Our big bet on cloud is paying off, says Oracle’s Arun Khehar

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Published: August 12, 2019 1:45:15 AM

SaaS is expected to be the fastest-growing market segment in India in 2019, accounting for nearly half of the total public cloud services revenue y-on-y.

Oracle, Software-as-a-service, SaaS solutions, public cloud services, ERP cloud business, cloud marketArun Khehar, Senior Vice-President, Applications, MEA Region & India, Oracle.

Software-as-a-service (SaaS) is expected to be the fastest-growing market segment in India in 2019, accounting for nearly half of the total public cloud services revenue y-on-y. SaaS revenue is estimated to grow 23% in 2019 to $1.15 billion as per Gartner. “Oracle is bullish on SaaS uptake in India and globally,” says Arun Khehar, senior vice-president, Applications, MEA Region & India, Oracle. “India, as a market, is very exciting and one of the fastest growing for Oracle,” he tells Sudhir Chowdhary in a recent interview. Excerpts:

What kind of market traction have you seen for SaaS solutions? What’s your strategy to emerge as a cloud leader?

The cloud market has matured and is growing rapidly. Software-as-a-service (SaaS) is a key priority area for Oracle and we are well on our way to become the world’s largest business applications cloud company. While the market is growing at 30% y-o-y, our ERP cloud business grew well above 50% y-o-y as of first half of FY19, taking market share away from our competitors. India has also been one of the largest contributors in the region, for SaaS. Our SaaS solutions can be delivered remotely to the customer enabling them to derive desired business benefits in a short span of time. This process helps customers reduce the overall IT spends by 30-37% and transform their business in matter of weeks.

Where is the cloud market headed now? How far has the market moved to achieve complete digital transformations?

SaaS is expected to be the fastest-growing market segment in India in 2019, accounting for nearly half of the total public cloud services revenue y-on-y. SaaS revenue is estimated to grow 23% in 2019 to $1.15 billion; as per Gartner. With these positive signs of growth, Oracle is bullish on SaaS uptake in India and globally.We have seen startups and SMEs adopting cloud solutions faster than others. However, there are many large enterprises, who still have a plethora of data on legacy systems. These enterprises are in the process of the shift but would need some more time; given the largeness and complexity of the business.

Do you see India as a growth economy and a fast expanding market? What do you attribute this growth to and how do you foresee cloud/SaaS/apps driving India towards an experience economy?

India, as a market, is very exciting and one of the fastest growing for Oracle. We can see the rapid increase in adoption of SaaS solutions and it’s heartening to see some of the largest and oldest conglomerates like the Dalmia Group, Tata’s, Reliance, Bharti Airtel, Adani, Aditya Birla and many more undergo this mindset shift in cloud adoption. Oracle Fusion ERP & HCM cloud applications suite revenues have grown by 32% in FY191. As per IDC’s latest annual market share results, Oracle gained the most market share globally out of all enterprise applications/ SaaS vendors three years running – in CY16, CY17 and CY18. This is a remarkable growth for the SaaS space and our advantage is that we draw experiences and skills from various countries and bring them to our customers in India. From large customers such as Taj Hotels, Hindalco, Tata Steel, Wipro, SBI Card to startups and disruptors such as OYO Rooms, KLAY Prep schools and Rivigo, many have put faith in Oracle Cloud. The numbers validate that Oracle SaaS is mainstream and more importantly, is providing value to the customers today.

What are your views on the future of Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning (AI/ML) and data science? Do you think AI/ML embedded applications would trigger an adverse man-machine conflict for organisations undergoing digital transformation?

ML and AI have become an important part of the conversations and the customer is keen to know more about these technologies. AI and ML are now prevalent in every functional area of the customer starting from marketing and sales till customer experience. Oracle’s approach is to embed these technologies into the solutions so customers receive timely upgrades automatically, in the cloud. Today, our integrated solutions are helping CFOs and CHROs make strategic business decisions rather than worry about churning out reports manually. AI, if used right, can empower business functions and employees at large and with such shifts, we foresee a man-machine collaborated workforce rather than any conflict when it comes to future of work.

Successful cloud transformations have customers at the centre and employees at the heart of everything. Do you agree with this statement? If, yes, can you please give some examples?

Digital transformation, by definition, is integration of digital technology across business functions resulting in positive outcome and delivering value to the customers. By this statement, customer has to be at the centre of the transformation. However, once all these technologies are put into place, faster and accurate adoption of these technologies by the employees, will ensure the success of this transformation. No transformation can be successful without a buy-in from the employees. The key point is that as organisations are scrambling to provide an outstanding customer experience, the importance of providing the same level of satisfaction to employees can’t be understated. We are seeing some great examples of our customers such as Apollo Hospitals, Save the Children, FabIndia, etc., using Oracle ERP, HCM and CX to simplify employee processes, empowering their biggest assets with data and automation so they could focus more on delivering exceptional customer experiences every day.

There are many cloud players in the market. What is Oracle’s USP? What special benefit does Oracle bring to the table?

Our biggest differentiator is that we are the only one in the cloud market who can provide pre-integrated solutions. Today, we are the only complete ‘Cloud Suite vendor’ in the market offering a judicious blend of cloud applications, pre-embedded with the latest technologies and upgrades. This gives Oracle customers an unprecedented advantage of saving hugely on integration in-turn driving business optimisation through connected intelligence.

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