Ellison: You Have to Be Willing to Spend Less to Get Better Information

ORACLEWORLD, SAN FRANCISCO, CA, Nov. 14, 2002 -- On the heels of another victory in the Louis Vuitton Cup 2002, Oracle's Chairman and CEO Larry Ellison addressed a full house of customers and partners in both San Francisco and Auckland, New Zealand. His main message: "If you want good information, you have to be willing to spend less."

Ellison was speaking to the three major issues he believes are plaguing the information technology industry, in this, "the dawn of the information age" -- data fragmentation, the need for software integration and incomplete automation.

"My industry has produced so many software products and you have bought too many of them," he said. "We expect you to be computer hobbyist, with no instructions included."

To tackle these problems, Ellison continued, Oracle has been integrating its various software components into suites to make sure that all of the components install together, can be managed and tuned together, with bug fixes and patches that work together.

"This is what quality means. Why are Sony TVs more reliable than a 500 million dollar IT system?" Ellison asked. "All of the pieces should work together so that the cost of integration decreases while the reliability increases."

Tackling incomplete software automation was the key in Oracle's introduction of its Oracle E-Business Suite 11i. A few years ago, "eighty- five percent of Oracle's application customers finished our applications for us," he said. "Now it's the other way around. When you find a missing feature, we will work with you to put it into our standard product."

Ellison emphasized what he says is the largest problem facing the IT industry -- information fragmentation. To illustrate his point, Ellison spoke to Oracle's consolidation of over 400 customer databases around the world.

He joked, "You know how Siebel talks about having a 360 degree view of the customer? We had a 400-degree view of the customer. What really bothered me about having 400 customer databases is that I was paying extra not to know more." The one customer database Oracle has now is much better than 400, he underscored.

Oracle's CEO closed his formal comments with a contrary view of how IT departments think about and treat system failure, which becomes even more important as customers centralize information. Ellison advised IT departments "not to work to eliminate computer failures, but tolerate them. You can't eliminate computer failures, but you can make them non-fatal with clustering."

"Clusters give you confidence," Ellison concluded.


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