In a conversation with BusinessLine, Shailender Kumar, Regional Managing Director, Oracle India, said the country is the second biggest market for Oracle and the company already has 500 partners in it. Excerpt:

Oracle has said that it plans to focus on public sector partners. What steps is the company taking in that direction?

Our association with the public sector goes back over 25 years. We have relationships with 18-19 state governments and almost all departments in the Central Government, including the Department of Textiles, Agriculture and the Central Board of Excise and Customs. In all these places, we have done some part of the cloud in the last two decades or more. Especially from a cloud standpoint, we have done a few projects with Niti Aayog. IFFCO (Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative Limited) is a good example of our partnership in the public sector, where we have migrated all its applications to the cloud. 

How big is Oracle’s India operations team?

We may have hundreds of people on the ground in India, but then there are thousands of people in the back-end who support either the development standpoint or support projects. We have invested a lot in the last one year and today have more than 100,000 people who are certified on OCI (Oracle Cloud Infrastructure). A lot of these people are from the public sector.

What is your sense of competition in the Indian market and how does Oracle differentiate itself?

From our standpoint, we compete with Microsoft, AWS, and Google in the country. We differentiate ourselves through our whole suite offering. By suite, I mean it includes SaaS, infrastructure and platform. No other company has all three. I don’t think any of our competitors have ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) or HCM (Human Capital Management). The second differentiator is our approach to multi-cloud. People using, let’s say, Microsoft Cloud or any other cloud, will have other requirements as well. We built this interconnect, so that even Azure customers can access our databases. Similarly, our approach on hybrid cloud, wherein we have infrastructure that can be used on premise, within the firewalls, or we have our data centre. No one else has such flexibility and offerings.

Along with the large-scale growth of the SaaS market in India, incidents of data breach have been on the rise. How has Oracle prepared to fight these threats?

There are two different approaches which an organisation takes -- when we develop a product security is inherent in that, it is part of the development at each and every step. Whereas other organisations develop the product and then security gets added. In our case, security is always on. It’s called a zero trust architecture. Whereas others have such issues, you will never find them in our case. In fact, the reason we work with almost every bank in India is because of our security, scalability and reliability. There has been no instance of such a data breach in our case, for the last 5 years. 

What are the new initiatives planned for this year? 

We are going to the market, expanding our public sector team and adding people in SaaS. We are expanding our banking team across SAAS as well as the cloud. We have also set up a mid-market team for cloud, which is doing extremely well. We have set up our NetSuite team, which is mainly the ERP for small and medium businesses. In fact, NetSuite was one of the earliest cloud companies to be set up. 

Second is investment in our cloud engineers, we are adding 100 cloud engineers to ensure that we are able to provide services to our people. It’s all about solving customer problems, how we help partners. We are adding cloud engineers, and we are adding more partners. So overall, ensuring we are able to provide better services to our customers. 

Do small and medium businesses make a significant part of your partners in India?

A majority of our customers in India are SMBs, considering our autonomous capabilities and a security first architecture that is specifically beneficial to SMBs improving security, performance and reducing their costs drastically. We allow businesses to pay only for what they use and this commitment is reflective of the fact that we have a dedicated business unit in Oracle – the Oracle Digital sales team. 

Additionally, we have a specialised partner network that works closely with us in helping our customers achieve their business goals. We have also introduced two special programmes for our customers to enable easy migration to cloud. These include Oracle Universal Credits (UC) – this is special pricing through which we’re offering flexible buying and consumption choices for Oracle’s Cloud platform (PaaS) and infrastructure (IaaS) services, and Oracle Bring Our Own Licence (BYOL) – through this our customers can leverage existing software licenses for Oracle PaaS at a lower cost. These programmes have benefited many SMBs to run their most important applications on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure. 

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