Oracle/Sun Matters Even If You Use Neither's Enterprise Software


I promised that the Oracle/Sun combination would be fodder for a series of blog posts. And I will not disappoint (or I will bore you, depending on your perspective).


The big picture as I mentioned in the April 20 post is that Oracle has chosen its place in life and says it will be an IT provider like Dell, Intel and EMC and not a services provider like HP and Wipro (IT services) or IBM and Google (business services). By the way, SAP and Microsoft have yet to sort themselves into one of these three buckets and that is the root of some of their current profit and messaging challenges. Both appear to be headed toward the business-services camp but the jury is still out. Microsoft has the added advantage - unlike anyone else in the IT market - to lead in IT-enabled consumer services as well.


This is important to you, as I explained in this post in October 2008, because each group provides you different benefits:


  • Technology providers offer low-cost IT commodities on which you should expect little service (and make sure you are not paying for it).
  • IT product/service providers are increasingly delivering everything they do online; if there's a guy hanging around your shop with one of their logos on his shirt, you're probably paying them too much.
  • "IT-enabled business service provider" is investment-analyst speak for outsourcing.


You have to decide which approach is optimum for your enterprise and culture (both business and IT culture) and, because it is likely you will use some mix of the three, you must decide how to balance them.


In particular when it comes to the outsourcing issue -- likely to become an even more pervasive topic among CFOs and CEOs in tough economic times -- your strategy should be to think of your IT group as a separate company and make the argument -- where applicable -- that doing something in-house actually provides the enterprise better return on investment and lower total cost of ownership than going outside. When it makes sense to outsource a function, be the first to suggest it.


Don't glaze over the CFO's and CEO's eyes with talk about REST or the GNU General Public License or the four different types of virtualization technology in the cloud. On the other hand, cloud computing is the current buzzword du jour in BusinessWeek and Fortune so don't be afraid to make the CEO and CFO aware that you understand its business implications as well the technical implications.


(And, thanks Larry and Scott. Now I have something to write about until Labor Day when the deal is likely to be completed.)