Oracle’s declaration of a march to the cloud will have escaped nobody in the IT market. The supplier started 2017 at a cloud event in New York, with reports of a new wave of customer take-up of its cloud offerings, and the announcement of some new datacentres to support its cloud push.

At a recent customer conference in London, “Modern Business Experience”, Oracle executives briefed Computer Weekly on how they believe the company’s cloud business is shaping up. They presented a picture of the supplier’s cloud delivery becoming at once more comprehensive, with corporate IT being re-enlisted as a stakeholder alongside lines of business, and more inclusive of small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

Laura Ipsen, general manager and senior vice-president of Oracle Marketing Cloud, has a CV that includes senior executive roles at Microsoft, in its worldwide public sector organisation. She has also worked for Cisco, as general manager of its Connected Energy Networks business, as well as at Oracle.

She is six months into her current position, leading the supplier’s marketing cloud business, which includes marketing automation system Eloqua, and is mainly pitched at chief marketing officers. However, she said corporate IT is coming into the picture more now that cloud-delivered marketing software is maturing beyond the putting in point systems at a departmental level.

“Corporate IT is important, alongside the marketers, because while the latter are wielding massive budgets – oftentimes more than the CIO – the expectation of RoI [return on investment] is very high, and marketers have woken up to not having enough IT budget to do what they want to do,” said Ipsen.

“They need to work hand in hand with IT. There was a time, about three years ago, when marketers were saying: ‘you go your way, I’ll go mine’. But data privacy, scalability, difficulties in implementation, integrations, and so on mean that is not realistic. We find that the companies that are furthest along do have that partnership.

“It is partly about de-risking the projects. But it is not just about security and privacy, it’s about business context and value, and the CIOs are aware of that too,” she said.

Ipsen gave the example of Vodafone’s implementation of Eloqua in 20 countries. “That requires IT support. My dream customer would be an implementer of Marketing Cloud, doing the whole stack and connecting to ERP and HCM – especially with respect to predictive analytics.”

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