Case | HBS Case Collection | November 2000 (Revised May 2002)

Oracle Corporation

by Frances X. Frei and Hanna Rodriguez-Farrar


Oracle Corp., the world's second-largest independent software company (behind Microsoft) was the world's dominant supplier of database software. Oracle also sold application software, such as the popular enterprise resource planning and customer relationship management applications. This case explores how, in less than one year, Oracle trimmed $1 billion in its internal cost structure. Nearly every aspect of Oracle's business, including operations, sales, and fulfillment, was affected. While reducing costs, Oracle also attempted to create a "pull" environment for sales by touting the results of using its own products as an example of potential cost savings. By understanding how Oracle reduced its internal expenses through automating, standardizing, and centralizing its internal and external business processes, students explore several questions: 1) When is off-the-shelf software appropriate for implementation, and when does "best of breed" or custom software make more sense? 2) How does delivering application hosting services differ from traditional software development?

Keywords: Organizational Change and Adaptation; Internet; Service Operations; Service Delivery; Software; Management Teams; Innovation and Invention; Web Services Industry; Information Technology Industry;


Frei, Frances X., and Hanna Rodriguez-Farrar. "Oracle Corporation." Harvard Business School Case 601-043, November 2000. (Revised May 2002.)