Oracle OpenWorld is imminent and we will see Oracle continue their push into the cloud market. Oracle have had a long history of being strong in the technology space, but conversely they have had a long history of being weak as far as customer service is concerned. The move to the cloud presents a unique problem for Oracle that I’m not sure they can even see at the moment…
I use a number of cloud services in my daily life, but let’s just focus on a simple one like email for the moment. It could be Gmail, Outlook.com, Yahoo Mail etc. I couldn’t tell you what the underlying tech for any of these services is. I don’t know which is technically superior, but to be honest I don’t really care. They are just services I use and they work. As long as they work and my user experience is good I have no reason to question them. If I am not having a good time with a specific product, I will move. This happened to me when I moved from Hotmail to Gmail. When Outlook.com came along I actually preferred it to Gmail, but not enough to be bothered to move again. 🙂 The point is, this move was based on user experience, not technical superiority…
So now we come to Oracle’s move to the cloud. Oracle now have a wider service catalog than just about any cloud provider. If you judge cloud providers by the breadth of their service catalog I think Oracle are now number 1, but do people judge a cloud provider in that way? I don’t think so. I think most customers judge by their experience of the service.
Having used Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Oracle Public Cloud for quite some time I have to say that Oracle Public Cloud lags far behind the other two in user experience. It’s not a criticism of the tech behind the scenes. It’s just the day-to-day usage of the services I’m talking about. Over the last year Oracle have added lots of new services to the Oracle Public Cloud, but there has been little-to-no focus on the user experience. Most of the issues I highlighted over a year ago are still present today.
The more time I spend using cloud services, the less I care about the tech that underpins them. This might sound a bit contradictory for a tech geek, but think about it for a minute. No matter how good the technology, you can use it badly. If I don’t get to see exactly what is under the hood and the day-to-day operations behind the scenes I am having to make a leap of faith anyway, so the only thing I can use to judge between services is the care and attention that has been put into the user experience and the customer service.
IMHO if Oracle want their public cloud offering to succeed, they need to:
- Focus on user experience of the Oracle Public Cloud. Oracle should aim to be easier to use than any of their competitors.
- Focus on customer service. A pissed off customer goes out of their way to look for things to complain about. A happy customer will put up with odd issues.
- Listen to their customers. The days are gone when developers decided what they think the customers want. As a customer, the most infuriating thing that can happen to you is to feel like nobody is listening. When you ask for something, it should happen, or someone should explain why it can’t happen. When feedback drops into a bottomless pit the incentive to keep supplying feedback diminishes.
I want Oracle Public Cloud to be successful. Adding hundreds of new services is not as important as improving the ones they already have. Please, please, please listen to us Oracle!
PS. When you listen to the announcements during this next week, ask yourself how many relate to new technology, rather than new services built on existing technology… 😉
PPS. Oracle Public Cloud and Oracle Cloud Apps are not the same thing. My comments relate to Oracle Public Cloud!