Oracle chief Mark Hurd doesn’t take kindly to the term “faux cloud” being used to describe the technology giant’s offering in the increasingly competitive world of cloud services. “The ‘faux cloud’, quote unquote, is generating now more than a billion dollars worth of revenue," the executive told iTnews today, speaking ahead of a product announcement planned for Tuesday. “We have 25 million users working on the ‘faux cloud’, he said. "So someone needs to tell them”. Hurd, who had a brief stint on the pro tennis circuit, is in Melbourne for the Australian Open and some wining and dining of key clients. National Australia Bank is now four years into a partnership with Oracle to replace its core banking system at a cost of more than $1 billion. Hurd said Oracle is “thrilled” with the progress of the project, which has been built using Fusion middleware and Oracle database. The project has helped Oracle build out its banking platform solution for the broader market. Those who are pragmatic about the project call it “co-development”. Cynics argue NAB has been the guinea pig in an R&D project for Oracle. “Any time you go into these type of projects they really have to be a joint effort on both parts,” said Hurd. “We’re not interested in building a one-off solution… we want to build something once and then obviously sell it many times.” Hurd said NAB had been a “fantastic partner” for Oracle, with chief Cameron Clyne and technology head Gavin Slater delivering the consistency of management and vision required to help the project work. “They really wanted to get a big commercial software company developing their core banking solution, we obviously wanted to get to market in financial services, an extremely lucrative market, not just in Australia, but globally," Hurd said. With the product now standardised and available to the broader market, Hurd says clients, including NAB can enjoy the incremental innovation that goes into the product over many years, without having to "rely on their IT organisation to do that.”
Oracle's banking software will eventually be made available as a hosted solution, but to date Australian banks have been cautious on this approach due to data residency and other regulatory barriers.
Hurd is only too aware of the changing demands of enterprise IT clients. “There’s a big shift in the industry away from money spent by the customers, and trying to shift that effort back into the industry. “That’s one of the reasons you’ll find people like cloud, because you know someone else is doing the work instead of you," he said.
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