransferMate PlatformAP Automation, AR Automation
AppianOracle NetSuite ERPERP Financial
AppLovinTipalti Invoice Management and Bill Processing SystemAP Automation
AppLovinOracle NetSuite ERPERP Financial
AtlassianOracle Cloud ERPERP Financial
AtlassianWorkatoIntelligent Document Processing
AtlassianUiPath RPA PlatformRobotic Process Automation
AustralianSuperOracle Cloud ERPAP Automation
AustralianSuperOracle Cloud ERPERP Financial
AutomatticTipalti Invoice Management and Bill Processing SystemAP Automation
AutomatticOracle NetSuite ERPERP Financial
AVEVAOracle Cloud ERPAP Automation
AVEVAOracle Cloud ERPAR Automation
AVEVAOracle Cloud ERPERP Financial
AvidXchange, IncOracle NetSuite Accounts PayableAP Automation
AvidXchange, IncOracle NetSuite ERPERP Financial
Babylon HealthIvalua Invoice Processing AutomationAP Automation
Babylon HealthOracle NetSuite ERPERP Financial
BanglalinkOracle Digital AssistantChatbots and Conversational AI
BanglalinkOracle Cloud ERPERP Financial
Bed Bath & BeyondOracle Cloud ERPERP Financial
Bed Bath & BeyondUiPath RPA PlatformRobotic Process Automation
BennetOracle Retail AI Foundation Cloud ServiceAI Inventory Management
BennetOracle Retail Merchandising Cloud ServiceERP Financial
BlackLineTesorio Accounts Receivable AutomationAR Automation
BlackLineOracle NetSuite ERPERP Financial
BlockAppZen AI PlatformCognitive Computing
BlockOracle Cloud ERPERP Financial
BlockUiPath RPA PlatformRobotic Process Automation
Blue Prism, a part of SS&COracle NetSuite ERPERP Financial
Blue Prism, a part of SS&CBlue Prism Robotic Process AutomationRobotic Process Automation
Bournemouth, Christchurch and PooleOracle Cloud ERP Accounts PayableAP Automation
Bournemouth, Christchurch and PooleOracle Cloud ERPERP Financial
Box Inc.Coupa InvoiceAP Automation
Box Inc.Tesorio Accounts Receivable AutomationAR Automation
Box Inc.Oracle NetSuite ERPERP Financial
BrandwatchTipalti Invoice Management and Bill Processing SystemAP Automation
BrandwatchOracle NetSuite ERPERP Financial
Broadridge Financial SolutionsAPRO Invoice AutomationAP Automation
Broadridge Financial SolutionsOracle Cloud ERPERP Financial
Broadridge Financial SolutionsUiPath RPA PlatformRobotic Process Automation
Cafe RioOracle Cloud ERP Accounts PayableAP Automation
Cafe RioOracle Cloud ERPERP Financial
CanvaTipalti Invoice Management and Bill Processing SystemAP Automation
CanvaOracle NetSuite ERPERP Financial
CDK GlobalOracle Integration Cloud ServiceAP Automation
CDK GlobalOracle Cloud ERPERP Financial
CDK GlobalBlue Prism Robotic Process AutomationRobotic Process Automation
CentralSquare TechnologiesCoupa InvoiceAP Automation
CentralSquare TechnologiesOracle NetSuite ERPERP Financial
CentralSquare TechnologiesCoupa InvoiceSmashIntelligent Document Processing
CeridianChrome River InvoiceAP Automation
CeridianOracle NetSuite ERPERP Financial
CheckrBill.comAP Automation, AR Automation
CheckrOracle Cloud ERPERP Financial
CheckrWorkatoIntelligent Document Processing
CisionBasware AP AutomationAP Automation
CisionYayPay by QuadientAR Automation
CisionOracle NetSuite ERPERP Financial
Cloud Software GroupOracle WebCenter Accounts PayableAP Automation
Cloud Software GroupOracle Cloud ERPERP Financial
Constant ContactCoupa InvoiceAP Automation
Constant ContactOracle NetSuite ERPERP Financial
Cornerstone OnDemandCoupa InvoiceAP Automation
Cornerstone OnDemandOracle Cloud ERPERP Financial
CoStar GroupBilltrust AR AutomationAR Automation
CoStar GroupOracle Cloud ERPERP Financial
CventCoupa InvoiceAP Automation
CventOracle Cloud ERPERP Financial
CventMicrosoft Power Automate (ex Flow)Process Mining
DexcomOracle Cloud ERP Accounts PayableAP Automation
DexcomOracle Cloud ERPERP Financial
