For Larry Ellison and Oracle, ‘Cloud’ Is the Word

Oracle's Executive Chairman and Chief Technology Officer Larry Ellison kicked off Oracle OpenWorld 2014 in San Francisco with a rallying cry that put cloud computing front and center in the business software giant's technology portfolio.

Ellison's public appearance at the conference was his first since he stepped down earlier this month as CEO of the company he founded, turning over CEO duties to Presidents Mark Hurd and Safra Catz.

The new CTO said this year represents "a turning point" for the company, particularly in terms of its cloud business.

3 Layers of Cloud Services

In his keynote, Ellison said Oracle realized it would have to provide three layers of cloud services: software as a service (SaaS); platform as a service (PaaS); and infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS). "We had no choice. We had to deliver SaaS, PaaS and infrastructure-as-a-service together because of a promise we made to our customers 30 years ago," Ellison noted.

When it comes to SaaS, Oracle has "the largest portfolio of applications in the cloud of anybody," according to Ellison. He added that Oracle is also making major inroads in customer experience apps, including customer relationship management and sales functionality.

Additionally, Oracle's human capital management suite is a leader in the industry, because "our HCM is tightly coupled with our social tools," he said. Ellison also focused on the work the company has done moving its enterprise resource planning apps to the cloud. "We are the first mover in this space, and we are continually adding products," he said.

Not letting an opportunity pass to make a dig at Oracle's competitors, including Salesforce and SAP, Ellison claimed that none of its rivals offered platforms to extend their SaaS applications. In fact, he said that most of Oracle's SaaS competitors don't have any platforms at all. "If you want to extend [their] application, you press a...

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