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Oracle Soar to the Cloud is the world’s first automated cloud migration offering: Prasad Rai, Oracle India

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Oracle is betting big on its new service, called Oracle Soar in the Asia Pacific region. Oracle claims that this solution reduces the time and cost of cloud migration by up to 30%. Prasad Rai, Vice President, Applications, Oracle India, shares his view on the huge opportunities Oracle sees with respect to Oracle Soar in India. Some edited excerpts:

You have said that Oracle Soar reduces the time and cost of cloud migration by up to 30%. How does it do this?

CFOs are finding their role is changing fast. They’re no longer simply book-keepers and accountants: the CEO and board rely on them to offer strategic input and drive innovation. A 2016 Oracle survey of finance leaders revealed that 52 percent of CFOs say their role now predominantly involves advising the business on how it can achieve growth. As they react to this imperative, CFOs are challenged to break down traditional functional siloes to have a complete, unified understanding of the whole company. Those that can do this effectively will be able to make better-informed strategic decisions. The CFO is increasingly tasked to derive actionable insights from vast volumes of data, rather than simply analyse reports.

The CFOs must do more with less. To get more value from the same level of resources, automation and adoption of technology will be necessary – for financial close, planning, budgeting, forecasting, tax reporting, allocations, management reporting and so on. Today’s routine finance tasks should be completely automated so that resources can be more effectively used to combat disruption and deal with change.

Oracle Soar is a step in that direction. Oracle Soar to the Cloud is the world’s first automated cloud migration offering that enables Oracle customers to save time, cut costs, and stay focused on business. Like you said, Oracle Soar will enable Oracle customers to reduce the time and cost of cloud migration by up to 30 percent. Many tedious transitions that used to be done manually, will all be automated. With the help of a complete set of automated tools and proven cloud transition methodologies, the new “Soar to the Cloud” solution enables customers with applications running on premises to upgrade to Oracle Cloud Applications in as little as 20 weeks.

How will Oracle Soar help more CFOs benefit from AI and machine learning in cloud ERP solutions?

The dynamics and competitiveness of today’s market require CFOs to constantly think about not only how to minimize the cost of operation by increasing efficiencies, but also how to effect steady revenue growth. Another worry for the CFOs is the stifled communication and understanding between different business functions of their company, which in turn inhibits their comprehensive view of the business. With global production and distribution, and increased reliance on outsourced partners, there is an increased risk and volatility in the supply chain. From their perspective, another key challenge is shifting the focus from merely financial reconciliation to deriving right analytics and business insights from data.

New technologies such as IoT, Big Data Analytics, and Adaptive Intelligence etc. are powerful tools that can help the CFO in addressing these challenges.One of the most lucrative impetus to move ERP and other core applications to the cloud is growing as businesses look to adopt a range of emerging technologies, including artificial intelligence, blockchain, chatbots, and the Internet of Things. Oracle has been building its cloud applications with those technologies fully integrated, to address key use cases for finance and other related functions.

Oracle Soar includes a discovery assessment, process analyzer, automated data and configuration migration utilities, and rapid integration tools. The automated process is powered by the True Cloud Method, Oracle’s proprietary approach to support customers throughout the journey to the cloud. It is guided by a dedicated Oracle concierge service to help ensure a rapid and predictable upgrade that aligns with modern, industry best practices. 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.

We understand the power of automation in solving business problems for our customers, so we have integrated it into all of our applications. We have applied the same thinking to the cloud upgrade process to create an end-to-end solution that will enable our customers to experience a rapid, predictable, and cost-effective journey to the cloud.

Why do you believe that Oracle Soar will be the last upgrade you’ll ever need?

We have created Oracle Soar for those companies that understand the value of moving to the cloud, but somehow still are struggling to do so. There can be several reasons for this struggle. Especially 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 customizations, make moving to the cloud seem a daunting task.

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. Oracle cloud applications will enable such transitions without any hiccup, neither from technology point nor from business practice perspective. All they must do is nothing, because once they have done Oracle Soar and get moved to the cloud, Oracle will take care of any updates for you.

Please give us some client examples of Oracle SOAR?

The cloud has proved a game changer for SP Jain School of Global Management, where it’s helped facilitate modern learning experiences by providing a unified view of academic and non-academic activities. The cloud has also helped streamline student data, so the organisation can achieve insights at a 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 long differentiated through innovative uses of technology. It is an approach that it still uses today, having adopted the Oracle ERP Cloud to accelerate decision making and better serve its customers. Oracle’s technology has enabled the company to become even more customer-centric and responsive. Thanks to Oracle’s leading cloud capabilities, 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, Safexpress’ IT team is planning to integrate weather forecasting into its systems to increase visibility into the supply chain and improve fleet management.

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