Oracle ditches the hype for a straight talking generative AI approach

Oracle branding pictured on the Oracle offices in Redwood City, California, US, on Monday, May 15, 2023
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Oracle appears keen on cutting generative AI-related hyperbole from its lexicon in favor of a more straight talking approach as the firm targets big gains in the space.

Taking to the stage for Oracle CloudWorld 2024, Doug Kehring, EVP of Oracle’s corporate operations, led the charge on the company’s strategy, championing its purist enterprise focus and taking potshots at a few rivals in the process.

“All we do is enterprise technology,” he said. “We don't build gaming systems, we don't do consumer advertising, and we certainly don't write term papers for your kids.”

With the dizzying hype around generative AI over the last 15 months resulting in a myriad of new product and service announcements from major industry players, Oracle looks set for a more reserved and measured approach to the technology, and is setting its sight on practical AI functionality. 

“We are deeply focused … on delivering [the] most extensive end to end set of technologies to help any organization within any industry automate their business,” Kehring said.  

Oracle said its AI product portfolio is designed with enterprises in mind, geared towards accelerating revenue, improving operational efficiency, and enhancing the quality of user experiences. 

So far, it seems to be doing something right. The company recently topped its quarterly profit estimates and saw cloud revenue jump by 25% alongside a 29% bump in other performance obligations. 

Though it may struggle to compete on a brand level with the likes of Microsoft or AWS at present, it nonetheless boasts a small but promising foothold in the cloud infrastructure market through its offerings.

To Oracle, the key is driving real-world, clearly defined value for any business that uses its products.

“Other vendors may offer similar technologies to Oracle - although I'd argue they're not nearly as good - but that's not enough anymore,” Kehring said.  

“Technology by itself is no longer enough … rather, it's the value that the technology can deliver as part of a broader transformation. That's what matters,” he added.

This is the basis on which Oracle positions itself, helping to clearly generate value through its targeted solutions.

Like the umbrella name of its new AI offerings, Oracle strives for clarity -  “what never goes out of style is to keep it simple, so we went with a name that's easy to remember - Oracle AI,” Kehring said.

What makes Oracle’s new AI attractive to enterprises 

Embedding AI features within Oracle tools "from the ground up" is key to the company’s value proposition moving forward, Kehring said, and it was a concept referred to repeatedly throughout the flurry of announcements at the London conference. 

“AI, for us, is embedded from the start,” he told delegates. The new features unveiled by the company, all of which are united under the roof of Oracle’s existing Oracle Fusion Cloud Applications Suite, have been designed with the overarching mission of improving decision making and enhancing both employee and customer experience.

Oracle will be supporting over fifty generative AI use cases within Oracle Fusion, and, as the company claimed, these features will be integrated within “existing business workflows” spanning finance, supply chain, HR, sales, marketing, and customer services.

It will be plugging AI into four aspects of the Fusion Cloud Application Suite, namely the Cloud Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Cloud Supply Chain and Manufacturing (SCM), Human Capital Management (HCM), and Customer Experience (CX) platforms. 

AI tools within these platforms will serve a huge range of functions, including insight narratives, project proposal generation, negotiation summaries, and job category landing pages, to name only a handful. 

The firm was keen to emphasize that it’s targeting a huge range of enterprise-grade AI use cases across these offerings, firmly underscoring a desire to position itself as the go-to leader in the enterprise cloud market. 

Rajan Krishnan, group vice president at Oracle Product Development, told ITPro the new offerings have been made possible by its existing technology infrastructure, which stands it in good stead for the coming years. 

“We have both vectors, we have the technology side covered, we have the horizontal processes like ERP and HCM covered,” Krishnan said. Similarly, the robust nature of this existing technology stack allows for an ease of roll out in new AI tools. 

“That robust infrastructure allows us to introduce all these things so rapidly, and we are the beneficiaries,” Krishnan said. 

Oracle success is mirrored by its customers

Kehring said Oracle defines its success in the “reflection” of its customer success, and while that has an air of promotional rhetoric about it, it does seem to be the case that Oracle’s new offerings have been a hit with customers thus far. 

Oracle CloudWorld’s billing of speakers was packed end-to-end with customer success stories, all the way from Nokia to the UK’s Department of Work and Pensions (DWP).

These stories helped sing Oracle’s praises in the B2B space, yet further setting the cloud company apart from competition and highlighting a range of tangible success stories. 

“We put your success in the heart of everything we do … and we're really here to serve,” Kehring said. 

George Fitzmaurice
Staff Writer

George Fitzmaurice is a staff writer at ITPro, ChannelPro, and CloudPro, with a particular interest in AI regulation, data legislation, and market development. After graduating from the University of Oxford with a degree in English Language and Literature, he undertook an internship at the New Statesman before starting at ITPro. Outside of the office, George is both an aspiring musician and an avid reader.