Oracle's model for e-commerce: Keep it simple, 'drink the Kool-Aid'

Oracle's model for e-commerce: Keep it simple, 'drink the Kool-Aid'

By Susan M. Menke

GCN Staff

APRIL 18'Information technology is the least of the challenges facing a large organization that wants to put its mission online, Oracle Corp. executive vice president Jeff Henly told an audience of federal and corporate officials in Washington today.

Oracle decided several years ago to 'self-service' 100 percent of its business activities over the Internet, Henly said. All 50 of its enterprise applications now reside in a single data center'with a backup center in Colorado because of California's power blackouts'and are accessed by both employees and customers via Web browser. Even e-mail, Henly said, consists of browser views of an Oracle database.

The consolidation of IT activities is saving the company an estimated $50 million a year, he said. Oracle runs only a single instance of each enterprise app and permits almost no customization for different countries or activities. That means simpler software, fewer hardware components, less data duplication and smaller IT staffs.

Such massive changes are difficult for an organization that wants to do business electronically, but even harder is overcoming internal opposition'what he called a cultural bias against change. Every employee must begin to perform work tasks in the same way with the same equipment. It helps to have 'a strong dictator' like Oracle chairman Larry Ellison, he said, to force others to 'drink the Kool-Aid.'

If top managers will not work actively to make the changes happen, he said, 'Chill out. You can go incremental' by starting with electronic procurement.


  • business meeting (Monkey Business Images/

    Civic tech volunteers help states with legacy systems

    As COVID-19 exposed vulnerabilities in state and local government IT systems, the newly formed U.S. Digital Response stepped in to help. Its successes offer insight into existing barriers and the future of the civic tech movement.

  • data analytics (

    More visible data helps drive DOD decision-making

    CDOs in the Defense Department are opening up their data to take advantage of artificial intelligence and machine learning tools that help surface insights and improve decision-making.

Stay Connected