Though a late entrant to the cloud business, American tech giant Oracle Corp is making rapid strides globally and in India. For Oracle, India is a critical market where it has seen sharp growth mainly from the banking, financial services and insurance (BFSI) and government sectors. Shailender Kumar, senior vice-president and regional managing director, Oracle India, talks about the company’s vision for India, its growth strategy, and partner ecosystem in an interview with Ayushman Baruah. Edited excerpts:
What is the vision for Oracle’s cloud business in India over the next 2-3 years?
We are in a great position right now and are aiming to be the preferred cloud provider for all Indian organisations both in the private and public sectors. Over the past few years, our cloud business in India has been clocking strong growth in double and triple digits across our cloud tech, hybrid systems and SaaS (software-as-a-service) businesses. We have doubled our customer base in the past few years. As a unique cloud provider that offers both, an integrated suite of cloud applications and cloud infrastructure, our customers are seeing tremendous value partnering with us. With our MeitY-empanelled data centres in Mumbai and Hyderabad, governments and regulated organisations in India can take advantage of the power of cloud.
We see tremendous opportunity for cloud in India and the market is growing fast. Dominant sectors for growth will be BFSI, public sector, telecom, manufacturing. Then there are emerging sectors like e-commerce and retail, professional services, the startup space – be it edtech, fintech, healthtech – there’s already great momentum we are experiencing.
What are the factors fuelling this growth?
The country’s digital transformation is propelling companies to embrace cloud to meet business and customer demands. Look at the scale of projects taking place today: UPI, ONDC, PM Gati Shakti, income tax modernisation, digital currency – they are all powered by cloud. Another change in strategy that is fuelling this growth is our renewed approach to sales. We are focusing on a subscription-based and consumption-based model and moving away from going after big deals with big discounts. We want our customers to know what they need and invest in it, and know they can always add more capacity later. We are modifying the market by focussing on cloud consumption. The uniqueness of our offering and that we give customers a choice of how they want to deploy cloud is also a strong value proposition.
Do you see a cut in technology spends due to fears of an impending recession?
As per my observations, organisations are investing more into modernising their IT infrastructure and back-end systems, to be able to support business growth and also plan for unknown scenarios – like the pandemic threw upon all of us. Analysts predict that overall IT spending in India will reach $110.6 billion in 2022, up 6.3% from 2021, as inflation, geopolitical instability, and skill shortages are not expected to slow down IT investments. We continue to grow our business and continue to hire talent, in order to support our customers.
What’s your strategy to expand your partner ecosystem?
With the cloud opening up so many new business opportunities, partners become a critical nerve of our go-to-market strategy. In India, we work with nearly 600 partners across various categories and we are collaborating in different areas such as skilling, driving business growth, and ultimately supporting the customers’ agenda. Oracle’s partner strategy is built around four pillars: customer first, joint go-to-market, skills development, and a trusted partnership. Oracle Cloud provides partners with tremendous opportunities to meet customer demands while also growing their own businesses. This year, with our partners, we will place a strong emphasis on industry go-to-market, with a focus on public sector, manufacturing, edtech, and fintech, as well as multi-cloud customer environments and ESG initiatives.
What’s your strategy to compete with the hyperscalers who claim to offer better flexibility in a multi-cloud environment?
Enterprises must select the best multi-cloud and hybrid cloud options for their workloads, and none of them should bind them to a technological island. Oracle invests extensively to innovate its products and services that provide customers with the choice and flexibility they require. We distinguish ourselves by providing a full suite of services across SaaS and infrastructure. No other company offers all this. Also, our approach to multi-cloud is another differentiator. Organisations that have invested in any cloud solution provider will have additional requirements that could be fulfilled by another hyperscaler. Our recent announcement with Microsoft Azure supports exactly this. Similarly, we have a hybrid cloud strategy in place, in which we have infrastructure that can be used on-premise, within firewalls, or in our data centre. Our cloud portfolio, different cloud deployment options with the most secure generation 2 cloud infrastructure, and our partnerships give us an advantage over other hyperscalers.