The appointment of Mark Hurd as co-president of Oracle (NASDAQ: ORCL) has been lauded largely because of Hurd's hardware experience, but Oracle's software business could benefit from the hire too.
Oracle's announcement that Hurd had been a hired a month after his ouster from HP (NYSE: HPQ) stressed Hurd's experience integrating hardware and software, a key strategic goal of Oracle since the acquisition of Sun.
Oracle's statement noted Hurd's experience with Teradata when he was at NCR, and HP was the initial hardware and integration technology provider for the Oracle Exadata Storage Server when it launched two years ago.
Gartner analyst Rita Sallam, who worked on business intelligence and data warehousing issues at Oracle for 10 years, noted two other HP projects that could mean good things for Oracle's BI and enterprise performance management (EPM) unit: The acquisition of Knightsbridge and the Neoview data warehouse.
"Mark Hurd seemed to recognize the importance of BI as a key driver and business value and therefore IT investment," Sallam told eCRMguide. "He really spearheaded the Neoview program at HP and a focus on BI solutions delivery in general with the acquisition of Knightsbridge."
Sallam sees business intelligence growing at Oracle under Hurd — as well as a possible move into services, which Hurd did at HP with the acquisition of EDS.
"With the combination of Oracle Exadata and Oracle's BI/EPM products, he actually has a strong product base and market position from which to build and execute on a strong BI strategy which extends across the Oracle software/hardware stack," said Sallam.
"What is missing at Oracle is a strong BI services organization or services organization in general," she added. "I suspect that is the perspective that Mark Hurd will bring to Oracle — build Oracle into an HP or IBM. The missing piece for Oracle is a services organization, which could be an interesting next acquisition for Oracle."
Sallam said possible acquisition targets could be systems integration (SI) services vendors such as Accenture (NYSE: ACN) or CSC (NYSE: CSC), but she added: "I haven't really thought about best fit at the company level, and such an acquisition would not be without issues — like the big SAP practices that any large SI would likely have."
Gartner ranks Oracle second behind SAP in BI, analytics and performance management market share.
But before Hurd takes over, Oracle will first have to fend off a lawsuit from HP.
Oracle may have more to say about Hurd next week, when the company reports its quarterly results.