The Voice of Cyber®

KB On The Go: Insights from the Oracle CloudWorld Tour Singapore (Part 1)
First Aired: June 28, 2024

In this bonus episode, KB is on the go at the 2024 Oracle CloudWorld Tour in Singapore where she sits down for a quickfire interview with Oracle executives Jae Evans (Global Chief Information Officer and Executive Vice President) and Chris Chelliah (Senior Vice President, Technology and Customer Strategy) to get their insights on Oracle’s solution to solve business challenges.

Chris Chelliah, Senior Vice President, Technology and Customer Strategy, Oracle JAPAC

Chris Chelliah is responsible for driving digital transformation for Oracle’s customers in the Japan and Asia Pacific region. He’s accountable for the organisation’s hypergrowth in cloud infrastructure and autonomous database. Chris leads cloud specialist sales teams, industry architects, and the Oracle Insight team to bring together the expertise needed to provide a collaborative, consultative approach to help customers achieve their objectives.

Chris has nearly 30 years of experience across a variety of portfolios in Asia Pacific, Europe, and North America. Previously at Oracle, he focused on customer success with consulting and implementation services in global projects in the telecommunications, financial services, and government sectors, implementing disruptive and innovative software solutions.

Chris holds a postgraduate degree in computer science and mathematics from the University of Western Australia. He’s a frequent industry speaker and contributes regularly to trade and industry journals and opinion pieces on applications for emerging technologies.

Jae Evans, Global Chief Information Officer and Executive Vice President, Oracle

Jae Evans is Oracle’s global chief information officer and executive vice president of Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) Platform Services. She’s responsible for accelerating Oracle IT’s cloud transformation across thousands of environments, and her team provides IT services to Oracle’s 170,000 employees and developers worldwide.

Jae also leads OCI’s platform services consisting of commercial systems including billing, subscription management, and cost management, as well as other core platforms such as console services and marketplace. In addition, her organisation is responsible for ensuring the highest level of security, compliance, operations and support for OCI.

She has more than 20 years of experience building and leading global teams and managing mission-critical production services across various industries, including ecommerce, enterprise cloud, online gaming, retail, and telecommunications. Jae is passionate about bringing diversity and inclusion (D&I) into the workplace. She’s the executive sponsor of D&I for OCI, a member of Oracle’s Executive D&I Council, and an active participant in and champion of various Oracle Professional Asian Leadership and Women in Tech events.

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Episode Transcription

These transcriptions are automatically generated. Please excuse any errors in the text.

Karissa Breen [00:00:15]:
Welcome to KB On The Go. And today, I’m on the go in Singapore with Oracle reporting on the ground here at the Shangri-La for the Oracle Cloud World Tour. Cloud World is an event across the globe where participants can learn about Oracle solutions, connect with experts and peers, and discover insights to solve business challenges. So for this interview, I’ve got a few executive interviews up my sleeve, so please stay tuned. Joining me now in person is senior vice president technology and customer strategy, Oracle JPAC. Chris, thanks for joining, and welcome.

Chris Chelliah [00:00:45]:
Thank you very much for having me.

Karissa Breen [00:00:47]:
Oracle has been around for some time. And while gaining momentum for cloud, OCI is somewhat of a newcomer to the cloud industry. So I wanna sort of start there. And how are you at Oracle appealing to the up and coming managers and the uni students that perhaps didn’t grow up with the brand? And how are you marketing to them with the intent of Oracle becoming the front runner?

Chris Chelliah [00:01:12]:
You know, I’ll start with the headline. The headline is, you know, we speak their language. And so, you know, when you talk about that demographic of people who may may not be used to Oracle with that front runner, we speak their language. And that means, if you look at what customers are looking for or their demographics looking for, they’re looking for access to cloud services. They’re looking for, you know, how they can start quickly, how they can scale fast, and and how they can eliminate risk in these businesses. And so by speaking the language, by not asking or mandating change of technology or change of skill sets or change of providers. So coexisting with what you have today, tapping into the investments of what you’ve already learned or what you’ve already got as operational capability in the organization. If we are able to show customers how they can use what they already have and then get ahead of the curve like a slingshot moment, that’s appealing, and that’s that’s the angle that we take.

Chris Chelliah [00:02:04]:
So it’s like, don’t change anything. Let me show you how I can slingshot you into getting some better benefits out of what you’ve already invested in.

Karissa Breen [00:02:12]:
What do you mean by use by what they already they already have? What do you mean by that?

Chris Chelliah [00:02:16]:
Organizations, enterprises, developers today are not stuck into a single technology. They’re looking using a lot of open source frameworks. They’re not even stuck with 1 cloud provider. They, you know, they may be using hyperscale 1, 2, or 3 in their environments. They’ve got certifications across multiple hyperscalers. They’ve got data scattered all over the place on premises, on cloud 1, on cloud 2, and cloud 3. And I think, you know, the the first way to go and talk to them about is, you know, what do you wanna get as an outcome and see how we can reach into all of those data stores, for example. It may be running on another cloud.

Chris Chelliah [00:02:50]:
It may be running on premises. It may not be an Oracle database. It may be an open source database. How can we show them really quickly using the skills they have to get some value out? We show them by literally showing them. So, you know, if if if I can draw on a whiteboard or an or an iPad and show you what we’re doing, and they go, if I could show you this, we first understand what they’re using. Okay. So you’ve got a and b and c. If I can show you how your database is running on Azure that’s using MySQL can benefit out of this.

Chris Chelliah [00:03:19]:
Would that be a you know, would that help you? Absolutely. I don’t think you can, but let me show you. And we literally launch a cloud instance at the end of a browser if we’re in a location where that can happen, and we show it to them. Engaging with cloud, you know, cloud is about bringing technology to the forefront. Right? So it’s really easy to provision environments. It’s easy to show and scale really quickly. And we’ve invested in the organization to have a lot more hands on. That’s been the focus of our investment over the last number of years.

