On this episode of The Six Five – Insiders Edition Patrick Moorhead and I are joined by Steve Miranda and TK Anand from Oracle for a conversation around innovation for AI driven analytics. It was an awesome conversation and one you should definitely check out.
Chatting Innovation For AI Driven Analytics
Our conversation with Steve and TK also revolved around the following:
- Modernization of the supply chain
- What separates Oracle Cloud Fusion updates from the rest
- The analytics advancements Oracle is making
- What we can anticipate from oracle’s event in November
Watch our interview with Steve and TK here:
Listen on your favorite streaming platform here:
Disclaimer: The Six Five Insiders Webcast is for information and entertainment purposes only. Over the course of this webcast, we may talk about companies that are publicly traded and we may even reference that fact and their equity share price, but please do not take anything that we say as a recommendation about what you should do with your investment dollars. We are not investment advisors and we do not ask that you treat us as such.
Daniel Newman: Hey everybody. Welcome to this edition of the Six Five Podcast: Insider’s Edition. I’m your host, Daniel Newman, principal analyst, founding partner at Futurum Research joined by my always esteemed, always clever co-host, Mr. Patrick Moorhead. More Insights and Strategy. It’s Monday, following the F1 races where we were hosted by our friends at Oracle which we will now turn around and be hosting here on the Six Five Podcast: Insider Edition.
Patrick Moorhead: How about this goes both ways. No, it was an incredible experience, and not only did Oracle team win and that’s team Red Bull, but my team won. And yes, I did like Red Bull before they started winning. Just to get that out there for the fair-weather F1 fans. But no, there is literally nothing that I would prefer to do other than to pod, Daniel. We pod on Fridays, we pod on every day and we’re podding today on Monday. So super excited.
Daniel Newman: Yeah. Well, it’s Monday, October 25th and we are getting out in front of an upcoming Oracle Live event called Connector Enterprise with AI Driven Analytics. And we’re really excited to host Steve Miranda and T.K. Anand from Oracle.
Now, before they join the show, Pat, we do have to do our little itty bitty disclaimer for the Six Five Podcast Insider’s Edition. First of all, this edition is being brought to you in part by Oracle. And this show is for information and entertainment purposes only. So while we will be talking about and to executives of publicly traded companies, please do not take anything we say as investment advice. Pat, super excited to welcome our guests, Steve Miranda and T.K. Anand.
Patrick Moorhead: Welcome gentlemen.
T.K. Anand: Hi guys.
Steve Miranda: Dan, Pat, how are you?
Patrick Moorhead: Great, great. It just seems like fair play. You invite me to Red Bull and we invite you to a podcast. Not necessarily the same, but hey, it counts. Yeah.
Steve Miranda: We have a tough act to follow, but we’ll see if we can be as exciting as that F1 race.
Daniel Newman: Yeah.
Patrick Moorhead: Even if you’re not a fan, and I am a fan, but even if you’re not, there’s just no way you can go there. We were in the booths and just watching those cars, the speed, the intensity, the sound, it just sends a chill through you. And then, of course, if you’re kind of a geek, all the data and sensors that those cars are putting off now and all the technology and those racks and those booths full of techno people doing all kinds of real time analysis. Changing tires, just for single conditions, because one degree could make the biggest difference in winning and losing.
And by the way, your team seemed to have all the right moves. And we could do the whole episode on this, but Steve and T.K., we got a lot to cover today. We’re excited about your upcoming Oracle Live event. We wanted to use this time with you to talk a little bit about some of the trends and some of the things that are going on in analytics and AI, and then set up the event so that hopefully many people will attend and hear all the changes. But I guess just to start off, can I ask you both to do a quick introduction? And Steve, I’ll just start with you.
Steve Miranda: Sure. I’m the Steve Miranda, I’m the Executive Vice President. I’m responsible for our applications development. So all the apps development, or our horizontal applications, both traditional on-premise applications, E-Business Suite, PeopleSoft, JD Edwards, et cetera. But over the last decade, plus our cloud based applications, our SaaS applications, notably Fusion applications, but really the entire suite of applications that we have.
T.K. Anand: Yeah. Daniel and Patrick, thanks for having me here. I’m T.K. Anand, the Senior Vice President for Analytics Product Development at Oracle. I look after our analytics product portfolio across both platforms and applications. So we offer platforms for customers to build rich analytics solutions in the Oracle Cloud. And we also offer analytics products that are optimized for our Fusion and NetSuite business applications.
