Oracle’s Mark Hurd: Selling a Best-of-Breed Strategy

From the Road

Oracle used to be just a database giant, but now it’s a key player in applications, appliances, servers, development tools, operating systems, even cloud computing. I talked with Oracle President Mark Hurd about how these components gel into a coherent plan for IT customers.

Have a Unifying Strategy

Oracle wants to be a one-stop shop for IT departments, starting with best-of-breed technology at every layer of the IT stack. “We want to work in heterogeneous environments and have a high level of enterprise fit—to be the best at everything we do,” Hurd said. And we line up—engineering to sales—to do that.”

But there’s more. The company is vertically integrating each capability to improve IT performance, building out its industry solutions and developing delivery architectures to suit customers’ needs for cloud or on-premise deployments. “Every move we make, we make with the objective of trying to improve the capability of our technology and our ability to translate that into intellectual property that helps solve customer problems,” Hurd said.

Redefine the Competition

Unlike other major enterprise software companies, Oracle hasn’t built or acquired a services arm. Instead, the company continues to work through some 260,000 Oracle certified professionals and 20,000 consultants. “The fact that we can lean on these partners to extend our ecosystem, that we can train them, we can prepare them, we can certify them — it actually allows us to grow faster and extends our reach in the marketplace,” Hurd said.

Meanwhile, the company wants to “disintermediate” IT services vendors by providing integrated solutions. “Much of what we’re doing now, with things like integrated systems and engineered systems, where we bring the hardware and software and we engineer them together, is we actually engineer out services.”

Keep Working on Customer Relationships

Oracle has to help customers save money and enable them to innovate, Hurd said. Doing so requires a deeper level of engagement and dialogue. So Oracle is adding salespeople and training them to have deep domain knowledge of the products they represent. The company is also developing programs designed to build closer relationships with customers. One example: the Oracle Insight Program, “where we actually align our entire portfolio with our customer’s strategy.”

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