Chris Chelliah [00:03:51]:
Hands on architects are not here waving sort of slide way or marketing way, but saying let me show you on the real cloud with your real data.

Karissa Breen [00:03:59]:
But how are you sort of marketing those to the sort of younger generation? Would you say Oracle’s done a great job at that from your perspective?

Chris Chelliah [00:04:07]:
Look, I think it’s always it’s always an opportunity to reach new demographics. One of the areas that we’re really invested in is, you know, we think that sports and sports tech can appeal at pretty much any age group. And if you look at what we’ve been doing with Premier League Soccer, and what we’ve been doing with Red Bull Racing, and what we’ve been doing with SailGP, is really taking real applications of data, live data, high speed data, intense drama, suspense, and showcasing the power of data in each of these different sports arenas. And that’s reaching a massive demographic where, you know, people go, wow, I didn’t know you could do that. And then we apply that, you know, when when there’s interest, we pivot them to now the business use of that. So it’s great to see Oracle Red Bull Racing and how we work with Red Bull Racing to use data to augment their strategies, their race time strategy. Now and that’s bringing them wins down. You know, that’s taking and shaving tens, if not 100 of 1000th of a second off their race time.

Chris Chelliah [00:05:11]:
That’s fantastic. Most of us don’t run businesses where a 10th of a second or a 100th of a second would make a huge difference, but we can pivot. We can do it for a 100th of a second. What can we do there for your business? And I think that’s a different way of engaging these demographics, getting them sighted. There’s also a whole bunch of work that we do with developers and the developer communities, whether that’s through hackathons, that’s through student organizations, through interest groups. How you can get AI experiences and experiments up and running really quickly. Also with research, research institutions, and we just showcased some work that we’re doing in South Australia recently for cyber security. So it’s getting into sort of areas that you wouldn’t, you know, see as typical everyday IT and showing people the power of cloud and IT and and AI in this context.

Karissa Breen [00:06:00]:
You mentioned before, Chris, didn’t know, meaning Oracle, you could do that. Did you think that’s where the gap is? People just don’t know that Oracle does all of these things. It’s not as well known. I can say this because I’m sitting out on objective. What is Oracle doing about it?

Chris Chelliah [00:06:14]:
There’s a couple of things we did about it. So you’re absolutely right. I do get that question a lot. We didn’t know you did that. And the very first thing we needed to do was actually make sure that we have something compelling for people to want to know. Right? And when we designed OCI, the 2nd generation cloud, we designed it with that in mind. We designed it knowing that we are not going to be the 1st hyperscale in people’s minds. They’ve already been around for 10 years, so they’re gonna have choice 1, choice 2, choice 3 in front of them.

Chris Chelliah [00:06:41]:
If you look at where we are, we knew we were coming into a multi cloud play. So it’s one of those things that if you design with that in mind, you had to be compelling. In fact, for a customer to even look at me, I need to offer them more than what their incumbents are offering. Otherwise, why would you look at somebody who’s coming a little later? And so we designed with that in mind. So when you where do we start? We had to create a cloud that was compelling to people who already had other clouds. And I’ll give you what we did is we engineered some of that innovation in. I told you about showing it. A lot of customers may have cloud providers, but still only 30% of workloads run on cloud.

Chris Chelliah [00:07:17]:
Cloud’s been around for almost 20 years, but only 30% has moved to the cloud. And so we tackled around solving that problem. How do I show customers to move that 70% that’s still on premises? How can I show them to move that to the cloud quickly? And then we look, well, what’s what’s holding that back? Security, operational aspects, and just the ease of migration. So how do we engineer and build a product in our cloud that addresses those things, that removes that objection and barrier? So that means if we had an inch so we started to your point. Where did we start? We started with engineering something that was designed for multi cloud, right, that had some compelling differentiators to have the conversation. The second thing we did is we then made sure that, we change the way we engage with customers. A, some of the branding perception that I talked about with the sports, getting into that different demographic. But b, also the way Oracle engaged when we was, you know, we’re we’re a very different company from where we were 10, 15 years ago.

Chris Chelliah [00:08:19]:
You know, Oracle started as a software company. And as a software company, when you sell software, you’re effectively licensing software to a customer. And a customer may bring in ISV or an SI or themselves build something out of it. Right? And we’re one step removed from that because they do what they do once they’ve licensed the software. 1st with the cloud, we’re continuously engaged with the customer. We’re delivering an outcome, we’re delivering an SLA around it, so we’re closer to the customer. So we had to gear ourselves to be able to go from just a software based sort of sales engagement to a cloud based in perpetuity engagement if you like. Right? And to do that, you need to be able to arm your your teams with the capability to have the technical conversations.

Chris Chelliah [00:09:03]:
And also, we we, you know, we put in not just resources and skills, but we also shifted our measures internally to drive everybody in the company towards aligning to their customers’ success. So we’re all driven on our customers getting to their objectives and when they get to their objectives, they consume our cloud and that’s how we’re measured based on cloud consumption. So we started with a good base of what customers want to hear from, then we changed internally. The third thing we did is we said, that’s not good enough. Let’s now break the walls or the garden walls between the cloud providers. Let’s now take the innovation that we have and put that inside some of the other hyperscalers. I’ll give you a couple of examples, right? Database at Azure is one of them. But even before that, let’s look at the, you know, the most popular open source database today is MySQL.

