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What the enterprise cloud really means

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For years people like me have carped that not only is the public cloud a small slice of IT spending, but the big public clouds are also much more likely to attract startups or other digital natives as customers instead of conventional enterprises.

That begs an important question: What then exactly is the “enterprise cloud”? Recently I interviewed Bob Weiler, executive vice president of global business units at Oracle, to drill into that topic. As head of Oracle Industries, it’s his job to marshal Oracle’s full portfolio of technologies to serve seven key verticals — and Oracle’s cloud is a big part of that push.

When Oracle says “cloud,” one of the first things to remember is that most of the company’s cloud revenue comes from SaaS, despite Larry Ellison’s big talk about going head-to-head against AWS in full-on IaaS combat. SaaS makes particular sense in serving vertical industries. Through acquisition and internal development, Oracle has acquired the expertise to serve, say, the utilities or pharmaceutical or financial services industries through vertical SaaS applications.

Weiler says that Oracle’s most successful acquisitions have been vertical vendors that began life as SaaS plays:

Our clinical trial business has been SaaS for over six years. The company we bought, Phase Forward, was SaaS since 2001 … We’re seeing our utilities business acquire a company named Opower. We acquired a company in construction and engineering, Textura. All of these products that we’ve bought are all 100 percent SaaS … Our big opportunity that we’re seeing dramatic growth in is hospitality. What better place to have a cloud environment than in food and beverage or a hotel that traditionally [has a server] sitting in a closet? Now the whole thing can be run in a cloud.

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