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In the SMB space, we are growing more than 100% over the last 3 years: Shabeer Kozhakkaniyil, Oracle India

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Oracle is seeing huge growth for its SMB business, with the company clocking more than 100% growth for the past three years. Shabeer Kozhakkaniyil, Cloud Senior Sales Director, Oracle India, spoke with Srikanth RP from Express Computer, to give us a brief overview of the huge growth that Oracle is seeing in this market, while outlining plans for the future

Some edited excerpts:

Can you give us a broad overview of the SMB market, and the key opportunities that you see in the market?
SMBs are a major growth market for Oracle. We have grown by about 65% this quarter for cloud. But in India, in the SMB space, we are growing more than a hundred percent over the last three years. And that is not on a small base, this base is actually significant. So SMB has now become a very important and a significant and essential part of Oracle now, especially for cloud. We have close to about 15,000 customers in India and that has doubled over the last year. So we have actually doubled from what it was last year and out of the 15,000 customers, nearly 70% customers are SMB customers.

What are some of the solutions that are in demand from SMBs?
I will start with some of the major verticals, what we are handling. in SMB, one of the biggest verticals what we are handling are the new generation companies, the digital natives and the startups as well as the various tech companies. For example, in the AI/ML space, we have examples like Gnani.ai, E42.ai, TensorGo — these are some of the AI and ML companies who have actually moved to Oracle Cloud because they found the stack working better and more cost effective.

These companies have found that their entire AI and ML engine, works better on our, either it could be on compute and storage or on our microservices stack, or our Kubernetes stack. Additionally, our networking is faster because of our unique Gen2 architecture. We also provide better cost options in terms of egress free every year, which is very important for companies who are on the web. For these kind of born on the cloud companies, egress becomes a big part of their monthly cost and most of our other hyperscalers charge egress after 1 GB. Oracle is the only hyperscaler that offers 10 TB free per month, which means the companies significantly reduce their cost.

Can you give us any examples of SMBs who are using your cloud-based solutions?
One important customer segment for us is the EdTech media conferencing companies who are big on content. A classic example is Focus Edumatics which is into tutoring solutions, and is involved in primarily handling the US market. Their tutoring platform is completely running now on Oracle. Earlier it was on a rival cloud platform. They have completely moved to Oracle. Second one is Career launcher, which is Delhi based and they are into conducting exams or mock tests for education. They were actually on again a high competing hyperscaler and they have evaluated and they have moved to Oracle.

Another segment is the banking segment, where we have a very good play. The SMB banks have also started now moving to the cloud. Classic examples are AU small finance bank, ESAF Small Finance Bank Shivalik Small Finance Bank and Mehsana Urban Cooperative Bank. Mehsana is a classic case of an SMB customer which ten years back would have gone for maybe a scaled-on infrastructure in a data centre. Today, they are running their core banking solution on our Cloud@Customer model, which is completely managed by us.

From a long term perspective, how effective is the cloud for SMBs?
With respect to SMBs, post the Covid-19 pandemic, everyone has got back into the growth mode. Now they actually want to rapidly regain lost growth. How do you do that? You need to have a faster go to market cloud that helps you achieve that. The cloud helps you achieve in setting up whatever is required at a minimal cost. Also, most SMBs are self-funded and are always looking out to optimize costs. They come to us and ask us ways to optimize. We do it two ways – one, our technology helps them optimize. So that is what we did in Career Launcher where our Autonomous database was able to help them do that.

What are some of the leading services which are in huge demand from SMBs in India?
Our complete IaaS including our microservices architecture and our Kubernetes platform is actually a big hit with born in the cloud companies. The reason is because Oracle is the only provider which provides Managed Kubernetes offering free of cost. If you are moving your complete container-based solution onto my Kubernetes managed platform, my service is free. You only pay for the resource you consume. We are also getting lot of traction from AI ML and some of these remote sensing companies who is coming to us to use our high-performance computing and GPU platform. We got some amazing clients who are trying out new business models using our technology. Classic example is remote sensing companies or startups, who have the expertise, but cannot acquire the expensive hardware required to perform these tasks. With the cloud, you can within a click of a button enable it on Oracle or any other hyperscaler. We provide the cheapest. We have a lot of companies who are coming to us for these services.
We are also talking to some of our smaller manufacturing companies and there are a lot of opportunities which are there wherein there are some POCs which are going on.

The kind of projects, what some of these companies are taking are huge. Some of these companies are there already in the industry for some time, but they don’t have the wherewithal to have a server farm with their resources. We provide them with a compelling value proposition. We can offer a better compelling and cost-effective value proposition and with the addition of a better price point, a dedicated team and I have one more thing. Oracle is only cloud which offers support bundle along with that. My premium support is bundled along with my cloud subscription contract. When it comes to the monthly bill, it comes as a 15% addition. It’s not small and when the value goes up, it is not affordable for most SMBs. For us, there is no hidden cost. It is the Universal credit and everything is included. If you ask me why Oracle is now growing at such a rapid phase, we have learned from some of our mistakes. We are now giving a simple uniform pricing, no surprises, state of the art platform and easy way to come in and go out. All my technology, if you look at across everything across Oracle is open standards and all Oracle or non-Oracle technologies, if it works on Oracle cloud, it’ll work on on-premise. For example, MySQL database, which runs as a service on cloud or Oracle database, which runs on cloud, you can take that straight away and bring it back. No vendor lock-in, which one way is good for the customer. Yeah. This might not be so good for our company. But that’s how we are doing the business now. That’s how exactly Oracle as a company is doing in the cloud space and is loved by SMBs.

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