Accelerating Digital Transformation with Oracle Cloud Infrastructure
The inevitable thing about the future is that it becomes present. And oftentimes, it happens quickly enough to surpass all the surest predictions of an era. The advent of the Covid-19 pandemic that forced radical changes in each and every aspect of most businesses is one of many such cases were predictions failed, but those who were digitally transformable, prospered!
Between the end of 2019 and the beginning of 2021, involuntary digital adoption by the people led the world into the future. At a glance, this period can be referred to as the rise and expansion of e-learning, teleworking, social media, online shopping, entertainment (over OTT platforms), telemedicine, etc. We like to call them the ‘locomotives of resilience’ as they helped isolate the distressing effects of the ‘New Normal’ that the covid-19 pandemic had brought along. If it was not for the ‘locomotives of resilience’, the sudden transition into the future would have been a catastrophic failure in the history of evolution.
However, the actual credit goes to the enablers of these ‘locomotives’, i.e., the enterprises that fathomed the importance of digital transformation and adopted technology (in the form of big data analytics, IoT, AI, cloud, automation, and edge computing) before it was widely considered as an option. Needless to mention, the role of digital transformation has also, in turn, paved the way for a more robust, agile, 360-degree smart business ecosystem that takes advantage of the evolving markets, changing customer expectations, etc., with the help of cutting-edge information technology, to unlock product differentiation, competitive advantage, reinvent management while multiplying their market share and return on investment.
For digital transformation to reinforce these many changes, innately makes it much more than simply plugging in new technology. Among other things, it requires a strategic approach that addresses five key domains encircling Customer Engagement, Value Proposition, Competition, Innovation, and Data. And to top it off, a cloud platform can jazz up enterprises’ digital capabilities and scale up their hardly a ‘data-supported business’ into a data-driven business. This process is greatly streamlined by Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, and which is why we are keen to examine and demonstrate the ways ‘OCI’ not only transforms businesses but does it at a rapid pace.
In recent developments, Oracle has also come up with a range of best-of-breed technologies that autonomously configure, repair, and maintain itself. However, a number of tasks with respect to optimization, patching, and maintenance still remain with the enterprises to deal with. In this paper, we will discuss all the aspects of accelerating digital transformation with Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, and the ways forward.
- A brief history of business, data, and transformation
Before the rise of the Data Economy, businesses around the world struggled to keep up with the market trends and customer expectations, let alone sourcing, managing, analyzing, and implementing IoT and Big Data for improving their products and services. Today, not only large enterprises, but a massive 68% of small and medium enterprises are leveraging data and analytics cross-departmentally, including in operations, finance, products, and sales.
Therefore, those days are over when businesses heavily relied on managers to help them build products because data-driven innovation was expensive, hard to obtain, and hard to store and utilize, along with a great possibility of losing it in the organizational silos. In short, data involving high stakes, accompanied by a level of insularity among the stakeholders, were the reasons behind the ‘digital deterrence’ exhibited by many organizations.
However, the reality today is entirely different. There are a large number of organizations — undoubtedly including the entities belonging to Fortune’s list — who are reaping the value propositions awarded by new technology, database management systems, limitless compute resource, lightning-fast (low latency, high bandwidth, high throughput) networking, and efficient storage systems (NVMe SSD), classified and offered in groups under the three service models of SaaS, PaaS, IaaS, etc., further perfected by Oracle.
Data, in particular, has itself come out as the newest kind of asset for businesses, especially with the emergence and rapid deployment of OLTP, ERP applications; billions of interconnected IoT devices, making the data to grow exponentially; and the rise of the Data Economy. Therefore, data is no longer restricted to affording market intelligence for product enhancement and gaining competitive advantage, but also for shaping the customer and management experiences which are two massive undertakings.
