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Oracle is leveraging the cloud upward swing in India: Deepa Param Singhal- Vice President, Cloud Applications, Oracle India

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The cloud market is on an upward growth trajectory for a few years, and Oracle is benefiting from this growth. In the last quarter i.e. Q4FY2, its revenues were up 5% Y-o-Y in USD and up 10% in constant currency to $11.8 billion, globally. SaaS-based applications are becoming more and more popular globally, and this is also true in India, states Deepa Param Singhal- Vice President, Cloud Applications, Oracle India, in an interview with Express Computer

Some edited excerpts:

How do you see the SaaS market strategically growing in India and what are the key trends that are driving this growth?
The Indian Software as a Service (SaaS) landscape is rapidly maturing, with more companies reaching a larger magnitude and generating increased investor interest. This increased interest is being driven by Indian SaaS companies that are aging, have demonstrated scalability and better returns. According to Bain & Company’s India SaaS Report 2021, Indian SaaS companies are on track to generate $30 billion in revenue by 2025, accounting for 8% to 9% of the global SaaS market.

Some key trends that are driving this growth include the high rate of digital transformation and the government’s backing for digital enhancements through initiatives such as Digital India and PM Gati Shakti etc. Furthermore, the rapid adoption of cloud computing and the popularity of sophisticated technologies such as AI, ML, and Data Analytics are driving enterprises in both the public and private sectors to incorporate cloud based SaaS applications with embedded capabilities.

How has Oracle evolved its SaaS business in the last two years to meet the rapidly changing customer requirements? Share the recent developments made by Oracle and an update on the availability of applications in the India cloud region?

Oracle as a market leader has always been at the forefront of coming up with innovations to meet the changing customer requirements. Our expertise in cloud applications comes from our investments in market research and R&D that ensure that our solutions are constantly updated as per the industry standards. Additionally, our applications are updated twice a year, and that too without any downtime. We’re the only vendor with everything business would need to be a true cloud business—including complete, end-to-end solutions, modern business processes, and the ability to change.

In terms of recent developments, Oracle Unity Customer Data Platform is available in our India data center. Indian businesses will now have access to a leading global customer data platform, such as CX Unity, as a result of this enhancement. Regulated industries such as BFSI, Telecom, and Government entities can adopt CX Unity while adhering to all regulatory and data governance frameworks with the CDP hosted in India. While Indian organisations are rapidly embracing digital transformation, solutions such as CDP will be required to process, analyse, and develop key actionable insights from vast connected data sources, providing significant leverage to their growth strategy. Our Fusion HCM modules, including HCM Payroll are available in our India data center. We are now localising HR payroll for the availability of employers and banks working in India’s public sector entities to unlock the power of payroll.

What are the growing avenues of the cloud market and how is Oracle leveraging this upward swing within the SaaS space?

The cloud market is on an upward growth trajectory for a few years. Oracle is leveraging this upward swing and the avenues are reflected in our growth rates. In the last quarter i.e. Q4FY2, our revenues were up 5% Y-o-Y in USD and up 10% in constant currency to $11.8 billion, globally. SaaS-based applications are becoming more and more popular globally, and this is also true in India. Particularly in fields like ERP, Customer Experience (CX), Human Capital Management, Collaboration, Supply Chain, and others, penetration have been steadily increasing. Our Fusion ERP Cloud revenue (SaaS) was up 20% in USD, up 23% in constant currency, globally. We’d some breakthrough wins in FY22 and are largely in the telecom, public sector, and BFSI sectors. Quarter after quarter, we have increased our customers on the applications side.

India is one of the region’s fastest growing countries, with double-digit growth across all SaaS pillars in FY22 within JAPAC and this remarkable success is making India one of the most significant contributors to the Asia Pacific (APAC) revenues for Oracle. We are substantially increasing our market Y-o-Y as far as the SaaS solutions are concerned. Our Fusion applications business in India has grown 50% YoY in FY22. Our ERP solution is one of the strongest and most extensively used SaaS solutions within our applications portfolio. We have made 70% YoY growth in our ERP business in FY22; CX has made 55% YoY business growth, followed by HCM which has contributed with 15% YoY growth in the last fiscal year, in India. Hence demonstrating the encouraging reception for SaaS applications like our ERP Fusion, one of our most successful and extensively used solutions.

What are the opportunities and challenges for cloud application adoption in the regulatory market? What benefits will industries such as banking and the public sector receive?

Public sector organizations execute a range of functions, from maintaining infrastructure to educating students. However, they have comparable requirements when it comes to modernization. Additionally, Data Residency is a significant concern for public sector enterprises. They need to make operations more efficient, provide personalized services, and at the same time guarantee the security of sensitive data. Cloud environments and applications can give institutions the performance, scalability, and security they now need to thrive in a period of recovery.

