Ellison: do not mess with 11i

Larry Ellison wants businesses to hand over the running of their IT department to Oracle, and in return, he guarantees to lower the cost for those departments by five per cent every year for the next five year.

Ellison urged a crowd of Oracle users to keep their hands off the Oracle E-Business Suite as much as possible, by not making any modifications to it as a minimum, and by handing over it’s operation to Oracle as the best-case scenario.

“We think that the terrible mistake in the software industry…(is) for customers to actually change, alter the code that we write,” Ellison said during a keynote address at the Oracle AppsWorld user conference.

While it’s all right for users to make as many extensions as they want to the software in order to meet their business needs, modifications can only lead to trouble down the road, Ellison said.

“Modification should be unnecessary, and extensions or additions should be easy.”

Extensions will be easy, he said, because with Oracle’s one-solution-does-it-all approach, all of a company’s data will be in one central database, making writing new reports not already included in 11i a piece of cake.

“Information fragmentation is one of the huge problems we tried to solve with the integrated E-Business Suite,” Ellison said. “You know, we’re in the business of selling databases, and you all have bought too many.”

While 11i is completely Internet based and can therefore offer many advantages, it’s also a completely new technology, he said. It means big change, and that means it’s those with experience who will have the easiest time making the transition. Oracle, he said, has that experience.

Oracle is so confident it will be able to do the upgrade its customers in a timely, efficient manner that it will do it for a fixed price, Ellison promised, adding that if an upgrade costs more or takes longer than Oracle predicted, the company will pick up the cost.

And Oracle will also provide a free assist program for those who insist on going it alone in the 11i upgrade.

The chairman and CEO also implored the audience to use the company’s outsourcing service. With the services, users will never again have to face the headache of an upgrade – the company will do it all for them, Ellison said.

Oracle would also like to take over its users’ IT departments, he said.

“We will pick up your entire IT spend….We’ll take over the entire IT shop,” he said. “We guarantee we’ll get you to the complete E-Business Suite, unbreakable e-mail, new wide area network. We’ll do all of that…up to and including finding some way to deal with your hardware, your employees, your existing wide area network contract – in other words, we take that over.” And Oracle will do it while at the same time reducing the cost by five per cent each year for five years, he said.

Ellison also took a few pot shots at Web services, which he believes are an over-hyped, though important technology.

What Web services are is a way for programs to pass objects back and forth, what they are not is a way to connect programs together that essentially speak in different languages, he said.

“If program A speaks English and program B speaks French, they still can’t communicate. That’s what

[is] called semantic differences in the underlying applications.”

He’s astounded that there are actually Web services companies being formed now to solve that problem.

“Web services can’t do that,” he said.