Patrick Moorhead: Excellent. Thanks guys. So why don’t we just jump right in here, and Steve, I want to direct this first one to you. So it’s obvious the past year, past 18 months, brought an incredible amount of challenges to supply chain disruption, the labor shortages, I mean, general pandemonium everywhere. And as we sit here still with a ton of ships still sitting in multiple ports, still restaurants not opening due to labor shortages and even factories. So I’ve listened to you talk a lot about modernizing and innovation at speed in the past. I want to ask you, how do these things tie together and what are some of the bigger trends that you’re seeing?
Steve Miranda: Sure. So what we’re seeing as far as trends, is probably what we are all experiencing as consumers in some way, shape or form. We just see it from our lens of providing services on behalf of our customers. You mentioned the first one, which is notable, which gets a lot of headlines today, which is supply chain disruption. And this really started early on in the pandemic where certain countries, or certain parts of countries, were shut down for periods of time and really brought into question, the old notion manufacturers or healthcare operations, or even niche industries had, of well let’s source our supply in one part of the world, most likely East and let’s ship to and then distribute in the West.
All of a sudden you start to break down supply chains and then things like transportation planning to become a lot more important. Things like backup plans, warehousing plans become more important, in terms of inventory, you want to have on hand for potential disruptions. A whole host of things that we really assist our customers in doing through our ERP and supply chain manufacturing products, but got brought into a lot more pressure because of these disruptions. And on a go forward basis, it’s really became something where I don’t think anybody’s standing pat, where they’re going to say, “Well, we understand where the world is going and how things are going to work.” Instead, they’re planning for disruptions and they’re planning for some of the uncertainties we saw over the last year. So that’s been one dynamic.
A second dynamic. It’s interesting, the headlines are this… Some people call it a labor shortage or a great resignation. We’ve actually seen really two parts of this puzzle. One where you have this churn in terms of people adjusting from work from home, allowing them to have different choices.
And so some organizations, some of our customers, have had a retraining plan for their existing employees, as well as a heavy recruitment plan to replace employees who have moved on. However, we also saw as a opposite of the great resignation, organizations that though they had to ramp down early in the pandemic are now ramping up at a scale that was really unprecedented for them. So, in particularly hospitality industries, where as the United States starts to open back up and this pent up demand for travel. All of a sudden those organizations, again, were challenged with recruiting and rapid training for employee onboarding. And so again, our HR system has really taken a huge part of that.
And then finally, with our customer experience applications, again, what we’ve all experienced personally, a lot more digital engagement with customers. Not only from advertising and marketing, but actually to the selling process. And though lots of us did e-commerce before the pandemic, now dealing with having delivery services, having pick up at the curb services, just entirely new ways of dealing with customer. Again, it’s front and center, and most organizations aren’t thinking about that as a pandemic type of situation, but rather a new reality and knowing how to deal with constant change and disruption and being that digital service has become mission critical.
Daniel Newman: It’s a lot of ground to cover, Steve. And just listening to you, one of the things I like that you pointed out, is the media’s picked up the hype over the last month or two about the supply chain, but this isn’t at actually a new problem. Companies that have been operating throughout this pandemic, in retail, in technology… We’ve been talking about this for many, many months, and by the way, this was set up directionally, Pat, you and I, going back to the early parts of 2020 and even 2019, when remember when you and I talked about semiconductors will eat the world. First time, we said, it’s not software eats the world, it’s semiconductors, because what do you going to run your software on? And the point was is then the pandemic just… It was like pouring gasoline on fire and that’s a symptom. It could be that, it could be the resin to get enough paint, or the metal to get enough cans to put your paint in. And these are all different things all happening on a converged basis, creating challenges all over the place.
Steve, I got another for you, and T.K., I want you to hang in there because we’re going to go Steve heavy early, and then we’re going to go T.K. You’re going to be taking us out of the show. So everybody that’s waiting to hear from you, just wait a little longer, we’ll get there.
I want to talk about competition, Steve. Cloud applications is a very, very competitive market. Incredibly competitive would be maybe the words I would even use. What do you think separates Oracle Fusion Cloud applications from all of the competition right now?
Steve Miranda: Well, a few fundamentals. So first off I kind of touched on it on the opening. We have an ERP suite of… An HCM suite as well as a CX. And it’s one integrated suite of product allowing you end to end. And so what’s happened, is as information and quick decision making becomes much more at the forefront because of these rapid changes, having a complete set of information your fingertips is really key. And we are uniquely positioned as the most complete suite of SaaS applications on the market, as well as depth in individual areas.
