Global CIO: Oracle-Sun Biggest Challenge Isn't Technology—It's People
Sun's founder and its CEO exhort Sun employees to embrace Oracle, and Larry Ellison promises miminal Sun layoffs. Can they make it work?
Partly because of the endless melodrama around receiving acquisition approval from the EU, this deal has generated a stupendous amount of publicity for Oracle and for Larry Ellison's vision of what The New Oracle, pumped up by Sun's technology and passion, can become.
Ellison has explicitly said he values Sun's technology enormously—he said it's been "a national treasure for decades"—and last night he explicitly endorsed the high regard in which he holds Sun's people when he told the Wall Street Journal Oracle would be adding 2,000 sales and engineering employees to fully exploit Sun's products and technologies, and that those 2,000 new employees would exceed the number of Sun employees who'll be fired as redundant.
From that WSJ article:
Mr. Ellison said his planned 2,000 new hires will outnumber the cuts Oracle is making in Sun's head count, which stood at 27,596 as of Sept. 30. Oracle, which had 83,366 employees at the end of November, was widely expected to slash Sun's work force.
"We are not cutting Sun to profitability," Mr. Ellison said. "We think that this business will be profitable immediately."
So it would appear that Ellison and Oracle are extremely eager to get the vast majority of Sun's approximately 27,000 employees on board and driving the company's new high-end systems strategy. That, combined with the passionate exhortations from McNealy and Schwartz for Sun's employees to continue doing great things within the Oracle framework, lays the groundwork for overcoming the most-challenging part of the acquisition: creating a vibrant, unified, and open culture in which every employee's best work can be delivered.
If Oracle and Oracle/Sun can get that right--and if Sun's people can find the right combination of taking their passion forward while embracing the new Oracle entity--then the technology stuff will be easy.