Oracle’s ‘Box of Chocolates’


It’s hard to see how Oracle’s recent layoffs, especially those in the CX business would not benefit the larger CRM vendor space. There is nothing definitive here other than less spending and less labor chasing the same number of deals. Other vendors like Salesforce will naturally move to fill any vacuum created by the news.

The word news is important here because at this point in the market’s life, there is an abundance of product, even from Oracle, to satisfy demand. Anyone contemplating Oracle CX this week has the same options as the week or month before. Still, the news might unsettle some people.

However, balance that with possible layoffs and general contraction in the market if a real, live recession takes hold and you could come away with the idea that Oracle’s move was early but not out of place.

Rebalancing Act

A greater concern that I have is where Oracle is rebalancing to. Its recent $28.3 billion acquisition of health care software provider Cerner does not scream “invest here for sure returns” to me.

Cerner has been around a long time and was an up and comer when I began my tech career in health care. Back in the 1980s, health care organizations, save for those close to the financial and insurance ends of the business, were starved for resources.

You might not know it, but every department such as labs and radiology depend on specialized applications to process samples, make appointments, and collect billing information to send to the financial systems. The finance guys used expensive mainframes because, hey, they were collecting money.

As the poor children of the relatively rich health care IT complex, the labs and others adopted mini-computers and wrote their own software. A lot of that software has been relentlessly patched and augmented to keep up with the times. Yet one idiosyncrasy that stands out is those apps today function like a walled garden.

My Two Bits

I am sure that Oracle has run a few dozen spreadsheets to figure out how to integrate with Cerner, what to work on and what to leave alone. Nevertheless, my instincts tell me that it’s a big job and that it will consume many billable hours. My instincts also tell that of all the vertical industries for Oracle to go after, health care would be rock bottom on my list.

There’s no way to tell how all this will play out. The Cerner acquisition might turn out to be pure genius. If that comes to pass, I’ll praise it. But right now, I see a Gumpian box of chocolates, and what I notice acutely are the missing jobs and resources in CX.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ECT News Network.
Denis Pombriant

Denis Pombriant is a well-known CRM industry analyst, strategist, writer and speaker. His new book, You Can't Buy Customer Loyalty, But You Can Earn It, is now available on Amazon. His 2015 book, Solve for the Customer, is also available there. Email Denis.

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