Chris Chelliah [00:09:54]:
It’s been the most popular for at least a couple of decades. MySQL runs on every other hyperscaler out there. Now Oracle introduced a capability called MySQL heat wave that will make your MySQL databases run orders of magnitude, not 1x2x, orders of magnitude faster. And we thought, we shouldn’t just keep that to customers on our cloud. What about customers running MySQL on Amazon and other clouds? And so we roll that capability out into other clouds. And you think about that, you know, we’ve got a pedigree in data management, MySQL’s about data management. So we built that innovation, we rolled it out, customers extremely happy with it. We said, well, if you’re running on other hyperscalers, you should benefit the same.

Chris Chelliah [00:10:36]:
So MySQL Heatwave runs on Amazon. You can access it over Azure. Same thing with database at Azure. We recognize that customers are running Oracle databases today and going to Azure or some of the other hyperscalers, they don’t have that performance and scale and security that we deliver with our extra data technology. It’s not available on the other hyperscales. So with database at Azure, we took the entire Oracle Cloud footprint that manages data and stuck it inside an Azure data center. So now if you are a hyper you’re a enterprise that’s using Azure as your hyper scaler, your primary hyperscaler, Again, I’m not asking you to change anything to my to my point earlier. I removed the barrier on the object of of objection.

Chris Chelliah [00:11:22]:
I said stay at Azure and I’ll just turn on a cloud service for you.

Karissa Breen [00:11:25]:
Just going back to those statistics, you said 30% moved to the cloud, 77 haven’t, and maybe a reasoning for that was the security concern.

Chris Chelliah [00:11:35]:
Primary reason why customers tell tell me they haven’t moved to cloud is because it’s not a move. A move is almost you know, the wrong it’s a it’s a fallacy. It’s usually, a rearchitect, a rewrite when you go to the cloud. And when you rearchitect and rewrite this risk. Right? So organizations then sit into this whole planning cycle, you know, do we rearchitect? Do we do this? Is that gonna cause disruption to the business? The cost, this cost, this time, this risk. There’s a whole bunch of things. And that’s why cloud adoption has been so slow. If you look at mobile phone adoption, you know, within 10 years of the mobile phone being invented, I think it had a saturation of about 90% adoption.

Chris Chelliah [00:12:15]:
Pretty much everybody’s got one regardless of, you know, demographic market, etcetera. You look at cloud after 15, 20 years, 30%. What’s stopping you? Right? Everybody knows the benefits of clouds. It’s about fast provisioning. It’s about elasticity. It’s about only paying for what you you use. It’s about evergreen innovation services, you know, it’s constantly being updated for you. Right? Everybody knows the benefits of that.

Chris Chelliah [00:12:40]:
Why would you not move?

Karissa Breen [00:12:41]:
You think everyone does that?

Chris Chelliah [00:12:43]:
I I think they do, especially in markets like Australia, which is, you know, a very mature cloud adoption market. So it’s not I don’t think anybody would build a case for, you know, why I shouldn’t go to the cloud. Right? You know, the case is always, we wanna go to the cloud, but there’s a whole bunch of things we need to do to re architect, rewrite, rebuild to get to the cloud. We changed that, we turned that pyramid upside down. We said, what if I can give you a cloud that emulates the characteristic that you have on premises? So if I can give you so that means you reduce the rearchitecture time and the rewrite time, and hence, the risk, and I can take you to market really quickly. I think Australia being one of the, you know, the in my in my territory at least, you know, across Japan and Asia Pacific, it’s one of the more more mature markets. They can mature developed economies. So, you know, it’s it’s up there in terms of cloud adoption.

Chris Chelliah [00:13:39]:
Right? And it’s it’s adopted very early relative to the other markets. It’s there. It’s got a massive presence in the Australian market. Right?

Karissa Breen [00:13:47]:
But why do you think that’s the case? And I only ask that because Australia naturally is quite a reserved market in terms of their buying. They don’t, like, work you know, start ups. No one really cares as much. Why would they be mature then in the cloud space?

Chris Chelliah [00:13:59]:
Answer to that question goes back maybe 15 years or so where I think there was a move towards saying, how can we get to more elastic compute? Australia was was ahead in digitization, number 1. So there’s a lot of digital work going on. And digital work works best in a cloud because you’re accumulating masses of information over time, and you don’t wanna pay for that in one you don’t know how much you’re accumulating. Right? So cloud gives you the elasticity to scale up really quickly. I think Australia was one of the markets as well that the the other hyperscalers started in really early as a test market. Right? As a as an early adopter market. So, you know, bring that technology in early adopter, invest in, you know, iron out some of the kinks. So Australia’s, I think if you look at I don’t have the stats on me, but Australia would be up there as, you know, saturated in terms of adoption.

Chris Chelliah [00:14:49]:
Now, the thing about cloud spending, one of the promises of cloud spending was that, you know, your your IT spend in the enterprise would become more elastic, become more variable. In other words, if you don’t use services over the weekends, you don’t pay for it. You use services in the weekday, you pay for it. Right? I think where we’ve been able to, you know, in the recent conversations we’re having with customers, not all of them have seen that trend. They’ve actually seen the, you know, the cloud costs actually go up without that elasticity. Right? And there’s a couple of reasons for that. Again, it’s it’s in the design of the cloud, it’s in the design of some of the commercial constructs of the past. Right? In the cloud, I’ll give you one example.

Chris Chelliah [00:15:27]:
In the cloud, everything is on the network. Okay? So it’s great when you put a bit of workload on the cloud, it’s on the network. But then if every resource on the cloud is on the network, as they communicate with each other, you got network traffic, what’s known as network egress. And the other cloud providers, you know, make it easy to get to the cloud, but they charge you an arm and a leg for egress.

Karissa Breen [00:15:47]:
So you think that blindsides customers then?

Chris Chelliah [00:15:49]:
Well, look, I I I won’t speak for the competitors, but all I’m saying is, you know, it’s a well known cost point for customers on the cloud today.

