The Voice of Cyber®

KB On The Go: Insights from the Oracle CloudWorld Tour Singapore (Part 2)
First Aired: July 01, 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 Ashish Ray (Vice President, Product Management) and Sunil Wahi (Vice President, Fusion Cloud Applications) to get their insights on Oracle’s solution to solve business challenges.

Ashish Ray, Vice President, Product Management

Ashish Ray is Vice President, Product Management within Oracle’s core database development organisation. His product responsibilities include Exadata, Zero Data Loss Recovery Appliance, Oracle Database’s High Availability Solutions (Maximum Availability Architecture), and all associated Platform as a Service (PaaS) Cloud Services.

His team is responsible for all technical product management and product strategy for Oracle’s mission-critical database technologies, including Exadata and Autonomous Database, across on-premises, public cloud, and cloud at customer. Team responsibilities include defining and driving product strategies, corralling requirements and framing roadmap based on market/business demands, articulating product positioning and value proposition, launching and evangelising products and cloud services that solve complex enterprise problems, building and managing cross-functional teams and strategic partnerships.

Sunil Wahi, Vice President, Fusion Cloud Applications

Sunil is a Vice President and Head of Solution Engineering at Oracle, where he leads the Cloud Solutions Innovation Portfolio for ERP, Supply Chain, CX, and Human Capital across Asia Pacific. He is also heading the Strategy and Execution of the Large Deals Program. He is a Chicago Booth MBA Graduate, a Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) with over 25 years of experience in enterprise software sales and consulting.

As part of the APAC Senior Leadership Team at Oracle heading Fusion Applications Large Deals Strategy and Execution, Sunil advises and executes the Go to Market Plans and Business Strategy for the Fusion Cloud Applications Business, driving revenue growth, customer satisfaction, and market share. He also leverages his industry expertise and business process re-engineering knowledge to help customers achieve excellence and embrace world-class solutions. He specialises in Finance Transformations, Supply Chain & Logistics Strategies. He has exposure and advisory work in entrepreneurial technology startup business plans, investment, and funding strategies.

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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 Ashish Ray, vice president of product management from Oracle. Ashish, thanks for joining.

Ashish Ray [00:00:43]:
Thanks, Karissa. It’s always my pleasure to be here.

Karissa Breen [00:00:46]:
So let’s start with how are you making Oracle’s database more accessible and appealing within the JPAC region, and what are you sort of doing to compete with other open source databases, for example?

Ashish Ray [00:00:58]:
Yes. So you can look at it in multiple dimensions. So number 1 is when we’re looking at the core database functionality. That’s number 1. Number 2, how we are making it easily deployable across multiple platforms. That’s number 2. And number 3, how we are bringing in new innovations within the data management of the database space. So let’s go through 1, 2, 3 at a time.

Ashish Ray [00:01:21]:
So number 1 is the core database functionality. Today, in modern data management, the needs the needs are very complex. You know, it is not just rows and columns. If you look at financial financial services company, they are not only doing financial transactions, complex financial transactions from party a to party b, they also have to do, at the same time, in real time, fraud detection to make sure that party a, when it transfers to party b, if they are going through a bunch of intermediaries, whether they should be mapped to the existing fraud detection checks. They also have to do very complex transactions in case there are cybersecurity threats, so which means the the nature of transactions, whether it is telecom, whether it’s financial services, health care, these have become insanely complex. One way to address this complexity is, like, okay, let’s make sure that there are separate data solutions in place to tackle each of these problem areas. Or what we are doing with regards to Oracle Database or Oracle Data Management is build up this functionality right inside the kernel in a very seamless manner. So that means when customers adopt our technologies, we are not necessarily integrating through a bunch of APIs, which build up business latencies.

Ashish Ray [00:02:34]:
They’re all part of the same kernel, so which means from a product development standpoint, which I represent, everything is all built in native integration. There are no latencies. And number 2, when we build in new features, these are all part of the one single codebase, which we call converged database. So that has been our principle or philosophy to build up complex functionalities to address modern data management needs. So that’s number 1. Number 2 then, I mentioned deployment. Deployment means how do customers consume these modern functionalities that we are building. The traditional way to consume this, okay, look into your existing data centers and figure out the servers, the storage, and the network, and build up, like, this massive footprint, which, of course, has an impact in power, space, and cooling.

