Applied artificial intelligence (AI) and advanced machine learning are among Gartner's Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2017. AI is beginning to be deployed by companies globally. International Data Corporation (IDC) forecasts a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 55.1 percent during 2016–2020 for AI and cognitive systems solutions in its Worldwide Semiannual Cognitive/Artificial Intelligence Systems Spending Guide. IDC estimates spending on cognitive applications to reach $18.2 billion by 2020. Large enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM) software providers such as Salesforce, IBM, Oracle and SAP are offering AI solutions to capture this growing market opportunity along with non-traditional software providers like General Electric (GE).
Because Oracle is one of the most important players in enterprise software, I asked three top industry analysts to join me on Episode 261 of the CXOTalk series of conversations with innovators. Read on to learn how these analysts view Oracle, its position in the market, and its relationship to customers. Oracle is a 40-year old company with almost $40 billion in annual revenue. Having survived and prospered over the course of this lengthy period, Oracle has certainly proven its ability to adapt and evolve. The company built its reputation as the world's premier database, eventually becoming an enterprise applications powerhouse.
The days of go-go, double-digit growth for tech are long gone and do not appear to be on the way back anytime soon. Even though businesses are moving to the cloud and adopting new technology to stay competitive, global IT spending will be more or less flat this year and growth will remain sluggish through 2020, according to Gartner. The market research firm is forecasting worldwide IT spending to total US 3.49 trillion this year, a 0.5 percent decline from 2015. That's down from a forecast of 0.5 percent growth the company made last quarter. The change in the forecast is mainly the result of the dollar's growing strength against other currencies.
US-based Oracle Corp. is sharpening focus on its own digital transformation as well as that of its customers to stay competitive in a world where companies are increasingly grappling with newer business models, and demanding solutions that require expertise in the Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI), besides cloud computing and big data analytics. Consider cloud computing--a concept that Larry Ellison, now executive chairman and chief technology officer of Oracle, had scoffed at nearly a decade back. At the September 2016 Open World event in San Francisco, however, Ellison insisted, "We are in the middle of a generational change as computing moves from on-premise and lots and lots of data centres and lots of companies in the world to a smaller number of super data centres called clouds."
Coming out of of the crush and excitement of Dreamforce in San Francisco last week, which has now become the second largest tech event in North America (only after CES), Salesforce sits atop an impressive growth curve, an enviable top 10 position in the industry, and what many regard as one of the more compelling cloud offerings in the marketplace. The organization is often considered one of the leading lights of progress when it comes to enterprise technology as well as business leadership, and its extensive philanthropic pursuits are well known. Overall, the outlook continues to look good for the company: Of the aforementioned top 10 software firms, of the companies that are in the cloud, only Amazon Web Services is growing faster (70% vs. Salesforce's 24% year-over-year growth.) Headwinds are on the horizon as technology continues to change and companies look for new ways to digitize, yet somehow remain in control of their IT systems. The company's strict 100% public cloud policy, which has long been touted by CEO Marc Benioff, has been a long-standing issue based on my conversations with CIOs over the years, even as it offers genuinely compelling economies of scale and a real (though partial) solution to the perennial upgrade hell that plagues most IT organizations today.