Enterprises must accept the new world economy of running IT in the cloud or perish

Oracle partner Wipro see consumers driving IT transformations through their expectations of digital experiences that only an agile cloud environment can support.

Cost reduction and finding efficiencies have long been the traditional drivers for enterprise technology adoption, but according to the group president and COO of Wipro Limited, it’s now the instant gratification of consumers.

At Tuesday’s OpenWorld keynote, Abidali Neemuchwala said the “new world order” is understanding that the product is a digital experience and that it can be fulfilled. “It’s fundamentally changing our business processes,” he said. “Supply chains are being disturbed.”

Neemuchwala said the enterprises need to embrace this new world economy, as Wipro, an Oracle Corp. partner, has. “They either accept this or perish.” Its customers are moving to the “as-a-service” model strategy just as Oracle has moved its applications to the cloud.

And there are companies that have dived headfirst into this customer-driven model, he said. One is major hotel chain Hyatt, which acquired One Fine Stay, a company similar to the high profile AirBnB. “Hyatt had two choices: either accept the new economy model or see it as a threat.” Instead, Neemuchwala said, they are doing interesting pilots. For example, business customers can use the points they accumulate at hotels toward One Fine Stay bookings for personal vacations. “Hyatt has been able to convey to customers that they value loyalty.”

The hotel chain was willing to transform, Neemuchwala said, and integrate the old economy with new economy, but such a shift requires nimble technology and CIOs should keep a number of things in mind to support their organization’s transformation.

First, it’s important to simplify legacy environments. “Digital transformation is not possible without simplification.” Neemuchwala said all of the legacy environments are solid foundations to build on, and there is a lot of valuable tribal knowledge in those environments. He said CIOs should focus on putting themselves in the shoes of their users.

Wipro differentiates between systems of record and systems of engagement, said Neemuchwala. The former can be moved to a “per service basis” in the cloud, while it stays focused on the latter because that is where the highest value is delivered.

Another necessary element to this new economy is to introduce design pervasiveness. “Historically, designs shops have been in one corner of an organization. Instead, the capability needs to be integrated beyond just making things pretty, said Neemuchwala; it’s about providing a seamless customer journey between the digital world and the real world by reimagining business processes, and it’s an iterative process.

CIOs also need to a build a “true” cloud environment. By true, Neemuchwala means not just migrating applications but having the ability to exchange data across multiple systems, securely. Being able to expose APIs in a secure, trusted manner is an essential part of this, he said, as is security itself. “Security will always be a worry and be a top of mind concern, but with augmented intelligence platforms we are getting there.”

Neemuchwala said CIOs need to enable DevOps teams as they provide organizations with the speed to build applications quickly, and the cloud allows for testing and deployment without large infrastructure investment or downtime.

Following Neemuchwala on stage for the keynote was Oracle’s president of product development, Thomas Kurian, who outlined updates across the breadth of the company’s portfolio, all centered around making it easier for customers to do more in the cloud, including compute and storage, as well as the ability to easily take on-premise workloads to the cloud.

Oracle has certified a large number of open source technologies and companies, as well as providing options for big data, said Kurian, including big data discovery, preparation and the ability to quickly spin up multiple Hadoop clusters.

Colm Keegan, senior analyst with Enterprise Strategy Group, said Oracle’s strength is that it can offer an end-to-end stack with the linchpin being the application layer. “Oracle can credibly go to customers and work with existing platforms,” but added many enterprises are choosing to go with appliances and converged systems that simplify deployment and get them up and running quickly.

“What’s driving this is businesses are trying to get better at application innovation,” said Keegan. Like Neemuchwala, he said DevOps can benefit from the agility and elasticity the cloud; you can light it up as needed.

Oracle is well-engrained in companies of all sizes, but Keegan noted that 70 per cent of its cloud customers are net new, which is a good bellwether for the company. It has modernized all of its applications to run in the cloud as part of its Fusion initiative begun 10 years ago. Smaller enterprises that couldn’t afford Oracle in the past can now implement via the cloud through a subscription model, paying only for what they are using, he said.

With Amazon seen as Oracle’s primary competition in the cloud, Keegan said it is well positioned to compete given that Amazon requires a lot of expertise – a lot can be done once applications are up there, but getting them there is challenge.

Given that the biggest sunk cost is labor, Oracle has an edge, said Keegan, because it is able to manage that element as well. From that perspective, “it can stand above the crowd.”


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Gary Hilson
Gary Hilson
Gary Hilson is a Toronto-based freelance writer who has written thousands of words for print and pixel in publications across North America. His areas of interest and expertise include software, enterprise and networking technology, memory systems, green energy, sustainable transportation, and research and education. His articles have been published by EE Times, SolarEnergy.Net, Network Computing, InformationWeek, Computing Canada, Computer Dealer News, Toronto Business Times and the Ottawa Citizen, among others.

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