DexcomOracle E-Business SuiteERP Financial
DexcomOracle E-Business Suite R12ERP Financial
DocuSign, Inc.YayPay by QuadientAR Automation
DocuSign, Inc.Oracle Cloud ERPERP Financial
DocuSign, Inc.Alteryx Analytic Process AutomationIntelligent Document Processing
DomoCoupa InvoiceAP Automation
DomoTesorio Accounts Receivable AutomationAR Automation
DomoOracle NetSuite ERPERP Financial
DropboxOracle Cloud ERPERP Financial
DropboxOracle Intelligent Document RecognitionIntelligent Document Processing
DropboxAlteryx Analytic Process AutomationIntelligent Document Processing
DropboxOracle EPM AutomateRobotic Process Automation
dunnhumbyOracle Cloud ERPERP Financial
dunnhumbyAutomation Anywhere RPARobotic Process Automation
E2openSAP Concur InvoiceAP Automation
E2openOracle NetSuite ERPERP Financial
EdmentumOracle NetSuite ERPERP Financial
EdmentumMicrosoft Power Automate (ex Flow)Process Mining
EntrataCoupa InvoiceAP Automation
EntrataMineralTree Invoice-to-PayAP Automation
EntrataOracle NetSuite ERPERP Financial
EnvestnetSAP Concur InvoiceAP Automation
EnvestnetOracle Cloud ERPERP Financial
EverbridgeTesorio Accounts Receivable AutomationAR Automation
EverbridgeOracle NetSuite ERPERP Financial
Exelon CorporationOracle Mobile Cloud ServiceChatbots and Conversational AI
Exelon CorporationOracle Cloud ERPERP Financial
Exelon CorporationOracle PeopleSoft ERPERP Financial
FedExOracle Digital AssistantERP Financial
FedExOracle Cloud ERPERP Financial
FlexportBill.comAP Automation, AR Automation
FlexportOracle NetSuite ERPERP Financial
ForeScoutCoupa InvoiceAP Automation
ForeScoutOracle Cloud ERPERP Financial
Freshworks (formerly Freshdesk)Auditoria SmartPayAP Automation
Freshworks (formerly Freshdesk)Auditoria SmartCollectionsAR Automation
Freshworks (formerly Freshdesk)Oracle NetSuite ERPERP Financial
GitHubCoupa InvoiceAP Automation
GitHubOracle NetSuite ERPERP Financial
GitHubTipalti Invoice Management and Bill Processing SystemAP Automation
GitHubCoupa InvoiceAP Automation
GitHubOracle NetSuite ERPERP Financial
Global PaymentsSAP Ariba InvoiceAP Automation
Global PaymentsOracle Cloud ERPERP Financial
Global PaymentsUiPath RPA PlatformRobotic Process Automation
GoDaddyWorkday Financial ManagementERP Financial
GoDaddyABBYY FlexiCapture for InvoicesIntelligent Document Processing
GoDaddyUiPath RPA PlatformRobotic Process Automation
GoTo ( formerly LogMeIn, Inc. )YayPay by QuadientAR Automation
GoTo ( formerly LogMeIn, Inc. )Workativ AssistantChatbots and Conversational AI
GoTo ( formerly LogMeIn, Inc. )Oracle NetSuite ERPERP Financial
GoTo ( formerly LogMeIn, Inc. )UiPath RPA PlatformRobotic Process Automation
Guardian Life Ins. Co. of AmericaOracle Digital AssistantChatbots and Conversational AI
Guardian Life Ins. Co. of AmericaOracle Cloud ERPERP Financial
Guardian Life Ins. Co. of AmericaOracle Cloud ERPAccounting Hub
GuidewireCoupa InvoiceAP Automation
GuidewireOracle Cloud ERPERP Financial
GuidewireAutomation Anywhere RPARobotic Process Automation
Herbalife NutritionOracle Cloud ERP Accounts PayableAP Automation
Herbalife NutritionOracle Cloud ERPERP Financial
HighspotBill.comAP Automation, AR Automation
HighspotOracle NetSuite ERPERP Financial
HootsuiteTipalti Invoice Management and Bill Processing SystemAP Automation
HootsuiteOracle NetSuite ERPERP Financial
HubSpotSAP Concur InvoiceAP Automation
HubSpotHubspot Motion AIChatbots and Conversational AI
HubSpotOracle NetSuite ERPERP Financial
Iron MountainOracle Cloud ERPAP Automation
Iron MountainOracle Cloud ERPAR Automation
Iron MountainOracle Cloud ERPERP Financial
JumioTipalti Invoice Management and Bill Processing SystemAP Automation
JumioYayPay by QuadientAR Automation
