Inside Oracle OpenWorld: Phillips keynote highlights new innovation/acquisition strategy

More than 46,000 users of Oracle products have taken over downtown San Francisco this week. The scene on Monday morning resembled a rock concert, as badge-wearing conference attendees formed a line that snaked alongside the city’s Moscone Center for two full city blocks waiting to enter the opening keynote from Oracle President Charles Phillips.
By Sidney Hill, Jr., executive editor November 13, 2007

All business software vendors have user conferences. But none come close to matching the spectacle that is Oracle OpenWorld.
More than 46,000 users of Oracle products—its database, middleware, and business applications—have taken over downtown San Francisco this week. The scene on Monday morning resembled a rock concert, as badge-wearing conference attendees formed a line that snaked alongside the city’s Moscone Center for two full city blocks waiting to enter the opening keynote address by Oracle President Charles Phillips.
Once inside, they heard Phillips recap what Oracle has done over the past 12 months—mostly acquire other vendors—and explain how those actions will shape the products and services that users can expect from Oracle in the future.
The overall Oracle strategy, Phillips said, is making it easier for companies to manage what have become very complex IT environments.
“If you look at the way the software industry operated in the past, [vendors] went about solving one problem at a time,” he said.middleware stack that lets you bring things like business intelligence, security, and systems management under a single umbrella across the enterprise.”
The release features what Phillips referred to as “packaged integrations,” which essentially blend various pieces of the Oracle application set in the manner that is necessary to perform specific business processes.
One of those packaged integrations links the newly acquire Agile product life-cycle management application with various Oracle business applications. During his keynote, Phillips had a group of Oracle product developers join him on stage to demonstrate how companies might use this integration.
The demo offered a look at an enterprise portal with a dashboard showing the status of multiple product development projects. It indicated that one of the projects was behind schedule, and a drill down into that project identified the reason as late delivery of a specific part.
The problem was solved by clicking another tab in the portal that triggered an engineering change order process to find a substitute part. Once the part was identified, a command to order it was sent to purchasing, and the project was back on schedule.
Phillips said a key part of Oracle’s strategy going forward is to create integrations that solve problems within specific industries in this fashion.
He also noted acquiring new companies with expertise in certain vertical markets—like the purchase of Agile in the manufacturing space—would continue to be part of that strategy.
“We supplement our internal research and development—which is about $2 billion a year with acquired research and development, bringing innovation in from outside of Oracle,” Phillips said. “We can bring that stuff in quickly within the context of an integrated suite, and that helps you [the customer] in terms of time-to-market.”