Today’s businesses have to stay two steps ahead of technology as it advances – predicting how they will have to adapt their systems to stay relevant and functional as a company. The Oracle Corporation, known as Oracle, is a company that develops various software for businesses. Essentially, Oracle is a business that makes products for other businesses to stay in business.
Inspiration and Databases
In 1977, Larry Ellison, Bob Miner, and Ed Oates – all employees of the same company, Ampex – founded a company called Software Development Laboratories. The three men had been inspired by British computer scientist Edgar F. Codd’s research paper that discussed a relational database model, which was an efficient and computerized way to store large amounts of data.
The First Client
Using Codd’s theory of data management, the trio of men developed the first commercial relationship database program to use SQL (Structural Query Language). It was named Oracle and was released in 1979. Oracle’s very first customer was the United States Air Force, and the Oracle program because so popular that the company changed its name to Oracle in 1982.
After growing incredibly fast during the 1980s, Oracle was the largest database management company in the world by 1987. The company was known for its revolutionary products and assertive marketing. Oracle did not grow only by selling its products; the majority of Oracle’s growth was achieved by buying out a number of other companies that specialized in different products that the company wanted to add to its product portfolio.
Failure to Launch
In the mid-1990s, Oracle made the mistake of investing and supporting network computers over personal computers. Some of Oracle’s executives predicted that businesses would opt to use network computers over personal computers. However, that prediction was dead wrong. Personal computers were chosen by businesses because they were more fully equipped than their network counterparts.
Because of this failed prediction, Oracle’s main competitor – the Microsoft Corporation – began to dominate business computers because their operating system, Windows, was the one that was included with personal computers.
Betting on the Internet
Ellison decided to take another chance later and embrace the Internet. Oracle began to develop World Wide Web-compatible technologies. This prediction led to success, and the company began to grow again. The company still thrives today, remaining one of the leaders of database technologies. Oracle offers versions of its software that are compatible with many different operating systems and computer types.
Not Without Controversy
Oracle has experienced some controversy over the years. In 2000, the company was accused of hiring private investigators to dig through the trash of organizations that were suing Microsoft. Ellison admitting to doing it, calling it a public service and saying that his company believes in full disclosure. In 2002, the company marketed its products with the slogan “Can’t break it, Can’t break in,” a slogan that was disproved within 2 weeks after it was launched because multiple people successfully attacked Oracle’s software.
Other controversies involving Oracle were the company’s back and forth relationship with ex-Attorney General John Ashcroft, the US Air Force’s criticism of the subpar performance of Oracle software, and the Cover Oregon fiasco that began when Oracle tried to make their website go live and it failed, resulting in chaos for Oregon’s healthcare registration in 2013.
Knowing its Audience
Because Oracle has perfected its marketing strategy, it is ranked #17 in Interbrand’s Most Valuable Global Brands. The company uses demographic and geographic data to determine which products will sell best in different areas. Oracle’s salespeople are trained to sell bundles of products over single products – a specific strategy designed to sell their interrelated products.
Oracle is currently facing new competition from Google, Amazon, and other companies that offer cloud services. However, Oracle has brand equity to lean on for support and a reputation for releasing great products.
The company continues to offer new products and services, expanding to fit the world’s needs. Recently, Oracle was in the news because it launched four cloud regions on four different continents. Office Depot Mexico just rewrote its entire modern retail strategy using Oracle software. The company was named a leader in worldwide retail price optimization applications. Perhaps most importantly, Oracle announced its intended use of augmented analytics to make even better products.
Seeing to the Future
Oracle continues to grow and succeed because of its ability to target its consumers effectively and its consistent record of releasing quality products. Being able to predict advancements in technology is required for software companies like Oracle, and they happen to excel at it.