The Oracle Corp. headquarters in Redwood City, Calif., shown on April 26, 2000. (AP/Paul Sakuma)

In a recent keynote, Oracle chief executive Larry Ellison suggested the company’s largest competitors are no longer the most formidable.

Ellison provided the closing keynote at Oracle’s new human capital management industry conference in Las Vegas on Thursday. After demonstrating Oracle’s own human capital management software, which manages internal communications, talent recruiting and other systems on an Internet cloud, Ellison described how elements of the software were inspired by social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. Oracle’s software as a newsfeed feature, common to both sites.

“It’s a modern, consumer based [user-interface] as opposed to an industrial-based” user interface, he said. “We have adopted a social paradigm” to make personnel systems easier to navigate, Ellison said, adding later, “there are no classes for Facebook, no classes for Twitter, no classes for buying a bottle of coconut water from Amazon.com.”

Human capital management services will likely grow in the next few years, according to research from Gartner, which predicts that by 2017, 20 percent of large global businesses will have implemented a software-as-a-service core HCM solution. Other computing giants such as IBM and SAP also offer HCM software — and these two are two of Oracle’s largest competitors, Ellison said.

But in a question-and-answer session after his keynote, Ellison mentioned a “new generation of competitors that are small but agile,” counting among them Amazon and Salesforce. “We’re focusing on them as we build our next generation of products.”

Oracle is “building modern socially enabled products and software applications in the cloud, and SAP doesn’t do that. That’s something that Salesforce does, let’s say, or Workday does,” Ellison said.”We’re looking at providing the database in the cloud, and our Java services in the cloud, and that’s not something that IBM does. That’s something that Amazon does.”

Later, he noted that Oracle also competes with start-ups for talent.

“Who do we lose people to? Start-ups, mainly,” he said. “We don’t lose people to IBM, we don’t lose people to SAP. . .We lose people to dreams — their dreams of joining a start-up at a small company, making a big difference at a small company, and striking gold when that company goes public.”