Second is technology. So we happen to be the only SaaS application vendor that’s also in the technology business. And so what we did there, is we leverage improvements we make in the database at the operating system level at our hardware and semiconductor level, to provide not only the most reliable, the fastest, but also bring forward technical features like machine learning and artificial and intelligence to make the products even better faster.
Then there’s that speed of innovation. We’re very fortunate to have a tremendous investment amount in the applications overall, but also now with our SaaS quarterly release process and our large customer base, we’re able to release hundreds of features in every product every quarter.
And then finally, probably what we’re most proud of, and what probably doesn’t get talked about enough, is our extreme focus on our customers. And so if you follow us at all, our last several events, and you’ll see an upcoming Oracle Live event, it’s really highlighting customer success and how our be… Through the SaaS and through the cloud applications, we’re able to get much closer to customer implementations, guide them more, get more direct feedback for us to improve the products, and ultimately, what we’re trying to showcase at every event that we’ve been doing for the last several years, is our customer success and that customer focus we believe really distinguishes us from some of our competitors, especially in the results of getting customer successful very, very quickly.
Patrick Moorhead: Yeah, Steve, those are some great comments. And quite frankly, when I see feedback from enterprises, your approach is resonating, just to put it bluntly. And, at least from my market point of view, it’s where everybody’s headed. Sitting on your own competitive IAAS, being able to connect all of the data, making it simple. It seems to be the mantra, right now. One off siloed products are tending to go away for… Not go away, but become less vogue for obvious reasons.
So I do want to talk to you about acceleration and the rate of change. We talked a lot of challenges and headwinds in the business world right now driven by a lot more than COVID, maybe exasperated by COVID, but there are second and third order impacts to that. I’m curious, how are you helping customers outpace their change, maybe even get ahead of it?
Steve Miranda: Right. Well, I mean, you kind of alluded to it earlier that in some ways this theme was there before the pandemic and just maybe accelerated now with different dimensions on it. And I would completely agree with you. So just some examples in a different areas.
In our HCM space, we were extremely proud that we were able to deploy, to all of our customers, a health and safety app, which allowed them to track their employees or potentially their customers, early in the pandemic, for who was healthy and what the health rates, who was coming into the office. And we deployed that at no cost and continue to deploy at no cost to our customers for that tracking. In short order, we’ve also added a journey’s applications, which now as the United States starts to come back to work and there’s different at requirements around vaccines or different requirements which you have to show proof of to be in the office, or perhaps travel. Again, allowing customers to configure an application today, quickly, a configured journey particular to their state which allows to track things like that.
But then we’ve also added things non pandemic related, which it really heightened during the pandemic, which is skills. So the ability to have artificial intelligence, in your both recruiting, but also external recruiting, but also your internal recruiting and match employee skills to positions you have available. Which always been an issue, but as you mentioned earlier, really heightened during this, whether you would call it the great resignation or this churn of people.
Obviously, we touched on AI a bit, and supply chain is where that’s really taking hold. Supply chain planning, while always important, now bringing in aspects that were, frankly, taken for granted before in terms of availability and single source of truth, and also transportation. I think Pat may have mentioned it, you have these ships sitting at the dock. Well all of a sudden things that were taken for granted, in terms of transportation planning, the pros and cons really come to the fore and our transportation planning capabilities and AI added to that being critical.
CX advertising. Having that full end to end digital experience from advertising on through the sales process, through the fulfillment up process, and then through service. All digital, all tracking your customer, in ways that you and I, as a consumer, fully expect. Again, this notion of, “I order it and I go in to pick it up.” We kind of talked about that as an example before, that’s how we’re all living now in different ways, shapes or forms, this digital assistant.
And then all underlying everything, quick decision making. And that’s really the thrust of our latest push to the market is artificial intelligence and decision making and around business intelligence. And I’ll leave that there for now because T.K. will tell you much more about that coming up soon.
Daniel Newman: And that’s a great setup for us to sort of pivot, as I promised everybody that we would take the conversation from Steve to T.K. And Steve, great job and we’ll kind of maybe circle back to you at the end when we talk a little more about the event with you and T.K.
But yeah, we’re really interested in this. And I think the thing that maybe interests me the most is just what you really just spoke to, Steve, is this East to West of applications, right? That it’s not about one thing. It’s not ERP or CRM or CX or HCM. It really is about how do we integrate all these things. It’s funny at a philosophical level, we all talk about digital transformation or digital change, or the innovation of the enterprise. And we talk about it very holistically. But then when we talk about products, and Pat you and I talk about this with analysts all the time, it’s like, “Oh well, you’re the storage guy and you’re the ERP person.” And it’s like, well, that’s not really how companies think. They think across all these technologies and how they ultimately deliver an outcome.
