While the tech industry at large struggles with declining revenues in the hardware space, Oracle is one of the only vendors that is seeing growth in this segment. “Other players are divesting business and getting acquired; at Oracle we continue to innovate and launch ground-breaking products,” says Amit Malhotra, head of systems business, Oracle India. “Oracle’s philosophy is to simplify IT for our customers,” he tells Sudhir Chowdhary in a recent interaction. Excerpts:
How has Oracle been able to drive growth in the hardware space vis-à-vis competition?
Oracle is the only end-to-end solutions provider. We are the only one capable of integrating platforms in addition to infrastructure while most others continue to only integrate infrastructure. Engineered systems customers are seeing 10x improvements in their businesses. While other players are divesting business and getting acquired, at Oracle we continue to innovate and launch ground-breaking products.
Software tied to hardware is a core strategy for Oracle and a competitive advantage for the company. Oracle is famous for software co-developed with the underlying infrastructure for all our on-premise and cloud offerings. Oracle’s philosophy is to simplify IT for our customers, and we are seeing that pay off. Oracle’s new strategy is a very “Applesque” move where Oracle (like Apple) optimises from the chip all the way up to the end-user application. Industry analysts recognise this as a smart move that stands in stark contrast to the likes of other hardware vendors.
What are you doing to reinvigorate your hardware business in India?
We believe that there are two things that we can do to increase our standing in the hardware space. First is to increase the most important asset, people and second is launch the right kind of products to suit the demands of Indian customers. Over the last six months, we have doubled our sales and pre-sales team members and we continue to grow that. Previously we had teams working only in Bengaluru, Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai. Presently we have expanded in Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad and Pune. We have also recruited special channel managers to revamp our strategy and outreach for hardware channel partners. It is evident that we have strong presence in the India geography.
In terms of products, we believe that the launch of M7 systems in India will help us to increase market share to a great extent. We are certain that they will see great adoption as it has the potential to completely abolish the exploitation of security vulnerabilities.
From which verticals do you see demand generation from?
Oracle traditionally has been very strong in banking and financial sectors. In addition to this, we are witnessing growth in telecom, manufacturing, e-tailers and media & entertainment sectors. With Digital India programme gaining steam, the government sector is another area, on which Oracle is concentrating on.
Oracle recently launched the new M7 systems. What does this mean for Oracle and what makes it so unique?
We see a lot of growth coming from our systems business in India and we are witnessing a great need for security today across key industries like banking telecom, manufacturing, e-retailers etc. The M7 systems are the newest generation of processors in the SPARC family. The SPARC family has been there for a long time, ever since the acquisition of Sun Microsystems by Oracle.
The M7 isn’t only the most powerful version of SPARC technology to date, it’s also one of the most sophisticated processors on the market. The M7 incorporates advanced software techniques guard against programming errors that can result in serious security breaches.
What is your strategy for your new range of products in the Indian subcontinent?
Oracle is approaching the Indian market in a comprehensive manner. We are just not launching the servers pan India; we are also increasing our presence in the region. We have beefed up our sales teams significantly and expanded geographic presence in tier 1 and tier 2 cities.
We have a lot of interest from customers around M7 and are confident about that the product will be successful in the Indian market. We are ensuring smooth transaction for our customers and are helping customers seamlessly move over to the new environment (M7). We set up an ISV lab in Bengaluru where any independent software vendor can test their application and do performance testing in our lab for free. The lab helps them understand how they can migrate their applications to our platform.
What are the growth areas for Oracle?
In the overall India hardware portfolio there are three areas where we are focused on. The first is Engineered Systems, which is the integration of hardware and software and is also known as converged infrastructure by the industry. This is where we offer unique value to the customer and increasingly all competitors are focusing on this. Netapp announced the acquisition of Solid Fire. We have recently seen some announcements coming from EMC, Dell and everybody is moving towards convergence. This has been what we have been calling to the market for a long time.
The other piece is our standalone servers where we believe the opportunity is to increase our market share. The third piece is storage and again with the introduction of flash storage we believe we are addressing the growth categories in the market to ramp up the business.