Karissa Breen [00:15:56]:
Getting that on purpose though, or do you think

Chris Chelliah [00:15:58]:
Look, I I I won’t speak to what the others say, say, but I’ll tell you what, we we’ve designed that. Part of the problems that we solved, if you remember, I said we wanted to solve a problem, have a compelling conversation on day 1. We built this cloud and we sort of said, you know, we’re gonna do networking very differently, so that we don’t gouge people for network egress cost. Right? Because if I’m trying to encourage you to adopt something, I gotta make my commercial model consistent with that. I’m trying to encourage customers to move to the cloud, so I need to make them, you know, be able to scale really quickly with that and not pay significant, cost for that. So technologies, you know, capabilities like that, that means I can have a conversation with customers centered around, hey. What have you not moved to the cloud? Don’t you want to take that there? Yeah. We can’t.

Chris Chelliah [00:16:42]:
We need to rewrite it, rearchitecture. What if I can show you how not to do that? Or if you’re already with hyperscaler a or b or c, and I can say, hey, listen. When you go between a and b, does that cost you a lot? It does. Right. How about I put my cloud right into one of those hyperscalers? Would that help you? Because then you can stay within that cloud without the egress. Right? So it means I can have compelling conversations that address some of the top of mind concerns of my customer. And you know, we we’ve been progressively, we started in 2019 and we’ve been progressively adding capabilities. You know, we started obviously, as you would always do, you start with your own work.

Chris Chelliah [00:17:19]:
We started helping customers with oracle databases that are running on premises and move those databases or applications to the Oracle cloud. That’s why we started in 2019. And then we sort of said, well, hang on a minute. Bring non Oracle databases to the Oracle Cloud. Bring non oracle applications to the oracle cloud. Make it really easy to do that. And then we said, take all the innovation that we’ve got on the Oracle Cloud and move it to other clouds, like the MySQL HeatWave example. Then we said, oh, take the whole cloud and put it in other clouds.

Chris Chelliah [00:17:51]:
So it’s been a progressive experience, and we’re getting closer and closer to the customer. Our response is purely being on what customers have asked us for. Our joint install base, if I were to use the Microsoft example, our joint install base of Microsoft and Oracle, they’re running Oracle software and Microsoft software on premises in their data center today. Well, why would you ask them to run that software in 2 different clouds and 2 different data centers? It doesn’t make sense. Rearchitecture, risk. You break this application that’s running on premises with Microsoft software and Oracle database software, and say, move your Microsoft software to the Microsoft cloud running over there and your Oracle database running over here. I don’t want to to rewrite and, you know, rearchitect that application. So we said, well, move it all to Azure, that’s your cloud.

Chris Chelliah [00:18:37]:
Move it all to Azure, we’ll just bring our cloud inside there. So you can see how, you know, these conversations become pretty compelling, and they become easy for me to demonstrate to customers. That’s important as well. Because I think customers have spent a long time in the couple of decades of cloud and see how hard it is to move these applications to that 30% conversation we’re having earlier.

Karissa Breen [00:18:59]:
But why do people say it’s easy though? It’s so easy. You just flick it on and we’re here. What’s with that?

Chris Chelliah [00:19:04]:
It’s that’s a good question. It’s easy for new applications.

Karissa Breen [00:19:07]:
But not historical legacy, like, bank?

Chris Chelliah [00:19:11]:
Correct. If you if you were to look at, you know, the banks in Australia, and if you look at where they’re running, and talk there’s a lot of talk about what’s running on the cloud, but that’s all the new stuff. The bulk of capability is actually running on premises today. Right? And so if you were born in the cloud startup, you’d go in the cloud, you’d go do that. But that IT spend today in our market, when we talk about the IT spend, the bulk of it, that 70% of the IT spend, is keeping the lights on. You know, it it it doesn’t make sense to keep the lights on when you can go and know, as you keep the lights on, you’re naturally not adopting the latest innovation as well, because innovation’s in the cloud. Cloud’s evergreen. What does that mean? When we roll out capabilities like our autonomous database in the cloud, it’s getting updates on the fly, so you’re never going to, you know, be stuck in an old environment.

Chris Chelliah [00:19:59]:
Say, there’s a security patch to be applied, we’d apply that on the fly. You don’t have to hear about if it’s on premises, you gotta hear about it, you gotta schedule it, you gotta do regression testing, all of that takes time. So there’s a innovation evergreen aspect to this, but there’s also a risk and security aspect to this. The cloud can actually keep you evergreen and consistent. If you look at most of the vulnerabilities out there, and most of the breaches actually are based on vulnerabilities that we actually have, we know about. We know the vulnerabilities, and a huge percentage of them is actually fixes already out there. It’s just the fact that the organizations that got that got impacted were in the process of scheduling a manual patch in a episode that will happen whenever they could within the business schedules. Whereas in the cloud, as a cloud provider, we autonomously give them that that capability.

Karissa Breen [00:20:51]:
And would you sort of say that going back to, you know, being labeled cloud provider 3, 4, I would agree with that. Do you think there’s a real plan now from your perspective, especially in Australia with everything that you sort of mentioned about the adoption and maturation to be that 1 or 2 position?

Chris Chelliah [00:21:08]:
The biggest gap for us is customers sometimes haven’t heard of this. Right? And we we we’ll change that. We’ll change that. I think right now with AI, it’s a huge opportunity to go and have this conversation. In fact, everybody’s coming to us to have the conversation. I’ll tell you why, because, you know, customers, prospects, the market, the research institutions, partners, analysts. AI is equal to d+i, data plus infrastructure. And I think that’s the missing link.