The cost of accessing all these marvelous advancements in technology, to assist businesses in restructuring their entire value chain, business model, sales, operations, delivery, and management, under the simplest pay-as-you-go scheme, is unimaginably low. For example, in Oracle’s latest announcement of ‘ice-lake’-powered (Intel Xeon 3) compute instances, the price of owning the hardware was capped at $0.054/core/hr and $0.0015/GB for choosing between 1-18 cores, 1-256 GB Memory, and block storage of up to 1 PB, complimented by network bandwidth of up to 50 GBPS. To add to the ease of adopting digital transformation, Oracle has also come up with a new and flexible form of subscription that does not restrict enterprises in the core and the static memory ratio. This is again a quintessential example of a huge leap forward, in distinguishing business, data, and transformation, from their historical counterparts.
3. The role of technology in remodeling businesses
Digital Transformation lies at the center of today’s economic development debate. Whereas, the cloud is fundamental to innovation and digital transformation itself.
With the arrival of new digital technologies and the uprise of new threats from the competition — not only from within the industry, but also from outside — it is inevitable to rethink the way a business is carried, and use digital technologies quickly to innovate while extracting value from the data. It is because customer expectations nowadays are thoroughly inspired by the services offered by the largest market-share holders, e.g., Airbnb in rental homestays, and Uber in commuting. Both of these examples are disruptive business models that addressed the customers’ needs with the help of technology.
Similarly, Netflix and various other OTT platforms have reinvented broadcasting that suited the needs of the 21st century. With enormous amounts of multimedia content and billions of growing users, these OTT platforms had to come up with a long-term plan that could afford them seamless scalability, without compromising on the effortless user experience offered by low latency, high throughput, and almost zero downtime. Cloud technologies made it possible.
Therefore, transforming business models and processes from the ground up, using the power of digital technologies is nowadays a prerequisite for success. And, the Oracle Cloud Infrastructure is the enabler of these enterprises who are intrigued to take the next big step with digital transformation and build a presence that is unassailable. Certainly, there are also a few challenges in the path of digital transformation, however, can be easily dealt with if the correct approach is applied. We will discuss these challenges and the best possible approach in the following section.
4. The challenges of digital transformation
Breakthroughs are manifestations of the successful overcoming of challenges. With the right amount of effort — in deciphering the cause of the challenges, and possible solutions — smartly channelized toward the goal can make all the barriers to break down. However, some challenges, e.g., customer retention, agility, constant value creation, need additional efforts and be talked about separately.
4.1 Connected Outcomes
Digital technologies propel businesses to think out-of-the-box regarding value creation for their customers. Constantly pushing the envelope to find the next source of customer value is imperative. Taken together, we can see how digital forces reshape every domain, and further dictate the landscape for the digital transformation of businesses, today. Tackling challenges as such in isolation leave organizations blindsided and vulnerable. Therefore, connected outcomes are the way to go about different challenges (e.g. value creation, and digital transformation) at once, without overlooking the connected nature of the challenges. In other words, a holistic approach is required that strives for connected outcomes.
4.2 Customer Obsession
Whatever we know as customer focus needs to give way to a new language – customer obsession. Businesses need to know their customers better than they know themselves. Further, they have to accept the challenge that their customers might be open to new and more attractive options and may leave their business at any moment. This can be further supported by a recent report published by Deloitte, which says 7 out of 10 customer organizations that avail products and services from a vendor are willing to explore new opportunities .
4.3 Agility and Multiple Business Models
Business agility and the need for operating in multiple business models simultaneously is a new reality, especially for larger corporations. Oracle, for example, has a hardware business, an on-premises business, a subscription business, and a consulting arm. The measure for success has often changed. There was a time when customer acquisition was the measure for success. However, nowadays, it is all about customer retention. And, to make it all work in favor, requires a fundamental change in the mindset, delivery model, engagement model, and billing.
By constantly innovating, building responsive digital supply chains, and delivering on the customer promises and expectations; while at the same time ensuring compliance and superior levels of defense against more and more sophisticated cyber attacks in a world of hyperconnectivity, Oracle is where it is today.
