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Oracle hires former SAP exec for cloudy push

'We know Larry said cloud was gibberish, and insane, and idiotic, but...'

Oracle has bagged itself a global head to manage the cloudy portfolio just a week after chief techie and erstwhile CEO Larry Ellison talked up the bets the company is placing behind the as-a-service model.

The database titan has hired SAP’s former president of global cloud and line of business Shawn Price, after the German software maker deemed he was surplus to requirement amid a global shake-out in May.

Price, who was in that SAP role for less than five months, is to be senior veep for product strategy and marketing, within Oracle's cloud division, reporting to joint-CEO Mark Hurd, according to Re/code.

The appointment follows Oracle Open World where on the last day Ellison asked attendees if they still felt the company looked like a dinosaur, after hitching a bunch of products to the cloudy bandwagon.

CRM now integrates the BlueKai cloud-based data-management platform for marketing, while Oracle’s cloud app platform witnessed six new services, and a biz intelligence subscription model was made public.

Ellison once described the cloud trend as “complete gibberish”, “insane” and “idiocy”. Clearly the perman-tanned exec realises it needs to create a strategy that resonates with customers that want to buy and consume technology differently.

Why the change of heart? Oracle reported fiscal Q1 numbers that again missed Wall Street estimates for the third consecutive quarter, and the board want to accelerate as-a-service growth.

In the opening three months of Oracle fiscal ’15, cloud revenues totalled $477m, up 29 per cent, and in that SaaS and PaaS were $339m, up 31 per cent year-on-year and four per cent sequentially.

Hurd said on a call with analysts that “while the transition of the cloud is in the early stages, we are already at a run rate of nearly $2bn”.

“We are focused on becoming number one in the cloud, being bigger than Saleforce in the cloud. And to do that we’ve got to increase our growth rates,” he added.

Prior to his global cloudy role at SAP, Price was president at SuccessFactors in charge of running the HCM business. Before that he was a board member at analytics app vendor Datameer, president at SaaS biz Zuora and CEO at business process management firm Savvion. ®

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