Since Oracle’s new country manager arrived in March, the company has aquired two new companies, the latest instalments in an almost unprecedented $US25 billion (NZ$34 billion) 32-company series of acquisitions since January 2004.
Just last week Oracle announced it had bought product lifecycle software vendor Agile Software for US$495 million.
On the ground in New Zealand that means new local customers for Oracle and a deeper relationship with many existing companies. It also delivers the headaches of integration and servicing new and broader product sets.
Oracle NZ country manager Peter Idoine says Oracle has come a long way from being a database vendor, with this segment now delivering around half of the company’s sales. And to manage those changes locally, he has adopted a fairly unique approach: Idoine has no direct reports apart from his personal assistant.
Idoine says the structure allows time to plan and analyse the business and, imprtantly, quality time to network and meet with customers, something he says he has done more of in the last three months than in the previous three years.
“I’m delighted to be in a role with that kind of think-time and that kind of mandate,” he says.
Idoine says many customers appreciate Oracle’s acquisition strategy will deliver real benefits to them. In effect, some of the risk of integration is passed from users of previously disparate products back to Oracle. He cites Vodafone as one company using five different products that are now all owned, and being developed, by Oracle.
Idoine acknowledges situations like these give customers greater leverage over Oracle.
Another customer, acquired after Oracle bought a company in the document management market, is “delighted” to see Oracle come in and develop the product further, he says.
Idoine says customers are actively involved in planning Oracle’s development roadmap through such consultations. And the biggest area of demand is in that area of business to business integration.
Idoine took on the Oracle job after leading Sun Microsystems in New Zealand. He says the company cultures of the two organisations are similar, with both being Silicon Valley startups and both having charismatic leaders.
So where would he like to see Oracle New Zealand in one year’s time? Idoine says he would like to have harnessed the synergies of the companies acquired and of their people and their business partners for the benefit of customers.
“For that to happen we will have to grow the Oracle Consulting Services business and get the constituent parts of Oracle working together for the customers who want to see a coordinated strategy,” he says.
He says despite so many major New Zealand companies now being owned by an Australian parent, it’s wrong to assume IT decisions are made out of Australia. He is adamant local IT leaders may, and often do, have different views from those of their parent organisations.
“It’s wrong to assume that what’s right in one market is right for another with different business profiles, segments and legacies,” he says.