Eye on Oracle

Oct 3 2012   8:57PM GMT

Oracle goes social

Lena Weiner Lena Weiner Profile: Lena Weiner

SAN FRANCISCO – This is my first OpenWorld. So far, I have to say that I can’t complain. The Moscone Convention Center is about as state-of-the-art as convention centers come; all of Oracle’s representatives and employees have been friendly enough to work with and the usually frigid city of San Francisco even turned up the heat just for us, leading me to wonder if Larry Ellison recently acquired the weather along with all those cloud service providers Oracle purchased.

Oracle’s reasons for buying various cloud and social media companies seem to be coming into focus. I’ve learned over the last few days that there’s more to social media than cruising Facebook to see which of your high school friends is aging badly. Social media can mean helping an HR department figure out which of their employees have certain talents outside of the job they currently hold so they can simply promote someone internally rather than conduct an external candidate search. Social media can be a new way for dissatisfied customers to bring their grievances to light, perhaps via a rant on Facebook or Twitter (which, if your company is effectively monitoring, you can see and address), by posting on a reviews board or sometimes even more creative means (and, in some cases, hilarity ensues). Social media can mean crowdsourcing a question you have about a legal matter rather than calling your lawyer (and getting a steep bill in the mail a few days later) or spending hours poring over books in the library to try to figure the matter out for yourself.

Many older organizations have been less than enthusiastic to adopt social media, sometimes due to an older workforce that’s less comfortable with unfamiliar technologies, due to it not seeming to fit in to their workflows or processes, or sometimes due to regulations. To Oracle’s credit, Oracle’s leadership not only seems to accept that social media is A Thing, but embrace that it’s the coming Big Thing.

The question, of course, is whether Oracle’s brand of social media will be embraced by users. Oracle seems to get that they have to appeal to enterprise customers rather than consumers- but is enterprise ready to go social? Or is this an idea ahead of its time? Only time will tell, but I think most of us techies can agree that Oracle made a good move by stepping in to this growing area of interest.

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