JumioOracle NetSuite ERPERP Financial
Lovisa Pty LtdOracle Cloud ERPAP Automation
Lovisa Pty LtdOracle Cloud ERPAR Automation
Lovisa Pty LtdOracle Cloud ERPERP Financial
MetaAPRO Invoice AutomationAP Automation
MetaOracle WebCenter Accounts PayableAP Automation
MetaOracle Cloud ERPERP Financial
Monrovia Nursery CompanyOracle Cloud ERPAP Automation
Monrovia Nursery CompanyOracle Cloud ERPAR Automation
Monrovia Nursery CompanyOracle Cloud ERPERP Financial
NextRollTipalti Invoice Management and Bill Processing SystemAP Automation
NextRollOracle NetSuite ERPERP Financial
NN Life JapanOracle Cloud ERPAP Automation
NN Life JapanOracle Cloud ERPERP Financial
Office DepotOracle Cloud ERPAR Automation
Office DepotOracle Cloud ERPERP Financial
ON24, Inc.Coupa InvoiceAP Automation
ON24, Inc.Oracle NetSuite ERPERP Financial
OwnBackupTipalti Invoice Management and Bill Processing SystemAP Automation
OwnBackupOracle NetSuite ERPERP Financial
PG&EOracle Utilities Opower Solar Home Energy ReportsAI Reporting
PG&EOracle’s Customer Care and BillingERP Financial
ProVita International Medical CenterOracle Cloud ERPAP Automation
ProVita International Medical CenterOracle Cloud ERPERP Financial
PTCOracle Cloud ERPERP Financial
PTCIQ BotIntelligent Document Processing
PTCAutomation Anywhere RPARobotic Process Automation
PubMaticTipalti Invoice Management and Bill Processing SystemAP Automation
PubMaticOracle NetSuite ERPERP Financial
RealPageGenpact Cora ARFlowAR Automation
RealPageOracle NetSuite ERPERP Financial
RealPageKofax RPARobotic Process Automation
Rheem Manufacturing CompanyOracle Cloud ERPAP Automation
Rheem Manufacturing CompanyOracle Cloud ERPERP Financial
RingCentralRadiusOne AR SuiteAR Automation
RingCentralOracle NetSuite ERPERP Financial
RubrikBill.comAP Automation, AR Automation
RubrikOracle NetSuite ERPERP Financial
Security Benefit Life InsuranceOracle Cloud ERPAP Automation
Security Benefit Life InsuranceOracle Cloud ERPERP Financial
ShopifyCoupa InvoiceAP Automation
ShopifyOracle NetSuite ERPERP Financial
SmartsheetCoupa InvoiceAP Automation
SmartsheetStripe InvoicingAR Automation
SmartsheetTesorio Accounts Receivable AutomationAR Automation
SmartsheetOracle NetSuite ERPERP Financial
The Kroger CompanyOracle ReceivablesAR Automation
The Kroger CompanyOracle Cloud ERPERP Financial
The Southern CompanyOracle Digital AssistantChatbots and Conversational AI
The Southern CompanyOracle Cloud ERPERP Financial
Upland SoftwareOracle NetSuite ERPERP Financial
Upland SoftwareTerraformRobotic Process Automation
Upstart Holdings, Inc.Tipalti Invoice Management and Bill Processing SystemAP Automation
Upstart Holdings, Inc.Oracle NetSuite ERPERP Financial
UserTestingCoupa InvoiceAP Automation
UserTestingAuditoria SmartPayAP Automation
UserTestingBill.comAP Automation, AR Automation
UserTestingAuditoria SmartCollectionsAR Automation
UserTestingAuditoria SmartBotsChatbots and Conversational AI
UserTestingOracle NetSuite ERPERP Financial
Veeva Systems Inc.Coupa InvoiceAP Automation
Veeva Systems Inc.Tesorio Accounts Receivable AutomationAR Automation
Veeva Systems Inc.Oracle NetSuite ERPERP Financial
WH Smith North AmericaOracle Retail AI Foundation Cloud ServiceAI Inventory Management
WH Smith North AmericaOracle Retail Merchandising Cloud ServiceERP Financial
WP EngineTesorio Accounts Receivable AutomationAR Automation
WP EngineOracle NetSuite ERPERP Financial
ZendeskRadiusOne AR SuiteAR Automation
ZendeskOracle NetSuite ERPERP Financial
ZendeskKlarity IDPIntelligent Document Processing
Zoom Video CommunicationsOracle Cloud ERPERP Financial
Zoom Video CommunicationsAutomation Anywhere RPARobotic Process Automation

Source: Buyer Insight Technographics Database, October 2023