New Oracle Communications Head Shares Vision
Doug Suriano intends to better align the communications portfolio with Oracle Cloud, boosting its ability to serve the enterprise.
Oracle isn't likely the first (or second or third for that matter) company that comes to mind when you think of UC, but Doug Suriano, newly appointed head of the company's communications business unit, would like to get it in the running.
Suriano, who came to Oracle through the 2013 Tekelec acquisition, took on the position of GM and SVP of Oracle Communications in early May, filling the seat opened when former SVP and GM Bhaskar Gorti left the company for Alcatel-Lucent in January. Since then, he has pulled together the previously independent Acme, Tekelec, and OSS/BSS operations into a cohesive whole, the goal being to better serve its various communications constituents -- enterprises, service providers, content delivery networks, over-the-top providers, and mobile virtual network operators.
"We were serving a wide array of markets individually, and our customers were struggling to work efficiently with us. We saw synergy on the ... product front, as well as in development, consulting services, and marketing," he told me last week in a phone interview in which he shared his vision and strategy.
On the enterprise front, a new global sales force represents the entire communications portfolio, with help from channel and alliance partners in regions where the company doesn't have an adequate footprint, Suriano said. On the product front, the combined focus is on two areas: applications and network. The OSS/BSS, UC, analytics, and policy management products fall under applications, and the core signaling and session management products and application server comprise the network component.
Suriano said he built his strategy for Oracle Communications around the following five trends:
- IT and network convergence - With the virtualization of software and its components, the unit is going to be able to align its communications products with Oracle's booming cloud IT architecture, said Suriano, citing the 28% cloud revenue growth for fiscal 2015 Q4. "But we're going to have a little bit of a different twist, in that we understand our telco and enterprise customers on the communications side need a more than an IT network would typically get them in terms of reliability," he said. The plan is to implement a version of Oracle Cloud that recognizes the need for the lower latencies required of real-time communications as well as stateful transactions, Suriana said.
- Cloud collaboration - Oracle Communications' service provider, enterprise, and OTT customers "really would like to start collaborating more with each other," Suriano said. So the company's goal is to bring them together under a new paradigm that allows more openness and gives service providers a way to offer more capabilities to enterprises and, in the process, can better monetize their data networks and services. "We're building a common place for everybody to intersect."
- Improved customer experience - "This is really about helping our customers provide a better experience to their customers," Suriano said. Oracle Communications can do that by delivering more visibility into the customer experience via its network monitoring and analytics capabilities, he said. Its focus here is on big data and analytics, as well as on moving all service creation, service activation, billing, and charging mechanisms into the cloud. This will inevitably streamline provisioning times from six months to six days or even six minutes, Suriano added"Being able to put our applications in a cloud environment should allow very fast rollout of new services and really drive customer experience to new levels."
- Ubiquitous need for communications - Enterprise customers want to connect not only from smartphones but all sorts of other devices comprising the Internet of Things, he said. Oracle Communications wants to provide a way to do so with lower-cost infrastructure and operations, bringing costs into the pennies-per-month range versus the $50- to $70-per-month range.
- Demand for actionable insight - This isn't just a matter of giving customers visibility into their networks from a customer experience perspective, but on the operational side as well, Suriano said. "Yes, we're going to be virtualizing their applications to run on commodity hardware, but how do you actually lower operations costs? That is really going to be the actionable goal on insight and analysis that comes out of monitoring these networks and having a feedback loop back into operations."
The link between the service provider and enterprise is a natural one to follow. "We see our portfolio as being applicable to both markets -- if we're helping an enterprise customer enable real-time communications with voice over IP or use WebRTC to enable their call centers, it's the same software that we're selling to service providers that are trying to do the same thing," Suriano said.
Pointing to the UC suite in particular, Suriano said he sees the cloud as an inflection point on Oracle Communications' journey to serve the enterprise market in a greater way. To date, the company has established a strong niche presence among organizations that need either highly scalable or highly secure email implementations, he said. "But I think once we move our UC suite into the cloud, which we have plans to do later this year, we see this as an area that can fill out really nicely."