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While the whole world suddenly went ga ga over Snowflake, as they went for an IPO, do you know Amazon’s AWS has a similar cloud data warehouse platform called Redshift ? But more interesting aspect is, do you know why the platform has been named Redshift? The name means to shift away from Oracle, red being an allusion to Oracle, whose corporate color is red and is informally referred to as “Big Red.
But is Amazon or likes of Snowflake to blame for Oracle’s decline ? As I consistently say- any organization that once had the might of Oracle, should have gone crazy in 100 different directions during its haydays, just like Amazon is doing- creating ecosystems. Some of them would have clicked. Oracle would not have been a legacy Data Warehousing product company. If an online book seller can evolve into so many things, with the technology expertise and might of Oracle, imagine what it could have done.
But it did what most, once prominent, but now irrelevant companies, did. Do nothing ! And that reminds me of the Cave bear analogy. I was reading an article about finding (mostly) intact remains of a Cave bear in the melting Permafrost. The article had interesting information about cave bear, particularly on why they became extinct. One insight was that cave bears, generation after generation, lived in the same cave. In some caves, they found 100s of skeletons. They never ventured to expand/diversify, thereby limiting their ecosystem considerably.That limited their exposure to wider habitat.
So when the humans arrived, Cave bear’s habitat, these caves, were raided by a relatively smaller, but nimbler, more agile, more intelligent and more organized, group hunting animals- Humans ! Humans were also looking to dwell in these caves and they either killed these cave bears or chased them away. Since these cave bears had not ventured much in many generations, they could not survive these evictions. They became extinct !
Can you see the analogy here ? Even as an organization-You can’t keep on tossing skeletons in the dark corners of your caves and stay in the same cave. Explore new opportunities, new areas, new possibilities. Some will stick, some may not. But in the process you will build an expanded ecosystem. As I always point out when I see companies chasing Amazon’s offering- You need to build your own ecosystem of unique offerings, that complement each other. Competing with Amazon’s ecosystem is meaningless.
So, can Oracle salvage itself via Tik Tok ? Heck no. While there are many “synergies” floating around- none of them make any sense, considering the spot Oracle is in currently. I don’t see this as anything else than an organization that feels extremely out of date, and is so stuck in the past, trying to associate itself with something from the present. That is all it is. Unfortunately, this is meaningless. Oracle could have invested in upcoming startups in Tech and AI domain and leveraged that as a “transformation” opportunity. I can identify at least two categories of emerging Tech startups that Oracle could have invested in, and could have taken a path to real transformation. Remember what JDA did with Blue Yonder. Stuck with their gigantic, firm image of “conventional” Supply Chain solutions providers, they accquired an enterprise AI company “Blue Yonder” and then aligned their whole strategy with this new brand.
But Oracle is buying Tick Tok. The Bear still is not willing to get out of its cave and find new caves in new terrains. It is just hoarding things in its cave that are not useful.
Views expressed are my own.