Oracle CEO Hurd: It's Not Easy Being An Enterprise CIO, But We're Here To Help

Oracle is still positioning itself as a vendor that enterprises can't live without, despite a string of lackluster financial quarters and database newcomers nipping at its heels among a variety of other challenges.

In a keynote at the Oracle Openworld conference in San Francisco Monday, Oracle co-CEO Mark Hurd brought out several CIOs from top global customers to talk about how they're using Oracle's cloud, social, mobile and analytics products to improve the way they do business.

The job of the CIO is the toughest in enterprise technology: Not only are they tasked with running IT operations as efficiently as possible, they're also dealing with increasingly tight budgets, Hurd said in the keynote.

[Related: Ellison Says New Oracle Tech Automates, Modernizes Apps]

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CIOs also have to deal with lots of unsolicited advice from business unit leaders, as well as pressure from the CEO, Hurd said.

The good news, Hurd said, is that Oracle's SaaS and cloud infrastructure offerings gives CIOs a way to avoid spending the majority of their IT budgets on keeping legacy apps up and running. By moving to cloud apps, CIOs can also leverage social and mobile and make sales more efficient, he said.

Intel CIO Kim Stevenson, who joined Hurd onstage for a chat, said her company is using Oracle software in its shift to mobile, which involves building chips that run in cars and wearable technology as opposed to PCs.

"It's a different business model than we're used to," Stevenson said in the keynote.

Intel has always had a strong marketing team but needed to rethink its approach for the mobile market, Stevenson said. That meant expanding its focus to contacting new types of customers through its outbound call center, she said.

Typically, companies have to spend more money when expanding their sales scope into new markets. Instead, Intel built a business-to-business sales system that uses Oracle social and marketing automation software, Stevenson said.

That system reduced the cost of each qualified lead from $300 to $25 in three years, while also speeding the process of turning those leads into sales, Stevenson said.

Procter & Gamble CIO Filippo Passerini said his company uses Oracle's social and big data software to ensure that its supply chain -- which serves some 4 billion customers daily -- runs smoothly so that products are always available on store shelves.

Oracle software also helps Procter & Gamble keep close tabs on which products are selling and which are not, Passerini said.

Oracle is also helping Xerox in its "fairly significant transformation" from a company that sells printers to one that's reshaping itself as a services business, Xerox CIO Steve Little said.

Xerox is using Oracle's HCM (human capital management) software to consolidate its 150 payroll systems around the world, and its Taleo products for talent management, according to Little.

Xerox has many 25- and 30-year old systems "that basically do the same thing," Little said. With Oracle software, Xerox now aims to drive common process throughout its global businesses, he said.

While some industry watchers believe Oracle itself is a legacy IT vendor that's struggling to reinvent itself around the current wave of hot technologies, the CIOs Hurd brought up onstage presented a very different picture.