According to Oracle, it was only made possible by Cloud and Data. Undoubtedly, that calls for some level of digital IQ and knowledge about the extraction of value from data at all levels, i.e., from C-Level to right down to the shop floor. In this case, automation can free up teams from mundane tasks and let them refocus on value-adding activities. With Oracle’s Autonomous series of cloud infrastructure, even that part is covered.
5. The five key domains of digital transformation
In the book titled ‘The Digital Transformation Playbook’, David L. Rogers classifies digital transformation into five key domains that sufficiently and always intertwine with each other. Let’s discuss what they are, and how they can help accelerate digital transformation while creating the desired effect of amplifying efficiency in all possible spheres for a business.
5.1 Customer Engagement
Customer engagement as a part of the five key domains of digital transformation is merely the extension of the ‘customer obsession’ model we have already discussed. Businesses need to be proactively looking out for customer discontent and promptly addressing it. Being obsessed with the customers’ needs gives a business the upper hand in outshining their competitors, exceeding customer expectations from the point of acquisition to product delivery, and thereby fortify the relationship they have with their customers.
This phenomenon is popular, and the world has already shifted to a business ecosystem that thrives on the idea of customers being the single most important factor. In the process of becoming more and more customer-centric, the entire landscape for modern businesses has further advanced into the future.
5.2 Value Proposition
Digital technologies change how we connect and create value for our customers. Historically, the value proposition has only been about a set of constant offerings at the core, that is although updated over time, however, not at the pace required. This conservatism in the value proposition leads to disruption by the competitors who seize opportunities as and when they arise, divest from diminishing sources of advantage, and embrace change (in this case, digital transformation) earlier than anyone in the industry.
Competition in the digital age has a new definition. It is no more restricted to the competitors offering the same set of products and services that an organization has built its business around. The aegis has rather grown to subsume the supply chain partners and the ‘feeder’ businesses that have hitherto been assisting the organization. A surprising and distinguishing characteristic of this kind of competitive setup is also the element of cooperation between the traditional competitors. It gives the way to effectively depose the challenges that are mutual to both, or even a greater number of rival organizations.
Digital technologies have changed our world perhaps most significantly in how we think about data. In traditional businesses, data was expensive to obtain, difficult to store and utilize organizational silos. Just managing this data requires massive IT systems to be purchased and maintained. Today data is being generated at an unprecedented rate – not just by companies but by everyone. Moreover, cloud-based systems for storing data are increasingly cheap, readily available, and easy to use. The biggest challenge today is turning the enormous amount of data we have into valuable information.
Digital technologies are also transforming the ways businesses innovate. Traditionally, innovation was expensive, high stakes, and insular. Testing new ideas were difficult and expensive, pushing businesses to ‘wild guessing’ their way throughout the product development stage to launching it in the market. Today, digital technologies have enabled testing and experimentation to go on round-the-clock, processes that were inconceivable in the past. Prototypes can be built for pennies and ideas can be tested quickly with user communities. Constant learning and the rapid iteration of products before and after their launching date – are becoming the norm.
6. How Oracle Cloud enables these key domains and help businesses rapidly transform
Businesses need digital transformation, modernization, great customer experience, rapid response to market and competitors, application portability, all through secure, agile, and lucrative infrastructure.
Oracle Cloud Infrastructure is pioneering these areas with its mammoth contribution in ground-up transformational services, i.e., IaaS, PaaS, SaaS, and helping businesses not merely transform but capture all the opportunities via the autonomous and data services for data domain; next layer and developer services for customer engagement domain; data services for value proposition domain; core and next layer services for innovation domain; and developer and data services for competition domain, at an unprecedented scale and speed. Let us explore – how!
Fig. 2 – The five layers of OCI services for capitalizing the five key domains of Digital Transformation
To do it in an orderly fashion, let us begin with Regions. They are basically distributed Oracle Cloud Infrastructure hubs located in different geographical locations — for not only enabling and transforming businesses globally, however, also for offering them what nowadays is called the Local Cloud as a Service, i.e., local access to cloud resources. By offering businesses a local option for database migration, and the satisfaction of data residence in a familiar jurisdiction, along with low latency that comes complimentarily in short distance deployments, Oracle is pioneering localization of data center deployments. And, to bolster it further, Oracle is leading this race with 36 cloud regions worldwide as of March 2021, whereas AWS is a far second.
