Following an aggressive acquisition strategy, Oracle's main goal is to become the worldwide leader in the applications market, a position that it expects to achieve within the next three years in Latin America.
To accomplish this, the firm's strategies include launching new releases for each acquired company and working more intensively with partners to target Latin American SMEs.
Oracle's senior VP for Latin America, Luiz Meisler, talked to BNamericas to provide further details about these activities.
BNamericas: Is Oracle still on track to become number one in Latin America's applications market?
Meisler: Oracle has invested over US$21bn in acquisitions and we are optimistic about reaching number one in every market. It is not enough to be number one in several areas, such as CRM, human resources and sectors like financial services and government [as is the case for Oracle today]. We want to be number one in everything. After the acquisitions we promised the clients of those companies that there would be no problems and that we would maximize the return on their investments. We said we would not force anyone to migrate to other versions of our products and we guaranteed them that we would maintain the products [from the acquired companies] in the future. We have kept that promise.
BNamericas: Oracle recently launched its Applications Unlimited portfolio. How has that been received?
Meisler: With Applications Unlimited we are launching the last version of all the applications of the companies Oracle has acquired, and with it we are able to announce an important achievement which is that all clients are satisfied with what they have today. Companies today can maintain what they have and if they want to look for other products outside the Oracle suite they have, we offer a series of technology products that makes it easier for them to integrate applications. In terms of our products we are reaching a good position, the client base is satisfied and we have a really clear future in relation to the products.
BNamericas: And what can you tell us about the market strategy to achieve your targets?
Meisler: In relation to market strategies, we will continue with a direct model for large accounts but supported by the entire partner ecosystem and with an indirect business model through partners to target SMEs. In this segment, we are looking for partnerships with local companies, integrators and distributors that can add value to our solutions. With this strategy we will be able to become number one [in the applications market] within three years. We are pretty sure that with the annual growth we have recorded, of over 30%, and the accounts we have, we will be number one.
BNamericas: What are the main needs for SMEs in Latin America?
Meisler: With globalization of the economy, SMEs' needs are not that different from those at large corporations. The largest difference is that they cannot afford the same costs, so they have similar needs but with a lower investment capacity and we need to have solutions for this segment. We are doing that through partners, in order to improve cost reduction. In addition, we have many implementation accelerators, which are similar to templates [or pre-configurations] that speed up deployment and reduce project costs rapidly. The idea is to have the same products available for SMEs as for large clients, but with more economical implementation.
BNamericas: How would you evaluate the interest from Latin American companies for Fusion Middleware?
Meisler: By the first half of fiscal year 2007 [ended November 30, 2006], we doubled [Fusion Middleware sales] in Latin America year-over-year, so it is a very important focus for Oracle globally and in the region. The company has given this market an important push and we understand this is a business unit that is as large or even larger than our technology division's database sales and perhaps the same size as the applications market.
We believe Oracle has important leadership in this market because there is no specific leader for the entire Fusion Middleware portfolio. There are some niche players that have more market share than us but we believe the number of products and solutions we have available would help us reach the leadership no one has today. We do not expect to grow below 50%.
BNamericas: How have sales of Unbreakable Linux evolved in Latin America since its launch last October?
Meisler: It has grown plenty, but not at the rate we would have expected. Oracle understands the adoption of Linux is going slower than we would like, although it is still fast. Linux has a higher level of security and stability than many people would think. With this portfolio we would like to demonstrate that we trust in the product's security and scalability and to motivate clients to migrate their corporate applications to Linux. We are seeing this at an accelerated level but we do believe it could happen even faster.
BNamericas: How do you see the adoption of Linux in Latin America?
Meisler: I don't have exact information, but I believe it is coming at a really accelerated rhythm because in many governments that we have contact with most of their public entities have included Linux as part of their strategic projects. In addition, the private sector is also adopting Linux, not so much for corporate applications but more for specific applications used by particular divisions. So the greatest opportunity is to make the private sector adopt Linux for their corporate applications because we believe it offers more stability.
Luiz Meisler is senior vice president for Oracle Latin America and is responsible for the region's sales and consulting group.
Meisler started at the company in 1998 as VP of operations, sales and consulting at Oracle Brazil and Argentina (Mercosur region). In Brazil, he was responsible for the consulting division organization and later charged with directing the consulting business throughout Latin America.
Before joining Oracle, Meisler was a partner in charge of South America consulting at PwC for 12 years and chief operating officer for Brazilian retail chain Lojas Americanas for five years.
About the company
Oracle develops, manufactures, markets and distributes computer software for public and private sector clients. Oracle's applications cover systems software and business applications software. The company also offers consulting, education, support and outsourcing services.