While the Covid-19 pandemic has forced companies to pare costs, enterprise database major Oracle India has drawn up plans to double down on cloud platforms and expand local investments, vice president - cloud (India) Sriram Rajan told TechCircle.
"Since March, many of our India customers have expressed a desire to move to the cloud. We have made a lot of strides in the cloud space after the India cloud region launch last year and we are on track to launch the next centre this year. While most companies are a bit measured in the capex investments, we are not slowing down and continue to invest in India for our clients," Rajan said.
The Redwood City, California headquartered company currently employs some 40,000 people in India.
Oracle, which has $40 billion in annual global sales, sells enterprise software products and is also the leader in database management, according to data platform Statista.
Business continuity, Rajan said, has forced several customers to accelerate cloud migration. However, enterprises also want to conserve cash that they would have otherwise invested in buying new server hardware and software.
Hardware is one of the top hidden costs for companies, especially for companies growing at more than 15-20% annually.
"At a time when capital is scarce for our customers, they would much rather conserve capital for growing their business, and operationalise investments associated with data centre/disaster recovery by moving on to the cloud," Rajan said. "Besides operationalising the upfront costs other costs associated with running and managing a data centre including obsolescence of equipment are done away with," he added.
Investments in the cloud have cushioned the blow of the pandemic for enterprises. Some 64% of organisations in India are now expected to increase their demand for cloud computing services, with about 56% seeking cloud software, according to technology research firm IDC.
Oracle recently convinced Thrissur based gold finance non-banking financial company Manappuram to move to the cloud, even when the initial contract was for the co-location of the data centre. The NBFC has already dealt with business disruptions as floods ravaged the southern state twice in the last two years. Manappuram, which reported Rs 4,300 crore in annual revenues in financial year 2019-2020, evaluated third party data centre management but ended up choosing Oracle.
"They were worried that the data would not be safe. We made them understand that cloud is a better option on several parameters. This was not discretionary, but central to them in such a scenario of the threat of data loss," Rajan said.
The deal includes IaaS (infrastructure as a service), PaaS (platform as a service), applications and software licences to run the applications.
The pandemic will force enterprises to cut overall expenditure including information technology, some of which was until recently seen as discretionary spending with no commensurate upside in topline.
"The clients have started realising that they have to prepare for something like this in the future and want to be cautious and think long-term. Many had to shut the data centre because they could not operate it and the risk of data leak became a concern. They want to keep the services available for their end-customers. These are not fringe cloud migration they are doing, but the core work which is not discretionary," Rajan said.
Digital transformation, at its core, is about better customer experiences through customisation and microservices make systems nimble.
"Then it need not be a monolithic core and the services could be utilitarian and on the cloud for it be accessed by anyone from anywhere," he added.
Microservices are customised features that can exploit the horizontal scale of cloud and enable critical end-customer experience, especially for revenue facing applications.
According to Rajan, only the digital experimentation that customers wanted to do will stop as even end-customers will not have the propensity for such consumption.
Globally, Oracle had added video conference platform Zoom and enterprise data management firm Veritas as its customers. Both companies were with its competitors until recently. The company is banking on the rise in virtual collaborations and business meetings.
"These requirements will propel them to the cloud. We understood what is required for a cloud environment. The fulcrum is the value part and we want to be the better value in every parameter such as performance, security, uptime levels. Is it compute or bandwidth. We have made it a compelling value proposition,” Rajan said.
Oracle is positioning itself as a cost-efficient alternative to market leaders such as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform. It recently launched Oracle Cloud Workload Estimator as a direct challenge to AWS to prove that it provides cheaper cloud services than its competitors. Azure and Google also have their own pricing calculators.
"There are no hidden charges to our cloud commercials and compare the cost with competitors. We don't charge customers who go beyond 10 TB, where competition charges beyond 1GB. So you get millions of dollars in savings, which is important during these times," Rajan said.