SAP gets Community –what’s up with Oracle?

I’m at SAP’s campus in Palo Alto, they’re hosting a community roundtable, an event focused on Social Media and Community. This is my third or fourth time here at SAP, they host quite a few community events for social media. Their employees are here, (such as their “Chief Evangelist”) friendly and engaging.

Oracle has a HUGE campus down the freeway in Redwood Shores, yet they’ve never hosted a community event for the social media or web community that I know of.

Why? Like most companies, it’s part of their DNA, it may be due to the leadership, as culture is often defined that way.

I’ve suggested that Oracle host a Lunch 2,0 (A community event I’m connected to) and I wasn’t taken that seriously. My respected peer and former mentor Shel Israel is doing research for SAP (there are dozens of interviews) around social media and community, they get it. My colleague Robert Scoble doesn’t think they get any respect either.

What’s a community? Community is another word for Market, which is another term for customers and prospects. I guess Oracle just doesn’t get that yet it..and it’s not about having a lot of blogs.

Oracle, when are you going to open up? Microsoft did, Google is trying, I launched Hitachi’s community back in 2005 (not there anymore), and quite a few other tech companies. Let go a bit, we’re waiting, hoping, and waiting.

I’m being a little hard on Oracle, but when they open up, I’ll promote, show up, and blog it. Here’s just one way to get started.

Update: What’s up with Oracle? Jake has left a comment on this post, pointing to the Oracle blog, so far I’m impressed, from a first glance, it’s not pro-vendor, it’s topical. I’ll be keeping an eye out, thanks Jake.

Update 2: In October, Oracle has hosted a Lunch 2.0 it was a success with over 200 attendees.

  • http://oracleappslab.com Jake

    Jeremiah,
    Have a look at our blog. We’re trying to turn the ship. Feel free to add your thoughts.
    SAP has done a nice job engaging the community, but I have yet to see an effect on the core product. As with us, turning the ship takes time.
    Jake

  • http://www.web-strategist.com/blog/ jeremiah_owyang

    Jake

    Thanks, I’ll keep an eye on your blog, I didn’t know about this one, and have now promoted it by adding it right on the post

    Thanks for responding and engaging quickly. I look forward to Oracle stepping forward –I’m here to help, let me know in the future (email to top right) about other programs to reach out to the community.

  • http://oracleappslab.com Jake

    Actually, you might be interested in the focus group our Apps UX team is holding.
    http://oracleappslab.com/2007/08/15/applications-user-experience-wants-you/

    You might be interested in the Connect project we’re running right now.
    The initial post:
    http://oracleappslab.com/2007/08/07/oracle-gets-social/
    And more after that. Dennis, Michael and Larry at ZDNet covered it, as did Anne.

    Right up your alley.
    Jake

  • http://www.plansphere.com Tim

    Note also that Oracle supported BarCampBlock this past weekend (as one of the many event sponsors as well as an active observer).

    Full disclosure: I work at Oracle.

  • http://redplasticmonkey.wordpress.com Bill Johnston

    Hi Jeremiah – Thanks again for the Roundtable mention.

    Just wanted to point out that CommmunityNext didn’t have anything to do with the roundtable. I actually organize these events with George Jaquette of intuit, more or less independently of the community conferences I organize for Forum One.

    To echo your comments – SAP has been incredibly supportive of the roundtables.

  • http://www.web-strategist.com/blog/ jeremiah_owyang

    I’ve updated the text, sorry for the confusion.

    SAP’s been great supporting social media.

  • http://www.web-strategist.com/blog/ jeremiah_owyang

    Tim

    I think that’s great that Oracle sponsored an event. Let me know when Oracle wants to HOST a social media related event, I’ll be one of the first to sign up and help promote in a community spirit.

  • http://www.web-strategist.com/blog/ jeremiah_owyang

    Wow, It’s just 16 hours later and I’ve received a few emails from Oracle employees reaching out to me.

    The message their sending me? “We hear you, and we’re working hard on it, stay tuned”

    I think that’s great, they’re getting responsive.

  • http://scissormonkey.wordpress.com Thomas

    The interaction you have initiated with Oracle is one of the reasons I appreciate social media and blogging.

    I am impressed that Oracle employees have reached out to let you know that they are working on changing. Just that in itself, acknowledging that customers are being heard and the issues are being addressed is a great start for getting perceptions, on both sides, turned around.

  • Justin Kestelyn

    Jeremiah, with all due respect, “community” is not about talking about community, either.

    We are focusing on efforts that can actually make an impact, and that takes time.

  • http://www.web-strategist.com/blog/ jeremiah_owyang

    Justin, take a look at what’s happening at Lunch 2.0 events, no one is ‘talking’ about community either.

    It’s about companies opening up to the industry in an open way.

    I know it takes time, I’ve done it at Hitachi.

  • Justin Kestelyn

    I agree with that – my point only is that some ways of “opening up” are more “visible” than others. We have not done a good job there, but we’re working on it.

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  • John Thomas

    Jeremiah,

    You were actually right on with your assessment of Oracle and their community.

    I am a long time Oracle blogger and am very active in the Oracle User community.

    I have noticed that Oracle as a whole “tolerates” the community bloggers whom it links to on its Community page but really does not support them.

    As a perfect example, Oracle recently started an Oracle ACE program…one of the premises of the program is to have the community (bloggers included) help evangelize and get the word out on Oracle Fusion Middleware.

    Well I have heard personally from 4 other prominent Oracle bloggers that Oracle has not even acknowledged their interest (via nomination forms) in becoming Oracle ACE’s and continues to only focus on those who are Super Geeks (for lack of a better word) and are extremely technical in some Oracle discipline to become Oracle ACE’s

    If a company wants people who will help evangelize a product you do indeed want a mix of technical and more marketing orientated people (bloggers) to help get the word out.

    Even Microsoft understands this and as a result they have a very active blogging community that is growing and evangelizes Microsoft to the hilt.

    The danger Oracle faces is that if they don’t truly begin to value Oracle Bloggers…those bloggers will soon see that their effort is wasted and will simply stop blogging about Oracle.

    Oracle has not really made much headway (Outside of its OpenWorld conference) so far with its marketing push for Oracle Fusion Middleware for example and truly needs its blogging community to get the word out about Oracle Fusion Middleware for the software stack to gain significant market reach.

    At the end of the day…in the big picture, although Oracle has huge market share in its verticals (ERP, Database etc) if you were to stop the average person on the street and ask them what is Oracle and what do they do…they would not have a clue. Whereas if you asked that person who is Google, Microsoft or even IBM…they would have some idea …thus Oracle and its somewhat insular and smug employees need to keep that in mind when they wonder why they are viewed as closed minded and rather non important in the scheme of the blogging world and in terms of community.

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