6.2 Core Services
Oracle Cloud’s core services are the enablers of innovation. By encompassing the entire transformation stack, i.e., across the latest and the best-of-breed compute, servers, storage, networking, security, and governance/management suite, OCI’s core services offer not just performance but scalability, doing away with the last bit of manacles on rapid innovation.
Under the compute instance category, Oracle has the famous Bare Metal as part of Gen 2 Oracle cloud with dedicated servers, followed by VMs, GPU shapes, high frequency CPUs (e.g., oracle is now rolling out Intel’s 3rd gen ‘Ice-lake’ instances that adds 40% increase in performance than the last version, under the exact same pricing structure), Autonomous Linux, and OS management. Similarly, under Storage, OCI has Block, Object, File, Object Archive, Import appliance, and storage gateway. In networking, OCI offers VCN, Cluster Networking, Load Balancer, Service gateway, FastConnect w/IPSEC VPN, in-flight encryption, and DNS.
For added safety against the novel cyber threats, OCI extends KMS/Virtual vaults, policy/data safe, identity/secrets management, CASB/Cloud guard, WAF, DdoS, etc.
Finally, in management, customers get compartments, audit, email, notifications, cost management, RBAC, tagging natively on cloud:
- for authorizing actions
- levels of control across account, subaccount, accessing infrastructure
- resource visibility, in terms of integrated permissions, and security policy
- search, control, and perform bulk actions, and use of tags for an increasing managed experience
- OCI Metrics, etc.
With the complete range of tools and technologies pooled inside Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, businesses get to realize innovation, enhance customer engagement, overtake competition, and generate new value.
6.3 Data Services
Data is central to businesses irrespective of the industry they belong to, and in order to turn it into an asset as described in the five key domains of digital transformation, businesses need OCI which is jam-packed with the advanced DbaaS/ExaCS (VM and Bare Metal, Exadata Cloud Service) for data deployment in multiple availability domains, and Active Data Guard to ensure high availability; the flagship Autonomous Database (dedicated, serverless, ADW, and ATP) for an automated, self-sustaining, database management system that allows for seamless data integration, management, and analytics aimed for improving innovation, value, while also reducing costs. In addition, the NoSQL, Streaming/Kafka, the latest OCI GoldenGate powered database migration, Data catalog, and Big Data services are also perfectly built into the Oracle Cloud Infrastructure.
6.4 Developer Services
Coming to the pilots of all services, i.e., the developer services, Oracle Cloud Infrastructure offers AppDev – CI/CD – Continuous integration, delivery and deployment, DevOps – Dev tools / resource manager, cloud-native container ecosystem, container orchestration – Kubernetes / Docker / registry / API, serverless functions and events, followed by monitoring and logging. In short, OCI extends an environment that is designed to assist the next generation product development in a rapid, and 360-degree service-equipped manner – aced by agility, resource elasticity, high-portability, while the Kubernetes clusters offering the ultimate security, control, and performance.
According to Simcha Shore, CEO, AgroScout, their users were facing several difficulties in operating on their application, and Oracle helped them tackle and resolve those issues with the developer services, specifically with the cloud-native DevOps, and containers. The results recorded a sharp decline in deployment time, from 24-hours to minutes, translating to a whopping 500% increase in deployment velocity.
