It's a longstanding Oracle tradition to issue a flood of new product announcements at the start of the annual OpenWorld conference, and this year was no different. Beginning with CTO Larry Ellison's Sunday keynote, Oracle unveiled dozens of new cloud products and services spanning SaaS, PaaS and in particular IaaS, with the unveiling of a next-generation service Ellison characterized as much more powerful yet less expensive than Amazon Web Services.

Yet an essential truth holds in the software industry: There's no better way to sell your products than through the testimonials of customers solving tangible, real-world business problems. Oracle CEO Mark Hurd's keynote at OpenWorld delivered on this in spades, featuring live and taped appearances by customers ranging from large enterprises to lower midmarket. Here's a look at the highlights.

HSBC's Project Velocity

The large global bank HSBC is moving many systems to the cloud as an essential part of its go-forward technology strategy, said Joanna Fielding, HSBC's CFO for global services. A linchpin of the plan is a move onto Oracle Fusion ERP and EPM for Fielding's division, which represents about half the $60 billion bank's business.

HSBC historically has built its own software or customized commercial products, which grew to be too expensive and difficult. Now the bank is looking at a "lease, buy, build in that order" IT strategy, Fielding said.

You could feel Hurd beam as Fielding described why Oracle made the cut for HSBC.

"Oracle rolled out the A-team as part of the selection process," she said. "You demonstrated you really wanted to work with us," particularly with regard to security matters. Oracle also committed to make the project work as a three-way partnership between the bank, itself and Deloitte. 

Project Velocity began as a program to increase the bank's control and transparency around costs, but has also enabled it to respond more quickly to the changing regulatory environment. Fielding cited the UK ring-fencing law that's being imposed on banks; the law requires banks to separate their investment and retail arms.

"We couldn't have responded to that regulation as quickly as we've been able to if we had gone with an on-premise solution," Fielding said.

ClubCorp Goes All In with Oracle

Oracle is positioning itself as a one-stop-shop for cloud, given it can offer all three layers. ClubCorp is one customer who has bought into the entire vision. The owner-operator of more than 200 clubs across the U.S. went public a few years ago, and needed to shake up its IT strategy, said CIO Patrick Benson:

For us, member experience is number one and where we had come from versus where we wanted to head was vastly different. We were looking at an IT portfolio that was really long in the tooth. Many of ClubCorp's strategic objectives are centered around acquisitions and it's got to be nimble, it's got to be fast. We needed to do something profound from an investment standpoint and strategic standpoint.

ClubCorp's needs were tied to infrastructure as well as applications, but "quite frankly, we wanted to exit the data center business," Benson said. The company was able to use Oracle's PaaS to cloud-enable some legacy applications, and run the workloads on its IaaS.

Benson suggested that ClubCorp received some close hand-holding from Oracle as well. "It wasn't a, hey we're going to sell you some software and pat you on the back and say good luck," he said.

Motorola's Project Greenfield

Some companies go through more big changes than others, and Motorola stands at the top of that list. Once a single entity with 150,000 employees, Motorola was split into Motorola Mobility and Motorola Solutions, the latter of which now has 13,000 workers.

Motorola Solutions makes communication devices for public sector and public safety agencies, and that business is changing quickly, said CIO Greg Meyers. It used to be that customers would buy a large radio network and thousands of devices every decade or so. But today, more customers prefer a managed service model, Meyers said. Moreover, the data Motorola can collect means the business is shifting from mission-critical communications to mission-critical intelligence, he added.

Meanwhile, despite Motorola Solutions' smaller size, "if you're in IT you're still living with all this technical debt," Meyers said. Hence Poject Greenfield, the company's attempt to hit the reset button on our application landscape and redesign it so it's fit for purpose," he said. "It's a clean install of 150 different modules of Oracle working all together as one global instance, with one data warehouse, underpinned by master data from customers, suppliers and products."

Motorola Solutions is putting Oracle's CPQ (configure, price, quote) cloud at the center of its ERP kernel, and is using it primarily as a product configurator. This will give Motorola a significant leap ahead, Meyers said. "If you've got a sales configurator on [your ERP] that's also a product configurator, put a shopping cart on that and you've got e-commerce." 

Oracle's IaaS and PaaS is giving Motorola Solutions another edge as it rolls out Project Greenfield. Whereas the company's previous hosting provider could take weeks to provision additional environments, with Oracle Meyers can spin up a development or test environment much more quickly. "We're going to be out there doing monthly and quarterly releases as a result of all this," compared to twice a year previously, Meyers said.

OpenWorld continues through Thursday in San Francisco.

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