Informatica's John Schmidt makes a strong argument for integration as a focal point of IT in the coming decade. Pulling quotes from a recent ComputerWorld article on future careers, he highlights trends like more focus on business processes and wider use of cloud computing that, really, can only translate into more integration work for IT. In particular, he thinks there'll be a strong demand for Integration Competency Centers.
I particularly liked his inclusion of this quote from ComputerWorld's Julie King:
a big chunk of technical specialists' work will involve integrating a broader array of technologies.
Integration certainly seems to be an effective part of ousted HP CEO Mark Hurd's resume-perhaps even the most effective skill, aside from having friends in high places. Monday, Oracle's Larry Ellison-a well-known Hurd fan-announced he's hiring Hurd as co-president of Oracle.
It's clear from Ellison's published remarks that Hurd's focus will be on fulfilling Oracle's integrated stack-offered on its own optimized hardware - business model. The press release includes this telling Ellison quote:
There is no executive in the IT world with more relevant experience than Mark. Oracle's future is engineering complete and integrated hardware and software systems for the enterprise. Mark pioneered the integration of hardware with software when Teradata was a part of NCR.
Several industry watchers speculated that HP should be afraid of Hurd's vengeance-and with good reason, given how well Hurd knows the company. However, Hurd's own remarks, again from the press release, suggest he's joined Ellison's quest to usurp IBM, and Oracle's Exadata storage servers are the starting point:
I believe Oracle's strategy of combining software with hardware will enable Oracle to beat IBM in both enterprise servers and storage. Exadata is just the beginning. We have some exciting new systems we are going to announce later this month at Oracle OpenWorld. I'm excited to be a part of the most innovative technology team in the IT industry.
Of course, as ZDNet's Larry Dignan points out, HP will likely sustain some damage along the way even if Oracle's real target is IBM. You can almost hear the mock, "Oops."
Dignan makes another great observation when he says that Oracle can't really compete against IBM until it has a services component-and right now, it doesn't. IBM's services and systems integration is a key part of its business plan, in part because it actually feed other parts of Big Blue's business. You know who else has a services component, plus software, plus hardware? That's right: HP, which, nonetheless, needs to play catch-up in the optimized systems arena that Oracle, IBM and others are pioneering.
So, Dignan suspects, we'll probably soon see yet another Oracle acquisition, and this time the target will be a systems integrator/services firm. One possible target for an Oracle acquisition could be Accenture, he suggests, which would help Oracle achieve its goals, plus put the screws to age-old rival SAP.
Wall Street is certainly betting on more Oracle acquisitions, according to MarketWatch. Several financial analysts said they expected Hurd's expertise in operational efficiency to allow Oracle to squeeze more value from acquisitions. At the very least, Oracle's stock surge today suggests investors are on board with Ellison's new hire, despite his tarnished reputation.