India, undoubtedly, was one among the preferred locations for Oracle, when the company announced its plans to add 20 new Gen 2 Cloud datacenters globally by the end of 2020, as part of its ‘in-country’ dual region strategy. The company has already opened its Mumbai region last year and made its cloud applications live there. The company is also set to open another region in Hyderabad this year.
Besides offering the customers the ease of consuming enterprise functionality as cloud applications, Oracle claims that it has built its Gen 2 Cloud from the ground up, keeping the businesses’ performance, pricing, security, country-specific data sovereignty requirements in mind. Which means that it can now take its cloud applications easily to the customers from regulated sectors such as government, BFSI, public sector companies, and telecom companies, etc.
India is also a strategic market for Oracle from the cloud application services or Software-as-a-Service(SaaS) business growth perspective also. According to industry estimates, in 1H 2019, India was among the top contributing regions in JAPAC for SaaS, with a 36.5 percent YoY growth rate. Oracle’s JAPAC Enterprise SaaS also grew 33.1 percent during the same period.
Arun Khehar, SVP-Applications, Oracle ECMEA speaks on how the new Gen 2 Cloud datacenters will help the company to tap the fast-growing SaaS market in India.
What kind of incremental opportunity does the new cloud region in Mumbai bring to Oracle?
We have got a couple of hundred customers on board already. And we see an opportunity to onboard another 600-700 customers who are still using our on-prem tech. So we’ve got two objectives. One is to convert our existing customers from on-prem and upgrade them to the cloud world and do it in their own country. Second, is to provide cheaper, better options to our new customers and new prospects who can now run Oracle in a better, faster, and cheaper way than they could have done in the past. That brings a huge benefit for both types of customers.
Also, geographical locations of the datacenter are not much of a concern for most of the organizations, when they choose their cloud service providers, as long as they are happy with the service. But if we look at the regulated industries like banking, telecom, public sector, government institutions, there are stringent data residency or sovereignty requirements. So, for the sake of our future growth in this part of the world, especially among the regulated industries, we needed to invest in a datacenter. And it is just an add-on benefit for those with a similar type of requirements.
When it comes to cloud application services, how do you differentiate yourself from your competitors?
Well, we offer more than 600 applications on our cloud today along with the access to Oracle IaaS and PaaS. None of our competitors has that kind of SaaS footprints or offerings. Our competitors may have some forms of marketing or sales or even HR functions. But nobody has a full suite of business applications that an enterprise or an SME needs. A typical company will need financials, budgeting systems, HR system, sales, marketing, service applications. Oracle has 600 plus applications associated with it. So, we are in a very unique position and we need to capitalize on that aspect for the next two to three years. This is why we invested in India. Setting up a Cloud datacenter requires heavy investment, and that’s why it has to be in the right places, and it has to bring the right returns also. With India being among the top five economies of the world, I believe that this data center is going to be a game-changer for us. Also, this can help large organizations to do away with their datacenter infrastructure and maintenance costs.
Could you please tell us about your SaaS product roadmap?
We are a cloud company today and hence, everything we own is going to be on the cloud eventually. More than 95 per cent of our offerings today are available on the cloud. As and when the market keeps moving, we will keep adding more offerings to our SaaS products portfolio. For example, an increasing set of applications meant for specific industry verticals are getting cloud-ready nowadays.
To what extent would you like to harness the power of new and emerging technologies to create a differentiation in the SaaS market?
There is a learning phase going on for everyone- What is easy to use, what is effective, and what is safe and secure. Every new version of the apps today generally comes loaded with add-on features incorporating some of the new technology elements.
But we just don’t want to jump into every aspect of the application with artificial intelligence (AI) or automation. We help customers add new capabilities like machine learning(ML), Internet of Things (IoT), digital assistants, analytics, blockchain, and other technologies to align with their core missions. For example, we infused AI in new features and functions already in some of our applications. If you look at our new CX, HR, or financial applications, we have got them blockchain ready. Slowly but surely, other suites of products like supply chain, warehouse management, will also be transformed by some of these new technologies.