Oracle announced it’s fourth quarter results yesterday. While the company met their guidance for the quarter, the stock market was unimpressed. The stock dropped 8% in after hours trading.
Maybe this is because the market and financial analysts don’t quite get the shift underway in the software market and, hence, don’t know where to look for the good news. The industry is in the midst of a fundamental change away from on-premises software purchases with IT in the lead. The future is in cloud or Saas software where line-of-business managers have more sway. The price model is also moving from large, one-time purchases of licenses with yearly maintenance agreements to a more simple subscription model where business buyers pay a monthly charge that is all inclusive.
According to the Oracle announcement, the SaaS application business revenue grew by 50% and added 500 new customers. The growth was across major applications such as HCM, CRM, and ERP. This is significant. Oracle is clearly getting traction in the cloud business application space. What is most important is that this traction is happening in parts of their software portfolio that represent the core of the business. This suggests that they are positioned well for the new order in the software industry. It’s good to hear that a new product line, such as the social enterprise products, are gaining ground. Hearing that the center of their application business is deftly navigating the changes in the industry should be creating confidence for customers and the market.
Unfortunately, Wall Street works by different rules. Investors look at growth on a quarterly basis instead of considering the longer term outlook. That’s bad since Oracle would appear to have figured out how to transform into the type of software company that will protect them from the young upstarts and old foes alike.