Chris Chelliah [00:21:38]:
Everybody’s been focused on AI equals infrastructure infrastructure infrastructure, you know. That’s important, that’s an important part. GPU infrastructures are important for AI. And I think we have a very differentiated story there with what we’ve done with OCI Cloud and the networking infrastructure. We’re able to build these large clusters of GPU’s very differently compared to my competitors. And if you look at one of my largest customers is actually Nvidia. It’s a flip. Right? All of the hyperscalers are Nvidia’s customer.

Chris Chelliah [00:22:11]:
Not all of the hyperscalers have Nvidia as a customer. Right? So when Nvidia runs their models, when they run their sas application, they only run it on OCI because of the speed of the capability in the SLAs that we deliver on our infrastructure. You can rent a GPU from any of the hyperscalers. You can’t get NVIDIA service anywhere else but OCI because they have seen the power of networking. In an AI cluster, the way these models get built, just like the neurons in our brain and how we fire. Neurons don’t, you know, independent neurons firing don’t complete the sentence. It’s lots of neurons firing and then connecting together and that, you know, creates sentence. When you have GPU farms, you know, 1 or 2 of them won’t cut it, you need tens of thousands of them together to build these models.

Chris Chelliah [00:23:01]:
And when you got 10,000 GPU’s communicating with each other, where’s your bottleneck? The network that links the 2 together. I talked to you about network egress before. Right? So we’ve got a fundamentally different network that makes us less chatty on the network and makes us more efficient to build the largest clusters. And that’s why Nvidia is one of our customers, whereas it’s not a customer of any of the other hyperscalers. So that’s one part of AI infrastructure. The second thing is when you’ve built this beast, this brain, you gotta feed it. And you’re feeding it with what? Data. Right? And if you look at Oracle’s pedigree in data management, in data security, it’s a huge differentiator.

Chris Chelliah [00:23:42]:
And again, I’m not just restricting data to the oracle database, which is what we’re known for. I’m opening up data. I gave you the example of MySQL heat wave. I’m opening up data to any data you have anywhere in your enterprise on my cloud on the other cloud and structured data, unstructured data, graph data, spatial data. We’re able to read all of those, ingest all of those, no matter where it resides as one. Protect it autonomously as one. Now when you have access to that sort of data, you know, protection and isolation is key. Our architecture does that by default and that autonomous protection that I talked about does that by default.

Chris Chelliah [00:24:23]:
So what I bring for AI is I bring the data, no matter where it is, on infrastructure that’s superior to the other hyperscalers, and I can show it to customers. And so I think that’s what’s driving and and that’s what’s gonna, you know, keep our momentum and keep us on the trajectory that we’re already on. It’s the AI. It’s the AIL. Okay? Because AI needs data. AI needs information.

Karissa Breen [00:24:47]:
Joining me now in person is Jay Evans, global chief information officer and executive vice president from Oracle. Jay, thanks for joining. Thanks, Carissa. Thank you for having me. So, Jay, I wanna start with Oracle was founded in 1977, so making the corporation around 47 years old and in operation, which is probably a longer tenure than most organizations out there. So perhaps let’s sort of start here. What strategies are driving in your role at the moment to modernize Oracle’s product and service suite go to market? And I asked this question because of the tenure of the business. I’m really curious to hear

Jae Evans [00:25:23]:
your thoughts. Well, when the company started, I was probably about 3. So wouldn’t probably known back then, but looking back now, one of the big things that fascinated me about coming here and working at at Oracle, and I’ve been here now just over 4 years, is the maniacal focus on really helping the customers solve really hard problems. And it has been the past 4 years, a very challenging for myself personally on, what are things we could do to help our customers and truly focusing in that space. So from a strategic point of view, because we are helping customers of all different sizes, enterprises, businesses, government entities, and truly trying to help them getting their workloads, leveraging the cloud, leveraging things like Gen AI. One of the big things that I see as a big differentiator and strategically for Oracle is this unified strategy we have for our unified cloud. And by that, what I mean is we basically are the only cloud provider that can provide truly a full comprehensive set of resources for our customers across, if you will, the full stack. Everything from the infrastructure side, so from infrastructure as a service, all the way up through the application stack of horizontal apps and full vertical applications from industry, custom industry applications like finance or pharmaceuticals, health care, etcetera.

Jae Evans [00:26:47]:
So this is where I see as a big differentiator for Oracle, and that is something I see strategically helping customers to be able to run their workloads and their critical workloads onto OCI. So that’s a big big differentiator I see from strategy point of view. The other thing though that we see is, you know, we came later to the cloud space, if you will. But talking with our customers and in the 40 plus years where they’ve leveraged a lot, say, of our database technologies, one of the big things that we see is, hey. I’ve gone to the cloud. I’ve made a cloud decision, say, to Azure, but I have my database workload still on premises. One of the big things there we see is we wanna bring the cloud to our customers. How do we do that? We recently announced this extremely, I think, game changing strategic partnership with Azure to enable our customers to get their database workloads in Azure, literally putting our database assets in Azure’s data centers so that they could run nearside to where in real time, where their application workloads are that they made a cloud decision and then putting the database workloads where they were running it on premises into the cloud using the same Azure portal, running their tendencies under the same contract that they have.

