From April 28–30, 2015 the Oracle show came to London with the company’s Modern Business Summit, whichreviewed its cloud offerings forfinance and operations; human resources; and marketing, sales, service, and social (i.e., its customer experience suite). In Ovum’s opinion, this event demonstrated a new softer and more customer-friendly side to the software industry giant.
Oracle reveals a new, “modern” approach to customer events
This was a strangely un-Oracle-like event. Oracle events are typically traditional and formal – a male-dominated mature crowd in suits and ties is not unusual. The company’s presentations often describe the appropriate Oracle “stack” and feature in-depth technical content, with detailed, bullet-pointed PowerPoint slides. These are serious events for serious-minded business people wanting serious data points with a minimal amount of flippancy.
The Oracle Modern Business Summit was very different. It was indeed “modern” and the crowd was both relatively young and a reasonably even balance of men and women. Dress was noticeably more casual than usual. This event was positioned differently, with Oracle extolling “how this transformation is set to affect your organization – with demonstrations, expert insights, networking opportunities and more”. So not “what we can do for you” but rather “how what we do might affect you.”
This is a subtle but important tonal change, which was reflected in how the topics were presented. The Customer Journeys session on the Thursday afternoon was presented in a knockabout, tongue-in-cheek style, with liberal doses of sarcasm and mickey-taking. The “this side of the room” versus “that side of the room” competition for the audience had a TV game show or pantomime feel to it.
The content of the conference was also notable for a different tone. For example, Philip Graves, a consumer behavior consultant, presented on the “touchy-feely” subject of “Inside the Consumer Mind.” Steve Elsham, senior director, CX Applications at Oracle, provided an “open kimono” moment when he described Oracle’s traditional sales methods, explaining how the company is transforming internally to focus more on customer relationships and delivering value. Paddy Power, well known as one of the most irreverent and controversial UK gambling brands, was given the opportunity to present its customer service strategy. As a result, the event was not only informative but also good fun, which pleased the enthusiastic young audience.
Gerry Brown, Senior Analyst, Customer Engagement