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Oracle uses emerging tech to accelerate in India

From blockchain to AI, Oracle India is betting big on a series of smart innovations that the database major believes will help it grow faster than the competition

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India is on the verge of a major digital disruption – a disruption that can be seen across industries. Research firm, Gartner, estimates that India’s IT spending is projected to total US$ 89.2 billion in 2019, an increase of 6.7 per cent from the estimated spending of US$ 83.6 billion in 2018. Gartner estimates that IT spending in India continues to be driven by digital business transformation initiatives, from both private and public organisations, as both sectors have become adaptive to business model change and bring new practices, develop new capabilities and create new ways to succeed in the digital world.

Global majors like Oracle are betting big on this market, as India is experiencing a growth in digital initiatives like never before. Backed by its foundational reach in databases, the company has gone with full force in the cloud, with the company offering the complete stack across Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS).

Shailender Kumar, Regional Managing Director, Oracle India, states, “In the past few years, India has been delivering strong results. Due to which, India has been conferred the best performing region within JAPAC last three years consecutively. In India, Oracle serves more than 15,000 customers (license and cloud together) across the private and public sectors.”

While the database segment continues to be the biggest area of strength, Oracle has also been trying to grow the market by using emerging technologies to solve some of the country’s biggest problems. Take the case of fake drugs, a global menace that the World Health Organisation (WHO) believes costs the healthcare industry close to US$ 30 billion due to counterfeit drugs. Oracle believes that blockchain can be used for fighting the growing problem of fake drugs in India.

Oracle has recently tied up with NITI Aayog, Apollo Hospitals, and global pharmaceutical manufacturer Strides Pharma Sciences, to pilot a real drug supply chain using blockchain decentralised ledger and IoT software. Oracle’s blockchain software permanently registers a drug’s record in the manufacturer’s drug supply chain (serial number, labelling, scanning), leaving no scope for record tampering. From here on, at every point of hand change, it records the drug’s movement – from manufacturer to logistics, from the stockist to hospital, or from the pharmacy to the consumer. In case of a fake drug, the software will detect the irregularity and notify the concerned nodal point. Additionally, IoT provides functionality to track critical information such as chemical ingredients of the drug or maintenance of temperature control in case of life saving drugs or vaccines.

Kumar explains, “With blockchain, every movement of the drug through its supply chain is recorded – that way, the drug supply chain is completely transparent, secure, decentralised and verifiable. We believe blockchain and IoT can play a significant role in ceasing fake drug distribution and we are all geared to work with NITI Aayog in this major program.”

The opportunity is huge, when you consider the size of the Indian pharmaceutical industry – the third largest in the world in volume, accounting for 10 per cent of the world’s production.

Self-repairing databases
Oracle India is also seeing a huge growth for its Oracle Autonomous Database – touted as the industry’s first ‘self-driving, self-securing and self-repairing’ database. Armed with deeper and more meaningful insights, Oracle says that customers have been able to significantly improve and fast-track business decisions, introduce new products/services to market quicker and create a smarter workforce. A case in point is Federal Bank which used the solution to get smarter insights related to ATM performance.

“Performing ATM Analytics on Oracle Autonomous Data Warehouse, we uploaded only aggregate data pertaining to ATM performance metrics. In just under four weeks, we had an intuitive, user-friendly solution with full drill-down and roll-up capabilities. This empowered our senior leaders with actionable intelligence for faster decision-making. We’re now looking to enhance the scope with social media content for better sentiment analysis and a more holistic understanding of our customers,” says Shalini Warrier, COO, Federal Bank.

Oracle is also witnessing good traction in the SMB and start-up space for the Oracle Autonomous Data Warehouse. “Our customers are demanding faster, deeper, more accurate insights from us, but most database technologies aren’t fast enough to handle such heavy duty analytics workloads for real-time reporting. We used Oracle Autonomous Data Warehouse out of the box, and we realised an average performance improvement in the range of 30-50 per cent for our defined scenarios. We were able to quickly create dashboards in near-real time to capture the results of what-if analysis around a range of factors including session data, looking at user interactions in a particular timeframe or around particular tasks,” says Manish Verma, Co-founder & CEO, Codeinks.

Oracle has also understood the huge opportunity in automating migrations to cloud, and has accordingly conceptualised ‘Oracle Soar to the Cloud’ – an automated cloud migration offering that will enable Oracle customers to reduce the time and cost of cloud migration by up to 30 per cent. With the help of a complete set of automated tools and proven cloud transition methodologies, the solution enables customers with applications running on premises to upgrade to Oracle Cloud Applications in as little as 20 weeks. Oracle Soar includes a discovery assessment, process analyser, automated data and configuration migration utilities, and rapid integration tools. Customers can keep the upgrade on-track by monitoring the status of their cloud transition via an intuitive mobile application, which features a step-by-step implementation guide indicating exactly what needs to be done each day.

