Oracle Sun Microsystems acquisition

Don’t let emotions get in the way of the situation; take the deal on its face value.

The 27th January 2010 saw Oracle’s bid for Sun Microsystems go through.  Our customers have expressed concerns about the impact that this will have on their business, so we polled our customer base to find out what the main worries for end users were.  The results were:

  1. Potential loss of vendor leverage and increased dependency on Oracle
  2. Questions on strategic intent for platform and software products
  3. Changes to the culture of Oracle and Sun

Oracle is aware of these issues, but despite having already undertaken more than 60 acquisitions, this is like none other. It takes Oracle out of its comfort zone and having publicly committed to make the acquisition profitable, it will have to make changes to ensure the transition goes as well for users.  But this will not happen overnight by any stretch, and in the meantime, Oracle and Sun users must take steps to make the most of the situation.

I believe that this merger is an opportunity for IT directors and CIOs to build a relationship with Oracle that suits their terms, enabling them to take advantage of the years of expertise the two companies have built up. With the closer integration of systems and hardware and focussed R&D spend, Oracle, combined with Sun, should be seen as friend, not foe.

To achieve this, smart organisations should move to create a strong strategic relationship with Oracle, I have put these tips together that will help the transition go smoothly:

  1. Get architecture teams to work as closely to Oracle as possible.  In doing so, they can get a much better understanding of the product strategy and use this to their advantage
  2. Take the time to understand the Oracle culture, and pay close attention to the shift that will take place thanks to the acquisition
  3. Take a critical and detailed view of your current usage and requirements of the software.  This will give a good basis for when the time for renegotiations comes. This information is best gathered via software asset management (SAM)

In this way, CIOs can be prepared to respond positively when Oracle presents its new roadmaps. Oracle needs to make the acquisition profitable – Oracle’s customers can turn the acquisition to also positively create business value.


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