Oracle’s Head of Revenue Operations Told to Cut Costs, Insiders Say

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  • Oracle’s marketing team “imploded” following layoffs and the departure of its CMO this summer.
  • Its new leader, Jason Maynard, has a mandate to cut costs and has been called an ‘axe man’.
  • Some insiders are skeptical, citing the new leaders’ lack of communication and business expertise.

The trouble started shortly after Ariel Kelman, Oracle’s chief marketing officer, learned earlier this summer that the 2,000-person marketing organization he had built over two years was going to be restructured.

The restructuring — which current and former employees have described as more of a teardown — began when Kelman was moved under an executive in Oracle’s NetSuite software business, Jason Maynard.

Maynard had been tapped to oversee a new, lean organization called revenue operations that bears little resemblance to the marketing department under Kelman’s tenure.

And Maynard’s new directive is to cut costs, several current and former employees told Insider, as Oracle moves forward with integrating medical records company Cerner, which it acquired for 28 billion in a cash deal earlier this year, its largest-ever acquisition.

With a background in finance and a laser focus on revenue, sources said Maynard could be the right person at the right time to lead Oracle’s sales and marketing operations. This is all the more important as the company’s CEO, Safra Catz, would have is seeking to cut $1 billion in costs from existing businesses as a result of the Cerner deal.

But since Maynard’s appointment as head of revenue operations, he’s only had one call with his staff after another marketing executive, Juergen Lindner, left the company, according to a person familiar with the matter. situation. That lack of communication contributed to the “complete chaos” described by Insider following widespread layoffs in August.

Prior to the formation of Revenue Operations, Oracle had dedicated sales teams for small businesses, midsize businesses, and large enterprises. Now its new structure requires the department to sell to companies of all sizes, as long as they are in the same industry. A source told Insider that means sellers will sell products to sectors they’ve never had before, including healthcare, which is now a key focus for Cerner.

Oracle declined to comment on the layoffs and restructuring, but pointed to 27% growth in its NetSuite business in its latest earnings.

“Axe Man”

Maynard has led NetSuite’s sales, marketing and business development functions since 2015, and was a former Wall Street analyst who covered NetSuite’s 2007 IPO, he said in his LinkedIn profile. He did not respond to a request for comment from Insider.

Another person familiar with Maynard’s reputation said he was dubbed “the man with the hatchet” after he shut down NetSuite’s Bronto email marketing platform in 2021.

Some sources have said that this mindset is exactly what Oracle is looking for at the moment, and could signal the company’s desire to eventually combine all of its enterprise software groups into a single unit.

As Oracle embarks on aggressive cost-cutting measures, which Wall Street sees as a positive sign, Maynard may have more hatchets in store. Those cuts could affect what’s left of the marketing organization, and the remaining employees are worried about being laid off after the company’s CloudWorld event in October, sources said.

But the problem with shrinking marketing staff as its cloud products expand is that Oracle risks losing the edge it worked so hard to gain, former employees said.

“Oracle should invest in letting customers know that we are, and should be, a cloud leader,” said a former Oracle marketer. “We should be doing more marketing, not less, right now.”

Still, other insiders thought there was room to cut. For example, one marketing employee said the team before the layoffs had a slew of redundant marketing analytics teams, and the overall team was “so big and siled” that it could be difficult to make work.

Marketing value is also particularly hard to demonstrate, and it’s usually one of the first teams to be cut in belt-tightening measures, sources said. So if Oracle can keep selling without its army of marketers, it could prove the success of a lean marketing model.

The Rise of NetSuite

When the restructuring began, Kelman and its top executives either left the company or were laid off, as Insider previously reported, and Maynard transferred his direct reports from NetSuite to take on new roles related to marketing and services. sales.

These new leaders include Mei He, group vice president of digital marketing; Dave Rosenberg, senior vice president of field and industry marketing; Tom Germack, senior vice president of sales planning and analytics; and Jennifer Smith, group vice president of event marketing.

Bought by Oracle for $9.3 billion in 2016, NetSuite’s cloud-based accounting and business management software has been a consistent revenue generator for the database giant. Ellison was one of NetSuite’s co-founders and early investors, and had such a large stake in the company that its acquisition by Oracle was the subject of an Oracle investor lawsuit.

Sources said NetSuite operated as its own realm within the Oracle empire. The team of around 100 marketers didn’t mix much with the larger marketing unit, working in a different building and enjoying “freedom of movement” in using software that Oracle marketing couldn’t, a former employee told Insider.

NetSuite’s software, which is aimed at businesses with less than 1,000 people and starts at $99 for one employee per month to use, mostly follows a “light footprint” marketing model where potential customers see demos of its products. and decide to buy, sources said.

Oracle’s plan is to replicate NetSuite’s marketing strategy — which doesn’t require the same workforce of thousands of marketers — for the company as a whole, multiple sources told Insider.

But there are some questions about how it will work, given that many of Oracle’s other products are much more complex and expensive than NetSuite and sold to large enterprises rather than small businesses. Additionally, products like Oracle’s cloud infrastructure face competition from tech giants like Amazon, making marketing a key lever in this fight.

“It’s a very, very different model than traditional Oracle, which is massive deals over $10 million, long deployments, long sales cycles,” said a person familiar with marketing.

Several former employees also questioned whether the management team at NetSuite, which operated on a much smaller scale than Oracle, could rise to the challenge of overseeing all of the tech giant’s marketing and sales operations. .

“NetSuite was a small division,” one person said. “Are all these people ready to scale into a company 10 times bigger than they’ve ever done?”

Amazon’s Big Hire

Kelman, who had been poached from Amazon Web Services, Oracle’s cloud rival, was a high-profile recruit brought in by Oracle founder, executive chairman and chief technical officer Larry Ellison in hopes he would help change the perception of Oracle’s important cloud business.

Oracle wants to be seen as a direct competitor with AWS, but market research does not yet rank its cloud in the same league as AWS, Microsoft Azure (Amazon’s biggest competitor) or Google Cloud (which poached its CEO, Thomas Kurian, from Oracle).

Although Kelman reported to Catz, he told Insider in 2020 that he was still working closely with Ellison on cloud programs — a major initiative for the company’s billionaire founder.

But things started falling apart when Kelman and Catz disagreed on spending and budgets, as Insider previously reported. Kelman had negotiated marquee sports sponsorships for some of Oracle’s business — all of which were expensive, but approved by Ellison himself, sources said.

Catz comes from a financial background and has been the mastermind behind many Oracle acquisitions over the years. She is also responsible for much of her ongoing profits and is known internally to care a lot about expenses. In June, Oracle reported approximately 40% margin for its fourth trimester.

Yet Kelman was highly regarded within marketing and had unified the company’s disparate marketers into a single organization with multiple pillars: enterprise marketing, technology marketing, HR and business applications software, advertising, and experience. customer.

But on August 1, a big wave of layoffs hit Kelman’s teams. That morning, nearly 50% of certain marketing groups received phone calls indicating they were being fired, including Kelman’s top executives, multiple sources told Insider. Those affected also included people working on marketing and advertising cloud products.

Oracle’s marketing structure, as it once was, is gone. “The marketing function as Ariel envisioned it has imploded,” said a former marketing employee.

It will now be up to Maynard to rebuild him in the mean, lean style that Catz is going for.

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