6.5 Next Layer Services
The final layer, or the Next Layer Services afforded by Oracle Cloud Infrastructure speaks of customer engagement through innovation. With the low-code, analytics, integration, hybrid cloud, and migration, Oracle Cloud Infrastructure is making a huge difference in comparison to the other providers. Because all the initiatives in the aforementioned areas have resulted in escalated ease/accessibility, performance, and ROIs – surpassing projections, and therefore, operationalizing faster innovation for proactive addressal of customers’ needs. Besides, the digital assistant, visual builder, Oracle analytics, data science, data integration, Exadata Cloud@Customer, identity (AD, SSO, LDAP), Vmware, as well as the recent collaboration with ServiceNow ITOM Visibility, the introduction of OCI GoldenGate data fabric under infrastructure-as-a-code model, the inter-region latency dashboard, and more – all serve in maximizing the horizons of accelerated digital transformation and its accessibility further, while making it effortless for enterprises to enhance and capitalize on the five key domains, of data, innovation, customer engagement, value, and competition; minimizing CAPEX, OPEX, and unlocking yet another stream of in-ward cash flow.
7. A closer look at the Oracle Cloud Infrastructure
The Oracle Cloud Infrastructure is one of the leaders in a complete range of digital transformation products and services, including database and resource management, compute, edge, networking, storage, application development, security, analytics, identity, compliance, and more. Businesses work best when their operations are embedded with the emerging technology such as AI, ML, IoT, blockchain, digital assistants. Using the complete cloud infrastructure offered by Oracle can help realize a better business experience, a better customer experience, and better employee experience inside an accelerated framework.
The Oracle Cloud Infrastructure has everything you need from one suite of software. With the most comprehensive suite of SaaS applications across all areas of your business; Finance, Customer Experience, Supply Chain, and HR. Powered with Emerging technologies such as AI, machine learning, IoT, blockchain, digital assistants, modern UI, and AI-enabled interfaces that can make operations faster and easier. All connected with Modern Best Practice processes built-in for businesses. Therefore, no more requirement of reinventing the process wheel.
Oracle has built its business applications from the ground up for the cloud. They’re thoroughly modern. Therefore, the transformational processes enterprises look for are already inbuilt. Oracle has invested a lot of time and resources in R&D. Analysts agree that Oracle’s core applications—ERP, EPM, Supply Chain Management (SCM), Human Capital Management (HCM), and Customer Experience (CX) —are all best-of-breed. Better yet, they’re all designed to work together using a shared data model. Once again, this gives Oracle’s customers a huge advantage as they can avoid the complexity and cost of trying to make everything work together by themselves.
And it’s not just Infolob saying that Oracle SaaS adds great business value faster, but IDC has stated that Oracle has gained the most market share globally of all enterprise SaaS providers for the past three years. So many customers are reaping the rewards and business value from Oracle software and innovations. It is enabling them to go to market and get business faster. 
Oracle’s SaaS Cloud Applications strategy is to give their customers the most complete suite of future-ready applications that work together. Oracle SaaS applications are also easy to implement, and easy to use at work. Moreover, these SaaS applications are unique in the industry as they’re all built on a common data model.
7.1 Everything is connected by design
Everything is connected by design. Once again, this gives you a huge advantage – you don’t have to waste time and money trying to connect and integrate different applications from different providers. Although one definitely can if they wish to, as Infolob does realize some customers have existing applications which they often want to merge. In fact, Infolob specializes in making that integration process painless with our services on our platform.
And, using Oracle’s infrastructure, platform, and applications, businesses never come up short in functionality, security, reliability, or performance. Perhaps the most important thing Oracle is doing for businesses is giving them easy, fast access to innovation. Organizations get significant application updates every quarter – keeping them ahead of the innovation curve. Hence, it’s easy to modernize – and as new innovations come along, they can stay modern. For example, one can talk to or text our applications which makes them easy for everyone to use. Technologies like AI/machine learning, IoT and blockchain, digital assistants are enabled in our applications, ready to be put to work.
Once a business migrates to Oracle’s SaaS cloud, we say it’s the last “upgrade” you’ll ever need. Oracle delivers a smooth, tailored migration experience to help get you there. And, behind the scenes, Oracle will be doing all the work – keeping your applications up to date—so you don’t have to. All supported by Infolob’s Oracle cloud experts working to provide maximum uptime and availability for our customers.