Jae Evans [00:28:05]:
So this gives that level of service that customers really need. And so while they get all the benefits they got from a database technology standpoint, now they’re getting it in the cloud, sitting side by side to their application, getting the performance and the enrichment and the set of features that they need and the levels of security all running now in the cloud in one contract. So this is a big thing I’d say strategically that if you look at from where we were many years ago, prior to me, you know, joining, but how we’ve then evolved that and then be been able to actually differentiate ourselves and bring the cloud, if you will, to our customers. Another thing we’ve done as well is customers, while the cloud has been around for quite some time, customers still haven’t fully adopted to cloud, and a big part of what we hear and see around that is they have a lot of their workloads still on premises because of privacy requirements. It could be data sovereignty requirements, regulations, operational requirements that are much more stringent for them that they wanna keep on premises. So one of the things we’ve also done is we’ve we’ve been able to, if you will, t shirt size and provide a smaller footprint of our entire cloud, same set of services, same function, and put that into our customer’s premises and in their data center. So then they get all the benefits and features of what you get in public cloud, but then they can get it now into their data center that they, have, you know, more of the controls, and the data then resides within their data center so that they don’t have, you know, the concerns about data residency or data sovereignty and gives them the benefits to be able to do that and run their cloud. So this is one of the big other differences that Oracle has evolved in, again, understanding our customers

Karissa Breen [00:29:46]:
probably don’t necessarily look to OCI customers probably don’t necessarily look to OCI as comprehensive set in terms of the marketing and the the comms that go out? And I only say that because I’m obviously sitting from an objective perspective having worked in a bank, being familiar with Oracle historically. Would you say people are not sort of seeing that perhaps in terms of comprehensiveness that you you guys at Oracle offer?

Jae Evans [00:30:12]:
Yeah. So I think even for myself. So prior to coming to Oracle, I worked in various different industries. I was in retail, ecommerce running and won a fortune one retail chain. Prior to that, I was in gaming and electronic arts in the gaming industry. And then prior to that, I’d been at some, various other, software as a service company. And across a lot of that, the thing I knew at that time was Oracle was known for providing database technology and providing things like ERP and HCM type solutions at the time. Right? Those kinds of applications.

Jae Evans [00:30:44]:
I did not see them, frankly, as a cloud provider. And that’s because at back in the you know, prior to 8 years of our cloud journey, we had not had a robust cloud as I’m talking about today that now being able to differentiate what we’re able to provide on top of the applications. Right? So now fast forward, what we’re able to provide is in fact a highly distributed scalable cloud that now all the applications that I’m talking about that we just discussed sits on to our cloud. So we had to build our cloud differently so that we can get that scale, so that we can run these applications and these database technologies consuming a bunch of data and size of data across various workloads at that level of scale, at that level of security so that each customer can have their set of, you know, performance, their set of resources, their experience, all running onto our cloud. So that’s the big game changing thing that we’ve been working on. And so when I talk about it, it’s still relatively new ish. Right? We haven’t been around that long. The cloud that we built is, you know, upwards of 8 years old.

Karissa Breen [00:31:43]:
So would you say that’s the reason for the delay because you had to build the cloud differently?

Jae Evans [00:31:48]:
Right. So if we look at, like, what we’ve historically been known for, so this is the momentum and the big change. So if you just look at some of the analysts even and how we were rated as far as, like, our cloud and what we could offer. It took us time to be able to build the cloud, get it at the scale, get the set of services and infrastructure services as well as the applications to be on the cloud. So if you looked at kind of where the analyst saw us, some of them saw us as, you know, much as we’re a niche player. You’re only providing cloud for Oracle workloads. But, actually, we’re a general purpose cloud. So a lot of it, frankly, Carissa, is getting it out there.

Jae Evans [00:32:20]:
The momentum is there. So analysts are also seeing this. Initially, I’ve had conversations when I first started. Now, like I said, 4 years. When I started in my 1st year talking to analysts, a lot of the times they thought, are you only building cloud for Oracle only workloads? And the answer is actually no. We’re building it for general purpose, and we actually have customers who are running infrastructure heavy, not running Oracle, not the app that I I just talked about, but actually just storage, network, compute type, heavy duty, intensive workloads on our platform, on the cloud. On top of that, as well as running other customers running these kind of well known, mature Oracle applications database technology that we’ve been known for historically onto the cloud as well. So this is the big shift that’s happened and the momentum that’s there.

Jae Evans [00:33:05]:
So now you’re getting a lot more awareness, a lot more understanding, and a lot, frankly, a lot more customers that are using, our services.

Karissa Breen [00:33:12]:
Do you think the awareness is there? And I ask that simply because OCI is probably not what people think about straight away. It’s other competitors that are out there. What what’s your sort of plan to get that sort of pushing towards its own?

Jae Evans [00:33:26]:
It’s great, like, having conversations like this with you, having conversations various other media, having conversations with customers who are actually using our products. These are the things that are are showing and telling the things, you know, what we’re doing. And frankly, we’re focusing on what our customers’ needs are. And when we do that, we’re showing it by they’re actually using our cloud. They’re actually using the set of services. Right? It’s not just marketing wear, it’s actual customers using our products and then showing that and describing how we do that. And, frankly, I also use our cloud as well for our own, you know, internal IT services and so I have, you know, own set of use cases and what I’m using and how how we’re using our own cloud.

Karissa Breen [00:34:08]:
Because I’ve worked you know, I’m at the coal fairs of the industry in cyber, worked in the space before, as I mentioned, a bank. So I’m very close to people and there are people out there that do say OCI is, you know, you guys offer a lot in terms of the comprehensive set, a lot of integration. Would you say that sort of miss though? Because there are other sort of competitors out there that people, again, sorry to go back to it, it’s just more so curious that they think of the competitors first. So how how are you managing that sort of conversation? Perhaps things are overlooked in terms of the capability that people aren’t aware of. People meaning customers.

Jae Evans [00:34:41]:
Sure. Well, the good news is we have a lot of customers who, you talked about. We’ve been around, you know, since the seventies, and we have a lot of customers who use our technology and products and services. And some of them use it on premises today and some of them use it on the cloud. So I think one of the the things there, first of all, is we are focusing on making sure we provide our customers with the level of service that we need to provide them. And those that are using are wanting to leverage the cloud and cannot, but they’re using Oracle technology. We have created a lot of solutions that enable them to do that. So that whole momentum being there, Khursa, I think is a big thing that is enabling our customers to be able to use the cloud.

