Insight

Eyeing top spot

Bob Evans, Senior VP and Chief Communications Officer, Oracle
Bob Evans, Senior VP and Chief Communications Officer, Oracle

Oracle is targeting the cloud market with a wide array of services, including Big Data and the IoT. Bob Evans, Senior VP and Chief Communications Officer, Oracle, talks about the company’s cloud game plan.

Oracle has been a little late to come to the cloud party. Are you playing catch up now?

No, that is not the case. Oracle has been working on cloud projects for 10 years now, and unlike other companies we’re not developing only a few bits of our product line into the cloud; we are, instead, taking everything to the cloud, from database to middleware, up to the applications.

How do you plan to take on the competition from the likes of Amazon and Microsoft?

We think there’s a lot of room to differentiate and offer more value to customers. If you are in applications as well as platform and infrastructure, you can give customers a single point of contact for all of those segments for security for all of that segment. And, we can make all these pieces work together at all three different levels, and we believe that that’s going to be our competitive advantage.

When you talk about the best-of-breed approach and having an integrated stack, does this mean that an organisation needs to buy everything from Oracle?

It doesn’t mean you ‘have to,’ it just means that ‘you can.’ It is very important for us that we are able to present our customers with options. If they want they can buy pieces of cloud layers from Oracle as well as from other vendors. They can also have systems on-premise as well as cloud if they want. We give our customers a freedom to choose how they want to deploy our systems. That is part of Oracle’s core strategy.

Do you think hybrid is going to be the model in the future?

Yes, I think that is a possibility. Larry Ellison talked about this just recently, and he said even though we see mid and big-sized companies deciding to move aggressively into the cloud, it’s going to take a while before they can fully do so. Also, issues such as security and culture are still prevalent in some companies. Because of these, organisations will still keep some of their data on-premise and move some to the cloud.

You have mentioned that you are the biggest SaaS vendor now. Are these existing customers or new ones?

We are seeing a lot of both. It is evenly spread between existing and new customers.

Data governance is a big issue, especially in the Middle East. Do you have any data centres here in the region? If not, are you planning on setting up one in the near future?

I cannot answer this as for now. But in general, on a global basis we believe this issue of data governance is critical for our customers. We know that we have to be able to give them the capability to play within the rules, and that will require us to have a wider global presence with our data centres. The security and privacy issues that came about recently are only going to make these issues more prevalent. This is an important matter that we will continue to pursue.

What is your value proposition in the IoT space?

There are a lot of niche players in the IoT space, and perhaps some of them are going to be able to do incredible things. But, this is going to put users back in the game of integration. They will need to find about 15 different IoT solutions to make up a whole solution, and tie up each of those solutions together. We provide a scalable infrastructure that integrates all different devices and components of the IoT. Oracle’s approach is to do dirty, difficult, time-consulting integration projects upfront, so customers don’t have to do all that and get into deep technology integration.

How about the security implications of IoT? Do you think the industry has already figured out how to sort them out?

The whole IoT idea is compelling in a lot of ways; it has a huge amount of potential. Any of those future intelligent devices, if not put together properly, will be at risk of being exposed to cyber threat issues. That’s another scenario where Oracle can be of service. We have been developing security solutions ever since the very first project we developed. This is something we take seriously. So, I think any company that wants to get into the IoT space better be world-class in security as well, because that’s what we do.

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