Juergen Lindner is Oracle’s senior vice-president of marketing for SaaS, focusing on enterprise resource planning (ERP), enterprise performance management (EPM) and supply chain management (SCM). He is responsible globally for SaaS thought leadership, go-to-market strategy, and sales enablement. In his opinion, finance and supply chains are at the core of any business and these two have been disrupted the most recently. “Through the crisis, we acted as a trusted advisor and engaged with our customers in conversations pertaining to their unique business issues. This explains our head start in FY21 with 33% y-o-y growth in ERP cloud,” he tells Sudhir Chowdhary in a recent interview.Excerpts:
How do you see the transformation in ERP driving transformation in the businesses? The pandemic has been a learning experience. It brought business processes like finance to the forefront of digitalisation. The C-Suite executives started talking about working remotely and to enable the workforce to face every eventuality— in terms of recovery from the pandemic. The depth of its impact is distinct for each sector. Some sectors fared better; some were devastated while the essential services even witnessed acceleration. We donned the role of a trusted advisor and engaged with our customers in conversations pertaining to their unique business issues. This explains our headstart in FY21 with 33% y-o-y growth in ERP cloud. We saw a lot more go-lives than we expected. Companies in the supply chain sector such as DHL and FedEx were prepared to offer services in remote locations and for catering to home orders, that resulted in tremendous success for them.
Can you give us some examples where customers managed to adapt quickly to the new normal? During the pandemic, Omega Healthcare decided to partner with us as we could provide them a single cloud platform, as opposed to the legacy European HCM system they were using. That is where we stand better in the competition with SAP. Once customers compare the offerings, they see Oracle as a better choice in the long run with our complete suite. We implemented ERP Cloud for Cactus Communications in just 10 weeks, helping its team save 20% of its time on procurement. Save The Children can check and monitor expenditure against available funds and Safe Express has been able to reduce its delivery to the collection cycle by five days. These are just some of the powerful India examples of Oracle adding value to its customer’s businesses.
How is Oracle positioning itself to take more market share in ERP? Every quarter we are unlocking new functionalities not just for the industries where we have a very stable core system, but also to gain access to newer industries. We are increasingly seeing fantastic growth in the higher education sector and the oil and gas industry. We have a proven success of 7,300 Cloud ERP customers. There is no other vendor right now with a complete suite of services for every line of business. It is the holistic cloud revenue streams that we are aiming for.
How do you think that Oracle has an edge over competition? We are extremely flexible in our pricing. The foresight with which we have architected the complete suite of applications over the last decade gives us a tremendous advantage. Our customers can start from anywhere, but they will never come to a screeching dead-end in the relationship with us. It is also very cost-effective for them as they do not have to resort to expensive data warehouses bridging mechanisms. Over time, we train the system constantly with tons of features into our standard application offerings. This ability allows us to be extremely visionary with relentless automation so that we can liberate functions towards value add versus mundanity of transactional type of interactions.
What are the top trends you are observing globally and in India? With the pandemic, we are seeing businesses increasingly evaluating effective gains of intelligent automation—and not just simple RPA— detecting inefficiencies that the system over time can weed out by itself. Another trend that we are looking at is the ability to have an intelligent conversation with ERP versus static user data entry and retrieving tools. The system needs to become predictive and automated as much as possible so that our customers can focus on business model innovation.
How is Oracle helping its customers to navigate through tough times in taking data driven decisions and what does it mean for businesses? Through the crisis, we acted as a business partner. We looked at the financial hardships and for the first time offered certain Oracle solutions for free. We helped our customers to shift their business models. We offered a very seamless orchestration between the configuration of the service and customer experiences, between revenue streams and financial systems and supply chains. Customers today realise that their data needs to flow seamlessly between applications within one suite, with embedded analytics. This allows having predictive features as part of the platform and gives the advantage to redo the scenario model to all those things that our customers need to survive right now and for the next chapter of their growth.