Jae Evans [00:35:21]:
Now we came to the cloud later than some of the competitors, so that’s probably why you also hear some of the names that you may or may not mention that are out there more so than OCI and the set of customers that we may not have right now may not know about OCI. So it’s opportunities like this that I want to make sure that potential prospects as well as existing customers know about our cloud strategy and what does in fact differentiate us and how we help them get their resources onto the cloud. Because I see cloud as being one of the most technology accelerators of the past 15 years as a huge opportunity for customers, whether it’s creating new businesses, becoming more efficient, helping improve customer experiences that they’re able to leverage by getting onto the cloud. And so that’s the thing we wanna continue to educate and make sure that we’re doing and also by actual use cases.

Karissa Breen [00:36:12]:
Do you think there’s an opportunity now for Oracle or more specifically OCI to have been in the front sort of be the front runner because of the tenure in the seventies as well as as well as being heavily integrated, very large corporations and multinational. So what’s your sort of play now as a CIO to to make sure that you are the front runner?

Jae Evans [00:36:36]:
Yeah. Well, so one of the big things that, you know, I have responsibilities for is IT responsibilities for ourselves at our scale. We have, you know, hundreds of offices around the world running hundreds of applications and, you know, upwards of a 170,000 employees that we have to make sure, you know, are able to do their jobs and do their jobs well, with the tools and and products and services that we provide them with. So that’s that’s one big part of my job that I make sure that we look through what are the things we can do to make sure we have the good experiences for our end users. We continue to optimize the things that we’re doing in ways that we’re using what I call more Oracle at Oracle approach of using our own drinking our own champagne or however we we say it, eating our own dog food, of using our own set of services and making it better, frankly. And some of those things as a result of doing that at our scale and our size is we take some of those services and we commercialize it and offer it on OCI for other enterprises to be able to leverage because they have similar challenges as we do of our size and scale. So that’s a one way that I do it. Another way is I have responsibilities for OCI.

Jae Evans [00:37:38]:
I have security responsibilities. I have operations responsibilities. I have support responsibilities and platform responsibilities, things like cost management and some of the commercial systems to support our customers to make sure that, you know, they’re able to get the set of services that’s performant, the level of reliability, and and scalability, and flexibility. So these are the things that I have direct control over to be able to help make an impact for OCI and for the, you know, bigger Oracle, you know, strategy that I talked about earlier.

Karissa Breen [00:38:06]:
So I wanna get into the security side of things, but before I do that, I wanna just talk a little bit more on speed to innovate versus competitors. You mentioned it before. You were a bit slower in the market, which makes sense because it was more specific things you had to address first. How are you sort of managing this now moving forward though? Maybe just to touch on that a little bit more.

Jae Evans [00:38:26]:
Yeah. I I think, you know, one of the things that Oracle is known for and also what I am really proud about working here is the level of innovation and the speed of innovation by which we have acted upon to make sure based on our customers’ needs, to make sure we’re we’re constantly innovating and evolving to meet our customers’ needs. And so, you know, not even 2 years ago did we have this thing I just described to you where we’re providing an entire same set of services that our customers would get in public cloud like all the other cloud providers. Being able to t shirt size that in a much smaller footprint, but getting the same set of services and putting it in a in a customer’s data center, none of our competitors can do that. While they have some variations of that, they would do it with a subset of services. This is because the way we built our cloud that we’re able to do that from an innovation standpoint and at the scale and speed and velocity that we get to do that for countries like Bangladesh, Oman, and places where we’re able to to put these dedicated regions cloud at customer, getting that full set of cloud capabilities to help them in in their, country and and with their citizens and make this kind of impact. That was not even 2 years ago that we didn’t, you know, even talked about this. So this is a level of innovation and able that we’re able to turn around and get services there that that really differentiate us and using again our own assets and how we were able to build the cloud.

Jae Evans [00:39:47]:
Similarly, multi cloud is another one. The level of innovation that we were able to do to again, customers have databases. They’ve had databases for many, many years prior to even the mention of cloud with Oracle, but they wanna get the level of performance side by side with some of their other cloud providers to do that. You have to be able to provide the level performance, colocate that in a location that gives them that level of performance. We started that. We did some, like, low lower levels of integration, and we did that to what we call, like, sort of example with Azure. We did that with, like, these things called Azure interconnects that created, like, the networks to be able to then coincide where we had their cloud regions and our cloud regions close by each other. And so we’re able to give some customers this lower level of integration and performance that they needed, but they needed even more because some of their databases were chatty, some of them needed higher levels of performance, higher levels of throughput, lower levels of latency.

Jae Evans [00:40:37]:
To do all those things, we had to partner with with Azure listening to our customers and putting our OCI database workloads inside Azure’s data center and giving the customers that then have Azure, as their cloud initial cloud provider, also the experience with the Oracle database running their workloads side by side. Now they’re able to do that. This is the innovation, and we were able to turn that around again. The amount of velocity that we were able to get that as quickly as possible, we’re we already launched a few couple of regions. We’re launching upwards of 15 that we announced. We’re working very fast and hard for our customers, but it’s that level of innovation and creativity that we created that’s game changing for these customers. We never would have thought that they would be able to have 2 different cloud providers working side by side, but doing it for them so that they can run their workloads in a performance, secure, highly reliable manner. We’re able to do that.

Jae Evans [00:41:29]:
Right? And that’s a level of innovation that I’m proud that we’re able to work on and deliver for our customers.

