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The Cloud Partners Need to be Strategic Advisors

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The corporate realm has always been famous for making plans for decades ahead. But not anymore. After several waves of the pandemic and the looming danger of other viral diseases, businesses worldwide continue their rope walk through unchartered territory, facing new challenges every day—inside and outside the organization. No wonder this unprecedented predicament became a tailwind to the growing cloud migration worldwide. Today, amidst sky-rocketing competitions across the industry verticals, the cloud plays an integral role in helping businesses bridge geographical boundaries, sustain momentum amidst potential lockdown scenarios, and address inconsistencies in IT infrastructures.

Oracle has been impressive in navigating organizations through the cloud landscape with strong revenue growth for cloud infrastructure and applications-as-a-service in the recent past. I recently got in touch with Kapil Makhija, Vice President -Technology Cloud, Oracle India, who talks further about the cloud ecosystem in India through an exclusive interview. An industry thought leader with more than two decades of technology experience, Kapil is a part of the leadership team of Oracle India, responsible for Oracle’s Cloud business.

In conversation with Kapil Makhija, Vice President—Technology (Cloud), Oracle India.

According to reports, the overall Indian public cloud services market is expected to reach $10.8 billion by 2025, growing at a CAGR of 24.1 percent. Realistically, what’s the status of cloud adoption in India?
India has been on a flourishing cloud journey for many years now. The pandemic significantly accelerated its pace across sectors as businesses realized the importance of the cloud in ensuring continuity. Even in the current year, Gartner forecasts that the worldwide end-user spending on public cloud services will grow 20.4 percent in 2022 to total $494.7 billion, up from $410.9 billion in 2021. Additionally, in 2023, end-user spending is expected to reach nearly $600 billion. While the early adopters of the cloud are now reaping its benefits, there is now considerable acceptance even by cloud-reluctant organizations as they realize the value, including better innovation, cost optimization, disaster recovery, business continuity, and agility.

Along with the cloud, organizations will also increase the acceptance of technologies like AI/ML, which will further reiterate the importance of the cloud. Backed by these trends, one of Oracle’s customers, an IT services firm, has expressed its plans to have a zero data center policy in the next 3 to 4 years. This indicates that we can expect many more organizations to be cloud-first in the next few years. At Oracle as well, we have witnessed significant growth in the last few years, and our global cloud footprint is currently expanding to meet triple-digit growth. To keep in line with the rising demand, Oracle plans to have at least 44 cloud regions by the end of 2022 to serve its customers at the best capacity.

The new digital culture is really new to the organizations, and most of them don’t have the means to go for a go-around in terms of cloud migration. They need to get it right the first time. How do you perceive the need for cloud partners to be strategic advisors?
As cloud acceptance rises, organizations aim to build their cloud strategies most effectively and ensure better ROI. The right cloud strategy must offer a competitive advantage, efficiency of the process, and cost-effectiveness to any and every organization. However, some businesses are still reluctant to explore the technology and further optimize their operations. Along with this, many organizations don’t have the required skill set within their business and therefore feel much more reluctant to experiment. This is where a responsible cloud provider comes in.

A cloud provider must aim to simplify the customer’s cloud journey even before it begins and continue to do so after implementation as well. Also, as organizations expand their cloud strategies further and include other emerging technologies in the mix, there are some expected challenges they would need to be ready for. Here, it becomes imperative for a cloud provider to be within constant reach for the customers and help put best practices in place.

A responsible cloud provider must also be aligned with the organization’s goals of ROI and ensure there are enough opportunities to reduce the investment and increase the returns at the best performance. In addition, the responsibility to train the partners also lies with them. A partner is usually an extension of the cloud provider; therefore, they should be provided with the right skill set to ensure customer success.

How does Oracle play the role of more than just a cloud provider and set a benchmark for the industry?
With its four decades of experience, Oracle believes that a cloud provider’s responsibility shouldn’t end at cloud migration. It must start from there. With its 15,000+ customer base in India, Oracle understands the need to be present for the customer consistently throughout cloud acceptance, implementation, and beyond. We regularly ensure to implement strategies that would educate stakeholders and upskill partners. We also constantly aim that any and every query by the customer is instantly replied to in the most efficient manner.

We offer options like a universal credits program, pay-as-you-go, and Oracle Support Rewards, which help ensure better cloud economics for the customers. At Oracle, we also offer the industry’s lowest egress cost for outbound data transfer only to avoid any hidden costs for the customer and ensure lower overall investment for them. Our partner strategy is also aligned with ensuring customer success. We aim to equip our partners with the right tools and strategies to help customers leverage the cloud, drive innovation and optimize their IT infrastructure.

Additionally, we offer Oracle support which provides the support coverage needed for business success. With essential software updates and new releases, we also provide support tools and 24/7 services to help the customers mitigate risk, reduce costs, and gain a competitive advantage.

Could you tell us a case study of Oracle elevating enterprises’ cloud journey?
Oracle has managed to help with the digital transformation journeys of many organizations, and Manappuram Finance is one such significant organization. Being in the BFSI space, the organization needed to push its digitization agenda efficiently to keep up with the market demand. Therefore, to ensure agility, innovation, and scalability, the organization moved two of the largest firms, Manappuram Finance and Asirvad Microfinance, to Oracle and started their digital transformation journey. They found that the cloud can be extremely transformational; however, they needed the right partner with the right services, and that is when they chose Oracle for this journey. Post-deployment, beyond ensuring scalability, agility, and security, at the moment, they witness 8X performance in Finance. Also, within five years, they aim to achieve 35 percent cost optimization by leveraging OCI. With such significant savings, they managed to truly reap the benefits that the cloud has to offer. After the successful migration of two of their firms, they are also planning to move the smaller firms and migrate them in a phased manner.

There is a huge cloud market in the making. How is Oracle looking at this huge opportunity? What’s your road map in India?
For Oracle, India is one of the key markets, and we have been extremely dedicated to ensuring the excellent delivery of products here. Our customers, too, have been receptive to our efforts, and therefore we have witnessed significant growth in acceptance of our services in the country.

To continually serve our customers, we have two-second generation MeitY impaneled cloud regions in India - one in Mumbai and one in Hyderabad. Beyond that, we also expanded West Cloud Region capacity with Nxtra by Airtel. After analyzing the market demand and customers’ businesses, we have constantly ensured the best performance. We focus on customers across sectors, including healthcare, manufacturing, and BFSI, to name a few, and have been able to deliver products beneficial to customers in a highly regulated space. India is an extremely significant market for us, and we will continue to bring in products and updates relevant to our customers in the market to ensure a smooth digital transformation for them.

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