Oracle unveiled nearly a dozen new products and services Monday morning on the second day of Oracle OpenWorld 2017, beefing up some of its cloud application services with new features based on artificial intelligence and introducing a cloud-based blockchain service.
Oracle CEO Mark Hurd kicked off the day with a keynote address — delivered behind a desk that appeared to come straight from a talk show host’s studio — examining the global state of information technology, finding a little time to read “mean tweets” that criticized Oracle’s approach to the cloud computing revolution. Oracle is definitely the type of legacy enterprise software vendor that early adopters of cloud computing loved to tweak, but there’s no doubt Oracle has committed itself to competing against cloud leaders like Amazon Web Services, Microsoft, and Salesforce across multiple categories of cloud services.
“Our strategy is really to build the apps, the platform, and the infrastructure and … make sure we get the apps right first,” Hurd said.
The bulk of Monday’s announcements involved improvements to business management software services, which allow companies to manage their customer relations efforts, organize human resources strategies, and plan for the future.
- New features were added to Oracle Adaptive Intelligent Apps that apply artificial intelligence techniques to services spanning just about every business function, from sales and marketing to finance and human resources.
- Oracle AI Platform Service lets developers working with Oracle’s products create their own AI-powered applications based around Oracle’s deep learning technology.
- Users of Oracle Mobile Cloud have access to new chatbot technology they can use to automate responses to customers through mobile apps.
- Oracle updated its enterprise-resource planning and HR cloud software services with new features like improved recruiting software and streamlined accounting software.
The company also introduced the Oracle Blockchain Cloud Service, which is designed to secure and speed up business transaction processing based around the open-source Hyperledger blockchain technology. It will be fully managed by Oracle, but it’s not clear when the service will be available. IBM offers something similar.
Unlike Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison’s AWS-bashing address Sunday evening, Hurd’s appearance focused more on Oracle’s high-profile customers, bringing up several executives including Randy Furr, CFO of Bloom Energy; Chris Wood, vice president of transformational services at FedEx; and Paul Chapman, executive vice president and chief information officer at Gap Inc., to discuss how they are working with Oracle (perhaps in exchange for a discount). Given that it is playing catch-up in the cloud market across many of its key businesses, Oracle seems to be banking on convincing customers that are just starting to experiment with cloud computing or have yet to make the plunge to continue investing with a company they already understand.