The other day we published our list of top ERP systems for 2019. The ranking is intended to provide a general, technology-agnostic comparison of the leading digital transformation technologies.
Many were surprised that Oracle Cloud ERP and eBusiness Suite were not among the top digital transformation technologies. Oracle as a vendor generally ranks #2 in overall ERP market share, so it is reasonable to assume that one of these Oracle products might be somewhere at the top.
Oracle has some great products, including Cloud ERP and eBusiness Suite. We even point out some of the product strengths in our technology-agnostic comparison of SAP S/4HANA vs. Oracle Cloud vs. Microsoft Dynamics 365. But there are a few reasons why Oracle’s legacy flagship products didn’t place within our top 5.
Each day, we work with companies all over the world who are evaluating and implementing new digital transformation technologies. It may not be a scientific sampling, but it does give us very good qualitative insights into trends within the industry.
Since Oracle has begun shifting focus from eBusiness Suite to Oracle Cloud ERP, we have seen a dramatic decrease in companies expressing interest in acquiring or implementing this solution. There are certainly successful Oracle Cloud ERP implementations in the market, but it seems that Oracle cloud is off to a slower start than eBusiness Suite and other Oracle products of years past.
Oracle’s NetSuite product, on the other hand, appears to be increasing its adoption rate – particularly in the middle market. This market acceptance can be a good indicator of broader trends.
Outside its NetSuite acquisition, Oracle is like many vendors who are scrambling to migrate their legacy products into the cloud. On one hand, they are doubling down on their Oracle Cloud offering – as most vendors are redirecting R&D to cloud solutions.
On the other hand, Oracle has a very large install base of companies using eBusiness Suite, PeopleSoft, JD Edwards, and other legacy Oracle products. R&D dollars will continue to be diverted from these older products to the flagship cloud solution. This is part of the reason why cloud ERP software has reached the tipping point of adoption.
This legacy install base has in some ways slowed the product suite’s migration to the cloud. Much of the robust functionality of these legacy products – which took decades to build – has been relatively slow to migrate to the cloud. The end result is a cloud product that is not as complete as it could be. That will certainly change over time, but it is of concern for those looking to adopt Oracle Cloud ERP right now.
Whether you love or hate SAP, they have a clear product roadmap: S/4HANA is the flagship enterprise product, while Business by Design. Oracle’s NetSuite is a focused offering without competing priorities.
Oracle’s other products aren’t as clear. It is reasonable to assume that eBusiness Suite is closer to end of life than the start. It isn’t clear to many in the Oracle ecosystem as to what exact functionality has migrated from eBusiness Suite, JD Edwards, or Fusion. This lack of clarity creates confusion and uncertainty in the market place, which we are seeing translate to lower adoption of Oracle’s core products now compared to years past.
Larry Ellison is known as a tough business person and shrewd negotiator. His personality permeates the culture of Oracle – for better or for worse. This can make the company difficult to deal with.
In general, Oracle’s software subscription pricing structure is complex and full of traps. Many of our Oracle clients complain of being “Oracle-ized” by being slapped with increased costs after random audits from the company. Oracle is not the only software vendor with this issue, but my experience is that it is more common among Oracle customers.
Having said all of this, anything can change in a year from now. Oracle could go on a selling spree that lands them a higher market share with its Cloud ERP product. The company could make significant progress migrating legacy on-premise application functionality to its cloud offering. The stability of the top digital transformation providers is at an all-time low, with a lot in flux right now.
At the end of the day, this and other rankings really don’t matter. Your business and the technology that fits your business model going forward is the most important factor to consider in your ERP evaluation and selection process.