And so one of the things, T.K., I’ve loved over the last couple years in working with Oracle has been the consistency that you’ve been updating your products on the software and technology side. It’s just so critical that the markets are regularly being communicated, with both the press and the media, but more importantly, your customers and you guys have been all over that. So now you’re getting to AI and analytics even further and deeper and I want to hear more about this. So you’ve been aggressively working on this, aggressively updating, you’ve been increasing your focus here. Talk about some of these advancements. And then of course, can you tease anything out about this upcoming event?
T.K. Anand: Yeah, sure thing. Our mission with Oracle Analytics is to help organizations achieve business transformation through the power of data, by turning data into insights and insights into action. But most organizations fall short of this vision for a data driven culture, for one simple reason. Analytics is just too hard and inaccessible for their broad population of business users. It’s typically reserved for a small population of developers or data scientists or data analysts who hold the keys to the most valuable asset, arguably, in your organization, which is data.
So at Oracle, what we want to do is solve this problem by leveraging AI to deliver analytics directly to the business user, whenever they need it, and within the applications and experiences that they’re accustomed to that Steve was talking about. So we’re leading, I think in the industry, in this era of what we call augmented analytics. We use machine learning algorithms to analyze your data. We offer you business insights with no technical effort on the part of the business user.
Let’s say you’re having a problem with employee attrition in your team. You’re not quite sure how to go about identifying the root cause. Well, we’ll have algorithms do the hard work of going through your data and give you candidate insights that could serve as a starting point in your quest to find a solution. To give you another example. We’re using the combined power of digital assistance, [natural] language, voice, and mobile, to give business users access to data and analytics at their fingertips. You can now speak into your phone and ask a business question and we’ll respond with KPIs and metrics, charts, and dashboards. Even natural language narratives that’ll tell you what’s happening in your business. So this is kind of some of the exciting things that we’re working on.
Patrick Moorhead: Yeah. I’ll tell you what, T.K., I’d love to be able to… I’m a small business owner, not in your target market. But I’d love to say, “Please tell me where I am with AR and AP.” I would spend a lot of… Maybe I’m more of a NetSuite customer.
So analytics and AI are obviously important and becoming even more important. And I’m curious, we’ve seen big acquisitions in this space, but sometimes it’s hard to tell the differentiation because in a way, a lot of people are using similar words. Everybody’s talking digital transformation, everybody’s talking and their algorithms are better. I’m curious, how do you differentiate your approach to analytics?
T.K. Anand: Yeah, it’s a very crowded market, a lot of vendors talking about digital transformation and analytics and lots of, like you said, a lot of acquisitions happening in the space. But at Oracle we believe in organic growth, true product innovation, and obsession towards our customers success. So let me talk to you about some of our unique perspectives into the analytics space.
First of all, Oracle is the only full stack enterprise cloud vendor in the industry. We have a PlanetScale cloud platform and infrastructure offering, what we call OCI. And that includes, industry leading technologies like the autonomous database. And then on top of OCI, we’ve got a rich suite of SaaS business applications, like Fusion, what Steve was talking about. We’ve got NetSuite and we have a rich set of industry vertical applications. So our strategy with analytics is to fully exploit this enterprise cloud stack. So our analytics products take full advantage of the rich data warehouse, data lake, AI and machine learning capabilities in OCI.
And the SaaS business applications, as Steve was talking about, they give us incredible knowledge about our customer’s business processes, workflows, and data and we’re able to exploit that knowledge to offer analytics that is purpose built for individual business functions, such as HR or finance or operations, sales and marketing. On top of that, we can embed these analytics right within the business applications that Steve was talking about. Right within the experiences and workflows so that business users can just find the information right where they spend all of their time. So I think that’s what makes us unique.
Patrick Moorhead: Yeah. It’s funny this came up with my discussion with Steve. I almost repeated what you said in having a really strong IAAS to sit on, and a particular OCI gen too, where to be honest with you signed up… You brought out some customers that were pretty shocking because there are some cloud native customers who came in there. I think there’s nobody denying how good the platform is today. And the fact that you get your hands dirty a little bit with data and data management, where potentially other SaaS vendors, they’re hiring out to either an Azure or hiring out to an AWS, they’re always going to be beholden to that vendor. And the way that I see this, where the puck is going, is to have that full stack. Not only the East to West stack that Daniel was talking about, but this North, South, as it relates to how these services get provided.