At the moment, we are witnessing an encouraging push from our government with initiatives like ‘Digital India’ and the ‘PM Gati Shakti’ program. The growth rate for cloud adoption coupled with administration can push regulatory industries like banking and public sector to benefit immensely from cloud adoption. Institutions can invest in cloud based applications to become smarter, more connected, and more agile, with the capacity to predict opportunities and react quickly to difficulties. Additionally, they can take advantage of cloud solutions to streamline and standardize the web of systems and processes that support them. Public sector organizations may leverage their data more effectively with cloud infrastructure and applications that decrease complexity.

Any entity in the public sector must prioritize security. Security should not be sacrificed for convenience in the cloud. The usage of cloud based SaaS solutions is largely around simplification, and embedded security since end users can access self-service solutions with a single operating platform, a single sign-on, and automatic authentication. Hence, allowing staff members to concentrate on the important operations while feeling secure that they are protected from cyber dangers. Data security and data residency concerns can be mitigated by deploying SaaS applications to data centers. Hosting cloud applications on local data centers would allow customers in the regulated sectors such as BFSI, telecom, and government organisation to store their user data within the country.

How does Oracle look at its India market going forward in 2022-2023? What are the best growth strategies for this year?

We are looking towards very strong growth rates in India as it remains one of the key markets for Oracle and it will continue to be a focal point for us in 2022-2023. India is one of the first few countries in the region, where we opened two local cloud regions (Mumbai and Hyderabad) one after another within a short span of time. Globally, Oracle plans to have at least 44 cloud regions by the end of 2022, continuing one of the fastest expansions of any major cloud provider.

For the coming year, our focus is on the public sector side as it goes through its post-pandemic recovery and expansion. Prior to COVID-19, the public sector was already undergoing much-needed digital transition. Governments have prioritised digital strategy throughout policy and service delivery, while educational institutions modernised their back-end systems for HR and payroll as well as student services. Between all this, cloud has been at the center of this shift, and Oracle will continue to serve public sector organisations as they adopt a digital-first strategy through our comprehensive SaaS portfolio. Given the demand, the public sector market remains a key industry for us as we concentrate on localising our products and solutions in India. Our main goal is to unleash hypergrowth in India, and key drivers like Citizen Engagement & Outreach, EASE – Banking Reform (PSU), Digitally Inclusive Bharat (Future Workforce), and Mission Mode Projects will allow us to capitalise on our public sector growth strategy.

Furthermore, we are putting together a dedicated team within the SaaS space to work across businesses that specifically cater to the public sector demand, with the goal of achieving long-term success and enabling hypergrowth in India by unlocking the business potential in the public sector. To support this strategy, we are planning to hire senior sales leaders and solution architects.

Can you give us two takeaways that you believe can help Indian businesses change the game in the upcoming years?
Indian businesses have seen the adverse effects in their environments in the last 2-3 years as we were hit by multiple pandemic waves and lockdowns. They have experienced extremely challenging business environments but at the same time, they have demonstrated incredible resiliency in overcoming difficulties and developing innovative business strategies. While we move to the post-pandemic growth era, two takeaways for the Indian market that are potentially game-changing are technological dynamism and sustained business momentum through long-term and adaptable policies.

Technological dynamism allows businesses to constantly upscale their operations as their respective industries evolve. As for sustained business growth, businesses need to form and implement models that are resilient, agile, and future-ready to navigate external shocks and challenges. The key to both takeaways as a growth catalyst continues to be cloud adoption. Hence, organisations today should adopt “cloud only” strategy instead of “cloud first” and incorporate modern applications to improve their finance, human resources, supply chain, commerce, marketing, sales, and services functions.

What are some of the best examples of using Oracle applications technologies in the recent times?

Oracle has partnered with leading organizations globally and in India across industries to change their games. In fact, as per growth rates our best revenue-driving industries have been BFSI and IT/IT services sector and our HCM solutions are generating the highest revenue from these customers. Talking about the CX growth, the Public sector partnerships and BFSI sector are adding to growth in CX businesses, particularly in India. Some of our customers that have implemented our SaaS solutions in the BFSI, IT/ITes, public sectors are Axis Bank, ICICI Bank, RBL, Kotak Mahindra Bank, AU Small Finance Bank, Mphasis, Genpact, UST Global, Omega Healthcare, HDFC ERGO, Bajaj Finance, IndiaFirst Life Insurance, Federal Bank, SBI Card, Income tax department etc.

Like I said, our ERP business in India is generating the highest growth rate within our cloud applications with manufacturing customers being the largest contributor. Some of our customers in this sector that are leveraging our ERP solution are Apollo Tyres, Hindalco, JK Lakshmi Cement, Unilever, Bata and Tata Steel. Similarly, organizations like Bharti Airtel have implemented our complete suite of Oracle Fusion solutions all integrated to support their extensive and vast business in the telecom industry.

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