Besides, Oracle also has over 220+ Modern Best Practice processes, end-to-end processes, built into our SaaS applications at no extra charge.
From the physical data centers located around the globe, up through the network, and all the way up the stack to the applications layer. With security built-in at every layer, Oracle’s multi-layer approach defends from attacks that could occur at any layer in the stack.
To list the prominent security features out, Oracle has —
- 24×7 cloud service center staff in follow-the sun-model
- Dedicated security and compliance management staff
- Functional experts and architects in all key support roles
- Application support
- Platform technologies (middleware, OS and DB)
- Infrastructure support and administration (server, network, storage)
- Facilities and project management
- Dedicated Oracle personnel with extensive qualifications and training
And Oracle provides dedicated Oracle badged cloud personnel to look after your cloud infrastructure and SaaS applications, 24/7, reducing risk for your business. This means you have the full support of Oracle as an experienced partner in secure data management with over 40+ years of experience to help to keep your data secure.
Oracle’s cloud is capable of helping an entire business with all its fragmentation, compliance, and security problems. Eliminating data silos offers accuracy, consistency, and security, faster access to data, and with new application and security innovations every quarter you can outpace the competition. Additionally, you have consistent onboarding and offboarding of your global workforce for increased human capital management, and standardization of business processes for global compliance.
Oracle’s SaaS Cloud Applications strategy is simple. It is to give our customers a suite of applications that work together that are the most complete for all your business needs (ERP, EPM, SCM, HCM, CX), running on the best technology with the most modern infrastructure, with innovations delivered to you faster than you could build them yourself, all being updated with a modern user experience while keeping our global customers’ needs & requests always at first by including customers who advise Oracle during development cycles.
Our goal is to keep your business always future-ready and to continuously help them outpace change.
To summarize, —
- With Oracle, you get the most complete, integrated suite of applications and infrastructure in the market, including best-of-breed solutions across every business function: HR, finance, sales, service, marketing, supply chain, and manufacturing
- This means no data silos – minimizing your data integration costs, and
- No disconnected business flows (via Oracle Modern Best Practice built-in business flows), because having separate, distinct, and disconnected clouds is not the way business needs to get done
Oracle has been working on the edge of digital transformation, while letting Infolob Solutions Inc., be the physical wheels to the entire process framework. The goal is to transform businesses via accelerated digital transformation. With each layer of Oracle Cloud Infrastructure services, Oracle diligently targets and enhances specific key domains of the digital transformation, enabling businesses with a robust, fail-safe planning to ensure not just hyper performance, but actual growth in terms of Return on Investment, and CAGR.
For example, the domain of Innovation greatly depends on the two factors, i.e.,
- the core services that comprise of the advanced, state-of-the-art compute, storage, networking, servers, etc.
- the new low-code yet exceedingly functional applications, warehousing and analytical abilities, integration, replication, hybridization (on-prem and cloud) and multi-cloud migration, monitoring, management, and planning such as in disaster recovery, and delivery, complimented by the next generation AI/ML-driven automation of automation.
Only with these two clusters of services, constantly perfected, and rapidly deployed into use, enterprises can innovate in a timely fashion and focus on the other aspects of their business, e.g., how to handle data and extract insights more efficiently, how to improve management (ERP, HCM, SCM, OM, IM [inventory], CX, etc.), how to consistently match customer expectations, increase the spectrum of value proposition, product differentiation, and finally, how to implement decisions aimed at specific purposes and yet make a cohesive effect across all the domains.
And, the Oracle Cloud Infrastructure is the only ‘across-the-board’ enabler of these strategic endeavors, which has time and again justified its top position in the enterprise-only cloud service providers’ list, consistently accommodating more functional and innovative services into each layer of their value stack. It is absolutely an exciting responsibility, to be part of Infolob’s leadership, in collaboration with Oracle, to help our customers in defining, designing, and delivering their cloud-first strategy with Oracle Cloud Infrastructure.