Karissa Breen [00:41:34]:
So speaking of security, how do you sort of then manage the innovation with security? Because we’re always in this conundrum where we innovate too quickly, we’re not secure, or we’re too secure and it’s like we have no innovation. How do you sort of manage that?

Jae Evans [00:41:45]:
Yeah. So one of the first principles of when we built the cloud is we we also because of the fact that we’re running really critical workloads for our customers. Right? We’re not, you know, talking about we’re talking about workloads that are running for enterprises, for government entities, businesses who are relying on their workloads to be successful for their businesses to be successful. Right? So this is not a chance for, like it’s not a playground. It’s not a science project. It’s critical workloads. Because of that nature, the way we built our cloud is we built it fundamentally with security as kind of the core tenets of building our cloud. Similarly, when we built the cloud, I talked to you about some of that automation is that ability to build the cloud in a way that we can scale it and we can get the velocity to build many of these regions in the cloud is because we fundamentally use that as one of our core tenants.

Jae Evans [00:42:31]:
So based on that, knowing that these workloads were extremely critical, knowing that we historically have been running really critical workloads running on on our database technology or running really, really important business processes working on some of our application portfolio across our SaaS fusion and our global industry units. Because of that, we fundamentally built our cloud that way, Carissa, so that we kept that in mind. So some of some of those things is making it easier for customers so that when they onboard to our tenancy, we have some of the the the core, you know, capabilities from a security standpoint already embedded. Everything from, you know, our hardware supply chain, everything from how we deploy our cloud, everything from how we do our integration with our APIs. All of those things we take into consideration fundamentally as part of how we built the cloud. On top of that, we then added more tools and capabilities for our customers for things like, you know, from a perimeter perspective, making sure that we have the levels of security obviously from the network, robustness and the network levels of security. Things like DDoS, things like firewalls, all those capabilities that we’ve added and built, to ensure that we give our customers a level of safeguarding their data and and their tendencies. Right? The other piece as well is we created tools that help with detection and response response.

Jae Evans [00:43:48]:
Right? So this is then giving them when, you know, when we talk to our customers, they say, what are the biggest concerns that you have about, you know, running on the cloud? Well, security of my data and or some of these, you know, concerns about human error of having some an operator inadvertently, you know, impact my cloud or someone, you know, unfortunately compromising an account and getting into my, you know, tenancy and then accessing the things. Well, we created tools that help provide the level of detection, level of response, create the perimeters to obviously safeguard and not come in, but and for any exfiltration, infiltration of data, but then also providing these tool sets so that to give the customers the the capabilities to make it easier for them to leverage, you know, from a security standpoint. Because this is one of the things that are top of mind because they’re running these critical workloads on our cloud.

Karissa Breen [00:44:33]:
I’m curious to know, would you say people still seem rattled by the cloud even even nowadays? Yeah.

Jae Evans [00:44:39]:
When you say the word rattled, I mean, I think for for you know, we work with a lot of different entities and, I’d say, you know, what one of the big things, for example, when we talk to, you know, I I mentioned Bangladesh or Oman. You know, one of the big things for them and why we ended up with a dedicated region cloud at customer type of solution for them where, again, they get all the cloud benefits because they want to get that velocity. They want to get that technology accelerator I spoke about, but they wanna get it with the controls and the privacy and the data sovereignty that they need for their own, right, workloads to run. So that’s where we see this as hugely strategic. And, again, based on that strategy, we give our customers different deployment options so that they can have these different solutions for cloud to run whether it’s, you know, in their data center or whether it’s in our public cloud. We give them when we run the same we have the same what we call bar. We have the same security bar with how we build dedicated region cloud at customer or in our public cloud so that we don’t, you know, have questions of, oh, we only run it this way for the public cloud and we’ll give you less a set of services for that cloud. So we do that in a uniform manner with that same bar.

Karissa Breen [00:45:48]:
I’m gonna sort of switch gears slightly now and just to sort of conclude our interview. What about sort of customer loyalty? Now, obviously, as you’ve mentioned throughout this interview, in the seventies, 47 years strong. But would you say, Jay, it’s it’s harder nowadays to retain customers irrespective of historical brand loyalty, etcetera? I think we’re seeing across banking industry as well. Customers now very quick to just sort of flick over into a new provider. How do you sort of see this sort of unfolding now as we traverse into the rest of the year but moving forward as well?

Jae Evans [00:46:23]:
Yeah. It’s interesting, Carissa. Like, I think about in my different companies I’ve worked for in the past, and I talked to some of the, historically, if you will, on premises type suppliers of private cloud, you know, the the hardware providers, the software providers. And oftentimes, their argument to me was, hey. If you go to the public cloud, it’s like the roach motel. You’ll never come back. You’ll get stuck there. You’ll use their tools, and you’ll never have a choice to get out, and you’ll just, you know, have to continue using their stuff.

Jae Evans [00:46:47]:
Right? I believe with the competitive nature and the environment, which makes it great for customers, they get choices and they have optionality. And so to your point is customers do have choices and they have options. What we’re trying to do is in listening to what our customers’ needs are is focusing on what can we make sure we’re delivering to give our customers the type of levels of security, levels of reliability, the functionalities that they need at the scale that they need it at, and continue to innovate to be able to provide those solutions for them. I think that’s the biggest focus and the big diff biggest differentiator that we have, which then, you know, coming later to the game, it’s like, hey. We have the this is the capabilities, and that entices them to use our services because we’re using that feedback loop. We’re truly listening to our customers, what their needs are, and then we’re creating that feedback loop and creating this set of services to meet their needs. I see as big game changing because, in fact, customers do have options. Right? And that they have choices.

Jae Evans [00:47:41]:
We wanna provide the right solution so that they end up, you know, using our service.

Karissa Breen [00:47:50]:
And there you have it. This is KB On the Go. Stay tuned for more.

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