T.K. Anand: Absolutely.
Daniel Newman: Yeah. I tend to look at what you’re basically saying, and you’re cutting it across. It’s cross section of vertical. It’s a cross section of horizontal. You’re going up and down the technology stack. You’re going wide across the different horizontal, or sort of what I’d call role-based persona needs. And then, of course, you verticalize it. So you kind of take that trifecta and you say, this is really where the enterprise software narrative is going. Overwhelmingly across the competition landscape, you’re hearing more for financial services, for retail, for healthcare. And so then, of course, it becomes differentiated on what’s a veneer and what goes deeper. What is able to take that deep analytics, all that data. And of course, I don’t want to quote the exact number with more than 400,000 long term customers, you have a wealth of data, and I’m always interested in how you can put that data to good use.
Now, I want to put our conversation to good use, for just a minute here, because this was all about your upcoming event. And so I want to circle back. T.K., I want to start with you. Maybe Steve, you can wrap it up. But you guys have one of these updates, the Oracle Live series, it’s Connect Your Enterprise with AI Driven Analytics. So that’s kind of where we’ve taken this show. We started broad. We narrowed it down more and more, but this is your big event. It’s a week out. So we’re doing a little last minute. A week in COVID life was like a year, but a week now that we’re moving around again, it’s like a week. And I see the title, it’s all about AI powered analytics, so give me the run down T.K. Tell us what’s hot, what are you going to dive into, and do the little sell here. All the people that are listening to this show right now need to click the link, go sign up, why?
T.K. Anand: You’re going to see at the event, a lot of the things that Steve and I touched upon here in this conversation. The event is kind of interestingly, sort of follows a similar a format to actually this conversation. So Steve’s going to be sharing his insights and the value of connecting back office systems like HR and finance and operations with front office marketing and sales and service systems. And I’ll talk about how analytics can connect all of these business functions within an enterprise with a powerful and extensible system of insight. That’s what it’s all about. So I think it’s going to be a great event.
Steve Miranda: And I’ll just add, Dan and Pat, we’ll see two customer interviews and those will be customers talking about how they both adopted the SaaS platform on top of the IaaS. I like your north south analogy. I might have to steal that so we can talk copyrights and things like that after the show. But not only how they’ve done that north south technology up through SaaS, but then how they’ve used the BI analytics and the AI coming out of the BI analytics to make real business decision. And one of you said earlier in the call, that’s what it’s all about. It’s not about implementing this product or that product, it’s about achieving business results. And so in the tradition that we’ve had in our Oracle Live events, were just going to have a couple of customers talking about it. And that’s where we get the most positive feedback from our end users about where they learn from the events is hearing from other customers, seeing how they can take that example and make positive impact to their own business.
Patrick Moorhead: So guys, I think we are nearing the end of our time. This was a great conversation. And Steve, if you want to license something from me, I’m all open to it. So we can discuss that later. No, really, Daniel and I thank you so much for coming on the show. We’re super excited. We’ve… Gosh, think we’ve attended your last eight or nine Oracle Live events so we’re excited about this one too. One thing I really appreciate about Oracle is you never waste analyst time. You respect our time and we get the information that we need. And for that, I really, really appreciate it and hope that you can come back on the show again.
Steve Miranda: That’d be thanks for having us.
T.K. Anand: Yeah. Thank you.
Steve Miranda: Thanks.
Patrick Moorhead: There we have it. I love it. Pick up for a new show, a new November Oracle Live show.
Daniel Newman: Yeah, it was a lot of fun. It was a lot of fun, Pat. I mean, look, you could sense the passion. You listen to Steve, listen to T.K. It’s a competitive space, we pointed that out, but they’ve got a plan and you can clearly hear that plan articulated in the communication. That’s why I said, we love these regular updates, I’ve heard you say something similar. Because this is not static and you can’t just kind of once a year overhaul this thing, you need to be consistently improving it, getting businesses to trust and invest, slide analytics and AI ML technology. It takes time, but these companies want it. They desperately want it. And I’m looking forward to, on November 2nd, hearing exactly what Oracle plans to bring.
Patrick Moorhead: Exactly. And Daniel, our next step is to figure out how to put north, south, east, west, and vertical into some type of thing. But with that, we really appreciate for everybody tuning in and check out the Oracle Live event in November. There will be notes in our show notes, everywhere you hear popular and awesome podcasts like the Six Five. We thank you and have a great week.