The spotlight was on new innovation in cloud, adding AI/ML to every business processes, thriving on partnerships and being more customer-centric in approach.
Oracle was late to enter the cloud, but the company has transformed itself in the last few years and is focusing on growing its cloud network to build end-to-end cloud solutions. Oracle launched cloud services in 2012, later than its peers Amazon Web Services in 2006 and Microsoft Azure in 2010. The key differentiator seems to be the vision of Chairman and CTO Larry Ellison in building the “world’s first truly autonomous cloud,” to sustain in the already saturated cloud market. The result is Oracle database, infrastructure, and other IT services that are more secure, reliable, flexible, and cost-efficient than its competing cloud services. While globally Oracle Cloud powers over 25000 customers in 175 countries, India certainly is a key growth market for Oracle as the company has time and again highlighted how Oracle Cloud is empowering thousands of customers in the country across large and midsize firms.
In its recently concluded Oracle India Summit 2019, the spotlight was on new innovation in cloud and the discourses revolved from adding intelligent capabilities (AI/ML) to SaaS models, thriving on recent partnerships (Microsoft and VMware) and being more customer-centric in approach through effective brand campaign. Here are some of the key takeaways of Oracle India Summit.
# 1. Gen2 Cloud powers the enterprise
Oracle unveiled its first India data center in Mumbai touting it Gen 2 Cloud region, which would be followed by another one in Hyderabad by early next year. The company revealed that the expansion is in sync with Oracle’s plans to add 20 new Gen 2 Cloud data centers globally by the end of 2020.
Oracle’s cloud infrastructure includes autonomous database, AI-based applications, ML-integrated security, automated analytics, and a broad range of high-performance cloud infrastructure services.
“Our Gen 2 Cloud is the only modern, secure, enterprise-grade cloud that provides customers a strong foundation to unlock innovation faster and drive new business growth,” said Shailender Kumar, Regional Managing Director, Oracle India, emphasizing the importance for data localization and storing cloud data locally in India.
“With a stronghold in government and large enterprises, Oracle is betting on expanding rapidly in India with the help of a local data centre. Indian data center has already become the fastest growing cloud data centre for Oracle globally even as the company officially opened it up for all customers,” explained Kumar.
Oracle has signed up over 100 customers have already signed up for the new cloud region, including some of the large banks like HDFC Bank, Federal Bank, and Vysya Bank as clients for its India data center. The data center will act as a direct competitor to AWS, Google, Microsoft and IBM.
“We look forward to help customers migrate to Oracle Cloud seamlessly as they look to scale their business for the experience economy,” said Kumar.
# 2. Autonomous cloud database at the helm
Companies are increasingly looking at business productivity, cost efficiency and innovation with Oracle Autonomous Cloud Database. Steve Daheb, SVP of Oracle Cloud, sees the most important benefits from autonomous systems will come from eliminating human errors. In cars, this can mean avoidance of errors that can cause accidents, and in technology, it can mean eliminating common user errors that can expose data to hackers. The combination of Oracle database, infrastructure, and other IT services result in systems that are more secure, reliable, flexible, and cost-efficient than competing cloud services.
Daheb believes, with Autonomous cloud, IT workforce will have to retrain themselves to remain relevant. A number of Indian organizations are already realizing huge business value from their data, by leveraging the Oracle Autonomous Database – the industry’s first ‘self-driving, self-securing and self-repairing’ database.
“Armed with deeper and more meaningful insights, these customers have been able to significantly improve and fast-track business decisions, introduce new products/services to market quicker and create a smarter workforce,” he said.
# 2. Oracle bullish about a holistic AI/ML strategy
The tech giant is embedding intelligence at every layer of the cloud. Andrew Sutherland, SVP Technology, Oracle EMEA and Japan, believes that the company started working in the area of AI/ML even before most of its competition had begun exploring it. “Today, AI/ML is driving the next wave of efficiency and productivity and it gets resonated in every area of its business, be it in its supply chain management (SCM), human capital management (HCM), customer experience (CX) and enterprise resource planning (ERP).”
Sutherland said, “While it is still early days in India, AI/ML is disruptive and there is willingness, but Indian enterprises should just start somewhere, without reluctance.” He sees banking, manufacturing and IT/telecom as early adopters and rest will follow suit given that the country’s response to the technology has been strong.
The company is looking to build its AI-Voice Digital Assistant. There was a need to have a more enterprise style digital assistant which is different from Alexa, Siri etc which are more consumer oriented. As voice is becoming the new UI – this is going to be huge help. Here is more details on this.
# 3. Betting big on Microsoft and VMware partnership
Oracle is banking heavily on partnerships, the latest being the alliance with the two giants – Microsoft and VMware. Explaining the partnership, Kumar said, “Oracle is now offering to support its workloads running on VMware, and will also allow customers to run VMware workloads in its cloud while retaining full administrative access.”
The company has been collaborating with Microsoft for long in our Analytics & EPM area for the SmartView for Office interface. It is now offering integration between Microsoft Teams and Oracle Digital Assistant, which enables enterprise customers to query various Oracle Cloud Applications through text chat.
“Our partnership with Microsoft is making it easier to connect workloads in the Oracle cloud and in Azure. In other words, both are going to help Oracle customers have a choice of what they want,” he said.
# 5. Oracle turns Gray, positions itself as a more mature, reliable brand
The event saw a new facet of Oracle, a grayer, tone-down version of the tech giant, which until recently sported a vibrant red color on its logo, theme and all marketing campaign. According to Chek Yang Ang, Head of Alliances & Channels and ISVs, Technology and Cloud Platform, Asia, Oracle, “Oracle is changing their look and feel to the modern Redwood UX theme. This is transformational; a more matured look and feel of Oracle, which going forward will not only get reflected in the products, but in every events, in the communications and everywhere that Oracle touches business and users.” The plan unveiled at the Oracle OpenWorld 2019 in San Francisco and now in India, speaks of a new mission surrounding it.