Oracle predicts the future of computing is in the cloud. The enterprise software company offers a range of cloud-based applications and platforms, as well as hardware and services to help companies improve their processes. Oracle's applications center around enterprise resource planning, data management, collaboration, application development, customer relationship management, and supply chain management. In recent years, Oracle has aggressively expanded through acquisitions that have helped build its cloud offerings. The company’s mainstay product has been Oracle Database, one the most popular corporate database offerings. More than half its revenue comes from international customers.
Oracle’s cloud and license businesses generate more than 80% of its sales. The company traditionally sold on-premise software applications that were loaded onto customers' computers at their offices. The company’s on-premise software brands are Siebel, PeopleSoft and JD Edwards, and the Oracle E-Business Suite.
Oracle is moving its products to cloud computing environments, where customers can access programs from multiple locations and devices. The company’s cloud applications are Oracle Human Capital Management (HCM) Cloud, Oracle Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Cloud, Oracle Customer Experience (CX) Cloud, Oracle Supply Chain Management (SCM) Cloud, Oracle Cloud Industry Solutions, and Oracle Data Cloud.
Oracle also offers services that help customers operate their businesses from a cloud environment with software-as-a-service, platform-as-a-service, and infrastructure-as-a-service. Those businesses account for about an eighth of Oracle's revenue.
The rest of Oracle’s sales come from its hardware business, which includes computers and related software and services, and its consulting services business.
The company’s manufacturing operations supply its Oracle Engineered Systems and some of its enterprise and data center servers and storage products. It relies on third-party manufacturing partners to make other hardware.
Headquartered in Redwood City, California, Oracle operates facilities in the US, including a factory in Hillsboro, Oregon, and overseas.
US customers generate just less than 50% of sales. The other countries the company breaks out sales for – the UK, Japan, Canada and Germany – each account for 5% or less. The other 170-some countries with Oracle customers account for more than 35% of the company’s sales.
Sales and Marketing
Oracle uses direct and indirect channels including independent distributors and value-added resellers to market and sell its products and services. The companies that comprise Oracle's indirect channel network are members of the Oracle Partner Network.
The company counts about 430,000 customers, including each company on the Fortune 100. Its customers are in industries such as aerospace and defense, automotive, financial, technology, manufacturing, oil and gas, retail, telecommunications, and utilities.
The company increased its advertising budget 45% to about $138 million in 2018 from 2017.
After several years of uneven revenue, Oracle Corp.’s top-line number rose in the past two years, hitting a company sales record in 2018 (ended May).
In 2018, revenue increased 5% to $39.8 billion from $37.7 billion in 2016, driven by a 7% rise in cloud and license revenue as customers bought application, platform, and infrastructure technologies. Acquisitions also bolstered cloud and license sales. Hardware sales fell 6% year-to-year as the company placed its emphasis on the cloud and license segment.
Net income fell to $3.8 billion in 2017 from $9.5 billion in 2016. Oracle set aside more than $9 billion for US income taxes in 2018 compared to about $2.2 billion in 2017 due to the US Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.
The company had about $67.2 billion in cash, cash equivalents, and marketable securities in 2018, a 2% increase from 2017. Working capital rose 13% to $56.6 billion in 2018 from 2017 due to the issue of $10 billion of long-term senior notes and cash proceeds from stock option exercises.
Oracle Corp.’s move to cloud computing began to pay off in its 2018 fiscal year ended in May. The company reported strong growth in its cloud platform and infrastructure businesses and it continues to attract customers to its cloud applications for enterprise resource planning, human capital management, and financials.
While Oracle’s sales have grown in the Americas and the Asia/Pacific region, they had lagged in Europe. The company in 2017 began a hiring push for sales staff to generate more cloud sales in the Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) region. The investment returned a 7% sales increase in EMEA in 2018 from 2017 following a 2% decrease in 2017 from 2016.
Oracle quickly recognized the importance of cloud computing for its application software products. In that area, the company claims to be catching and passing rival Salesforce.com in sales of software-as-a-service applications. But Oracle was late in providing cloud infrastructure and platform services. In that race, it remains behind market leaders Amazon Web Services, Microsoft’s Azure, Alphabet’s Google, and IBM. An advantage that Oracle claims is that it uses its own server and storage hardware products and can ramp up production to build out data centers only when more capacity is needed.
Mergers and Acquisitions
Oracle's recent acquisitions have deepened its cloud portfolio. In late 2018 Oracle agreed to acquire goBalto, which provides cloud services for clinical trials in the pharmaceutical industry. Technologies developed by San Francisco-based goBalto speed up clinical trials buy automating manual tasks.
In 2018 the company bought Aconex, an Australian provider of web-based collaboration tools for the construction industry, for about $1.2 billion. About 80,000 organizations have used Aconex to manage more than $1 trillion in projects in 70 countries. The acquisition adds another facet to Oracle’s cloud offerings.
Other 2018 acquisitions were Zenedge, which secures IT systems deployed via cloud, on-premise or hybrid hosting environments; Vocado, which provides cloud-based financial aid applications for higher education institutions; SparklineData, which provides an analytics platform; Grapeshot, a provider of brand safety and pre-bid contextual services; and DataScience.com, which provides self-service access to open source tools, data, and computing resources. [BJ1]
In 2017 Oracle acquired Apiary, which provides application programming interface (API) tools, Moat, which uses data and analytics to enhance media for marketers and publishers; and Wercker, an integration platform for application development and delivery.
Larry Ellison, Robert Miner, Bruce Scott, and Edward Oates founded System Development Laboratories in 1977 to create a database management system according to theoretical specifications published by IBM. Ellison had studied physics at the University of Chicago but dropped out in the 1960s to seek his fortune in Silicon Valley. He was part of the team that developed the first IBM-compatible mainframe. Miner, an experienced programmer, was the main developer of Oracle's database manager, which was able to run on many computer brands and was introduced in 1979. The company also changed its name that year to Relational Software.
In 1983 the company changed its name again, this time to Oracle, in order to more closely align itself with its primary product. Oracle went public in 1986 and within two years had a 36% share of Uncle Sam's PC database market. It also added financial management, graphics, and human resource management software.
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