We are in a highly disruptive time in the world of commerce technology. Consumers are interacting in increasingly unique ways empowered with ubiquitous Internet connectivity with fun and easy to use interfaces and tools. Their expectations are impacting how companies market, manage their supply chains, organize, and measure the business. The needs of “the platform” seem to evolve from one week to the next. What we used to call eCommerce Platforms are now not only powering webistes, but also mobile sites, mobile apps, call centers, and in-store or in-branch interfaces that both customers and staff are using – sometimes together.
But there is an even more fundamental change about to occur – the agile commerce platform. The agile commerce platform will expose commerce as a service (CaaS) to support all touchpoints with customers. A services enabled platform which will enable eBusiness & Channel Strategy leaders to drive differentiation, respond to changing customer expectations, and enable creative business relationships to support business adaptation and facilitate growth*. Commerce solution providers from across the map are building CaaS solutions.
After three days of cloudwashing, cloud-in-a-box and erector set private cloud musings at Oracle OpenWorld in San Francisco this week, CEO Larry Ellison chose day four to take the wraps off a legitimate move into cloud computing.
Oracle Public Cloud is the unification of the company's long-struggling software-as-a-service (SaaS) portfolio with its Fusion applications transformation, all atop Oracle VM and Sun hardware. While Ellison spent much of his keynote taking pot shots at his former sales executive and now SaaS nemesis, Salesforce CEO Mark Benioff, the actual solution being delivered is more of a direct competitor to Amazon Web Services than Force.com. The strongest evidence is in Oracle's stance on multitenancy. Ellison adamantly shunned a tenancy model built on shared data stores and application models, which are key to the profitability of Salesforce.com (and most true SaaS and PaaS solutions), stating that security comes only through application and database isolation and tenancy through the hypervisor. Oracle will no doubt use its own Xen-based hypervisor, OracleVM rather than the enterprise standard VMware vSphere, but converting images between these platforms is quickly proving trivial.
It was only about a year ago when Larry Ellison was confusing the OpenWorld audience with the “cloud in a box” approach, and only a very few CIOs managed to turn a large Oracle landscape into a real private cloud based on an opex model to their business units. But a lot has changed since last year.