In the midst of the global recession, most businesses put a lockdown on IT spending. No upgraded hardware or software, executives insisted, until we find a way out of this mess. The problem-or the opportunity, if you're a software or hardware provider-is that IT infrastructure continued to age in place, until the need for modernization became so pressing that businesses began to open their wallets again.
The Oracle Financial Services Data Warehouse, unveiled Jan. 27, is supposed to play into the pent-up need for new and more modern data warehousing-at least for financial institutions. Previous data-warehousing models, the company argues, are growing more antiquated and unwieldy by the week. As a replacement, Oracle Financial Services Data Warehouse offers architecture pre-built for rapid deployment and designed to handle those institutions increasingly complex number-crunching needs.
The platform leverages Oracle Exadata Database Machine for processing those complex scenarios. Contextual data-quality checks, paired with the automated removal of inconsistencies across ledgers and books, helps with the inevitable accuracy and consistency issues that arise within a financial institution.
"Improving the quality and consistency of decisions is a renewed priority for major industries," Henry Morris, a senior vice president at research firm IDC, wrote in a Jan. 27 statement provided by Oracle, "as enterprises need to get a better handle on their risk exposure, ensure that they comply with new regulations, and gain the maximum return for each customer interaction."
Over the past several quarters, Oracle has focused intensely on selling enterprises a unified stack that extends through most of their business processes. It argues, of course, that such a stack ultimately makes IT management and administration more efficient, and allows companies to leverage their data for greater efficiency and analysis. Oracle's competitors retort that a unified stack essentially locks clients into the Oracle ecosystem.
As with Microsoft and Salesforce.com, Oracle has also moved to embrace the cloud. In September, the company introduced the Oracle Exalogic "cloud in a box" system for private cloud environments, utilizing hardware acquired by Sun. At the time, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison lashed out at Salesforce.com, saying its rival's apps constituted a "very limited platform."
For its part, Microsoft's "all in" cloud strategy involves convincing companies that its servers can handle their IT needs. In addition, new initiatives such as Office 365 seek to move Microsoft's traditionally desktop-based ecosystem more into the cloud. Microsoft argues that its various software platforms' interoperability offers a sizable advantage over its rivals' enterprise offerings.
As the Oracle Financial Services Data Warehouse suggests, all the companies competing for enterprise IT dollars are focusing their efforts not only on specific industries, but also updating their platforms for an increasingly complex business environment. And if business spending increases over the next few quarters, that means potentially billions of dollars to be earned or lost.