After spending nearly two decades working for Oracle and attending many Open World events in San Francisco, it was very interesting for me to see the changes and style of this year’s Oracle OpenWorld in London (OOW) particularly the keynote by Safra Catz (CEO), it felt like a marked difference to how I remembered it.

There was no mention of competitors and the whole presentation felt less antagonistic, more conciliatory. Whilst Ms. Catz spoke at length about the capabilities of Oracle’s AI-enabled systems and ‘second generation cloud’, it appeared that her speech was intended to align Oracle’s own understanding of change with that which their customers are currently experiencing in the digital enterprise.

The second theme running through the keynote, perhaps unsurprisingly, was that of data – particularly the use of AI and machine learning throughout the enterprise. Ms. Catz mentioned how Oracle had previously faced siloed systems and fragmented data but has since brought its “true assets” together and been able to stop duplicating effort and now take advantage of the data it holds throughout the entire stack.

Ms. Catz’s keynote felt like a deliberate change in tone for Oracle. And, from my perspective, it’s a welcome one. Whilst Oracle’s keynotes – particularly Larry Ellison’s – can be a lot of fun and keep you on your toes, I think it’s smart that Oracle is aligning itself with solving the challenges their customers face. I think such a message will resonate more widely with its customer base.

Much of the product themes throughout the session were similar to those heard last year, which I expected. However, it does seem that Oracle has recognised that business (and the world more broadly) has changed and customers have different and changing expectations.

My viewpoint is that Oracle’s AI strategy can be defined as having three pillars:

  1. AI-embedded apps, which are functional solutions that drive up recommendations (smart actions). They typically take first party application data and merge it with third party data, feeding that into predictive
  2. Oracle also has a focus on AI UX, which aims to move the enterprise away from a ‘one size fits all user experience’ to one that is personalised and optimised for each
  3. Finally, Oracle is investing in digital assistants. Because both smart actions and AI UX are exposed as REST services, any of it, if appropriate, can be surfaced as a digital

The focus on digital assistants, conversational user interfaces and better, modern, intuitive UI’s is a huge focus and growth area for Oracle, and it was clear they see their partners as playing a continuing and integral role in this growth.

“Who has not used WhatsApp or received a Siri recommendation today? The internet is changing and how can your business be part of this next wave?”

-Quote from Oracle OpenWorld CX Chatbot session

“Conversational AI interfaces from chatbots and digital assistants to voice interaction are being broadly implemented to simplify processes, employee, and brand dialogues across industries and business models. First movers show that the effortlessness of digital tools and company engagement directly impacts customer stickiness, price elasticity, advocacy, and organisational devotion.

As consumers we like to speak or text to move our errands forward, be proactively engaged at the right moment, speed up the time to value, and extend our insight on the fly to make us perform on an even higher level.

These increased expectations bring the topic of game changing interfaces on the agenda. But how to master conceptual and technical challenges for our organisation? What to do when we discover our competition has a WhatsApp “homepage” to simplify doing business – and we didn’t even know this was possible.”

Article written by Peter Silvester, Fishbowl Solutions’ EMEA Sales Manager

Want to learn more about the content at Oracle OpenWorld London? Download the presentations and rewatch the keynotes at the links below.

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