Oracle Soar has been created for those companies that understand the value of moving to the cloud, but somehow still are struggling to do so. In ERP, it is not uncommon to see that many companies have not updated or upgraded their systems for a very long time. These outdated systems, coupled with customisations, make moving to the cloud seem a daunting task. With Oracle Soar, It’s now easier to move from Oracle E-Business Suite to Oracle Fusion ERP in the cloud, than it is to upgrade from one version of E-Business Suite to another.

The company continues to see good traction across verticals. For example, the cloud has proved a game-changer for the SP Jain School of Global Management, where it has helped facilitate modern learning experiences by providing an unified view of academic and non-academic activities. The cloud has also helped streamline student data. This helps the organisation achieve insights at the click of a button. The company is keeping a close eye on machine learning and AI; and is already thinking about how AI can be used to automate repetitive tasks such as taking attendance, sending out fees reminders, and outreaching to alumni.

One of India’s leading logistics businesses, Safexpress has adopted Oracle ERP Cloud to accelerate decision making and better serve its customers. Thanks to the cloud, Safexpress has been able to remove a wide range of administrative burdens, increase visibility, and drive real-time availability for customers. The core benefit of the approach is that Safexpress has been freed to concentrate on its core business without needing to manage and maintain in-house ERP systems. Oracle is also helping the company enhance services for its customers. For instance, the IT team of Safexpress is planning to integrate weather forecasting into its systems to increase visibility into the supply chain and improve fleet management.

Oracle’s ‘Cloud at Customer’ offering provides the opportunity for customers to take advantage of the cloud model behind the customer’s own firewall, thereby adhering to data sovereignty regulations. State Bank of India, the country’s largest public-sector bank, is one of the first customers for this solution, and Oracle has also started work with the government of Jharkhand.

Understanding the roadmap of strategic customers
To better understand the roadmap of strategic customers, and increase its share of the wallet, Oracle has a global Key Accounts programme. This team has played a pivotal role in the company making deep inroads into key accounts. Each key account is serviced by a CEO of the account, whose prime responsibility is to deepen the relationship.

Mitesh Agarwal, Vice President – Key Accounts, Oracle India, explains, “Every CEO of key accounts has more than 20 years of experience, and is given a minimum three-year mandate for growing the relationship. These CEOs present to the board of these companies, and try to help these firms grow their business by better use of technology. The CEO’s remuneration depends on the CSAT score of the accounts they handle.”

Agarwal gives the example of sectors like banking and telecommunications, which are besieged with different problems. “In the case of telecom, we advise telecos on how they can grow their market share in a market that is being dominated by one large telecom player. In the case of banking, which has problems related to NPA, we help them close their books faster, and help them have a more accurate view of their balance sheet.”

Additionally, as the whole banking scenario has changed with respect to usage of technology, there is a need for banks to re-architect their core applications. “There is a critical need for modernising the core, as the payments workload has gone up exponentially,” explains Agarwal, adding that the key accounts team, through its experience, helps in guiding the customers on their core technology and business roadmap.

Growth boost through SaaS
Oracle’s ambition is to dominate the Indian SaaS market with an energised team that works efficiently to inspire the customers and win high value transformational deals. Says Prasad Rai, Vice President-Applications, Oracle India, “Oracle is optimistic about its SaaS growth and is well on its way to becoming the largest business applications cloud company in the world. India has been at the helm of this progress with our SaaS business having grown by about 31-32 per cent year-on-year. Our core SaaS solution, Oracle Fusion ERP has witnessed more than 50 per cent YoY growth in the 1H. We are growing 3-4x time the market in SaaS apps, which is a clear indicator that we are taking share from competitors. We are outpacing the market and we want to be the #1 SaaS provider in India. The Indian cloud business is really booming. We are supporting some of the largest transformational deals in India – Taj hotels, Hindalco, Indian Oil, SBI, Adani, Reliance, AU Finance, Transworld, SBI, Bajaj Electricals. We are seeing most traction for Oracle SaaS from companies representing the government, manufacturing, financial services and education sectors.”

With a big market share in databases, Oracle already has a foot in the door in most Indian organisations. Cloud is now helping the database major to expand its reach and market share significantly.

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