opens fire on Oracle at Toronto event

When Oracle Corp. (NASDAQ: ORCL) says it has cloud computing offerings, it’s really not cloud computing, insisted a executive onstage at the Toronto stop of the company’s Cloudforce Tour Monday.

Parker Harris, executive vice-president of technology at San Francisco-based, referring to Oracle as “a company in California,” said it’s really a “false cloud” that is not efficient, not democratic and customers should beware.

“It’s not cloud computing. They are selling hardware, they’re selling software … they want you to put it in a data centre. They want you to hire people to manage it,” said Harris at the event’s opening keynote.

Oracle wasn’t the only vendor that was slighted during the keynote. Microsoft Corp. and SAP AG, too, took jabs from Harris who called their on-premise technologies “old school.”

Just last week, announced the availability by end of year of mobile clients for its collaborative Chatter platform for Apple Inc.’s iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch, Research in Motion Ltd.’s BlackBerry, and Google Android devices.

Onstage, Harris said the emergence of mobile devices have resulted in a huge shift in how the Web is used. “It’s not just e-mail. We have full computers in our pockets,” he said.

Social networking, video and search, too, have changed the Web, said Harris. Moreover, every new computing cycle is accessible to 10 times more users.

Several Canadian customers were onstage including Toronto-based Porter Airlines Inc. who uses the’s Service Cloud to understand the customer in terms of information about flights, marketing campaigns and the ability to gather intelligence from social media.

“Just about every industry looks to have a full view of the customer,” said Shalit, vice-president of Porter Airlines.

The airline carrier was looking for a platform that would also reduce costs and expedite development time to system deployment, said Shalit.

Moving forward, Porter Airlines is very much interested in taking advantage of collaboration capabilities to better understand customers and identify opportunities. “Collaboration is a big piece for us,” said Shalit.

Another customer, Toronto-based safety roof anchor company Pro-Bel, was also onstage to share its use of development platform Pro-Bel chief information officer Jason Fung said the company now has the ease of designing and launching systems for sales and marketing and product management with little training beyond the programming languages the developers already know.

“We don’t need to use any external programs or systems,” said Fung.

Fung said that because all of Pro-Bel’s systems run in, the company can take advantage of Chatter functionality that will automatically be available.

Customer DAC Group, a Toronto-based marketing agency, uses Chatter with its project management system to help its sales teams understand and remain abreast of what is happening across the industry.

“Human capital control is a big deal for us,” said Dan Tenby, vice-president of digital platforms at DAC Group.

In an interview, Kendall Collins, chief marketing officer with, talked about the company’s mobile strategy and the recognition of a shift in computing that is the smart phone. “The fact that cloud computing, social computing and mobile computing are all happening at the same time is amazing,” said Collins.

Mobile computing has created new paradigms of real-time access, geo-location, touch, camera, said Collins. But enterprises have been trying to deploy mobile apps for decades, succeeding only with e-mail as a productivity tool. “Our number one goal for the enterprise has been to make it so easy for people to take advantage of mobile apps and for people to create new ones,” said Collins.

That direction by will help enterprise IT leaders who will continue to be under pressure to deliver mobility to end users, said Collins.

Follow Kathleen Lau on Twitter: @KathleenLau.

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