Ashish Ray [00:03:18]:
On the contrast, customers say, like, okay, let’s go into the cloud. If you go into the cloud, some of our competitive offerings, they say, like, okay, ignore everything that you have done for the last 20, 25 years. Instead, look into new data models. New data models, new databases, application changes are a big shift, which causes IT disruption. And the customers are like, wait a minute. I don’t want to do IT disruption. I want to do everything seamlessly. And last 20, 25 years, we have built up enough intellectual property on the way we do stuff, so we should be able to carry on doing it but still get the benefits of cloud agility.

Ashish Ray [00:03:55]:
So what we have done in that regard, of course, we have made our databases available in our public cloud offerings that’s OCI and we have done it in such a way it’s still the same database, which means there are no application changes, no new data models. It’s very easy if you want to transition to cloud. But, at the same time, some customers may say, wait, I’m not really ready to transition to public cloud yet because maybe of data sovereignty reasons and data residency reasons. Increasingly, my applications could be all intermingled, intertwined with the database, and I cannot just move a one single piece of database. I have to move the entire application stuff. Oh my god, this is so complex. Can you, Oracle, build this Cloud Portfolio right inside my data center behind my firewall so that I can still take advantage of the Cloud agility, but without the disruption? And we said, yes, absolutely, you can still use Oracle Database in a Cloud Customer model such that we bring slices of Cloud to you behind your firewall. You can still use the database as a service without the IT disruption.

Ashish Ray [00:05:00]:
So public cloud, hybrid cloud through CloudCustomer, and now with multi cloud, we are partnering with Azure where Azure customers can deduct the benefits of the Oracle database but in Azure regions. So that’s deployment. And finally, I talked about 1, 2, 3. The number 3 aspect is innovation, how you’re looking at the modern innovation, and this is where modern topics like JNEI comes in. And I would be happy to get dive into details on this. But really what we are looking at, if I’m an enterprise customer and figuring out this whole GenAI space, is there any way for me to leverage my existing dataset, my private dataset, and integrate that with GenAI models such as LLMs in a very application transparent manner, in a database native manner, and that’s what we are looking at with new functionalities such as AI Vector Search that is coming as part of the upcoming Oracle database, which is Oracle database 23 c.

Karissa Breen [00:05:57]:
What about open source databases, though?

Ashish Ray [00:05:59]:
With regards to open source databases, they are very interesting. They have very interesting use cases. But the way we look at open source databases, we have a deep respect for them. At the same time, at the end of the day, it’s a customer choice. Customer choice primarily route what level of functionality are they seeking. And number 2, once they deploy this functionality, what level of technical support are they getting for this? And this is not technical support for a small, like, 2 or 3 developer shop. This is technical support, enterprise level support for a complex enterprise, maybe with with branches around the world. Right? We believe that with regards to both of them, with regards to both the technical functionality that customers seek with the modern data management challenges and then the support services that we have built up as part of our customer success program.

Ashish Ray [00:06:55]:
Many of our enterprise customers, because of these reasons, have continued to deploy and expand their Oracle database footprint.

Karissa Breen [00:07:03]:
So why would you say customers have have flocked historically or recent times to more open source databases?

Ashish Ray [00:07:10]:
In certain cases, some customers may see them as as good solutions for in a point solution approach. Like, okay, we have a specific problem, and here is an open source that they can download and start using to address that specific problem. So that’s one case where we have seen some customers have adopted some open source technology. But when they try to integrate these technologies in the broader context in the broader context, like the example that I set, when you’re doing a financial transaction, it is not just, hey, debit from one account and credit to another account. It is a complex series of micro transactions that also have to happen in a very transactionally consistent state. We believe that in those cases, customers have still continued and will continue to stay and expand with our container base.

Karissa Breen [00:07:54]:
Just going back to the open source databases for a moment, would you say that they’ve just probably yes, the technical side of it, but maybe just done a better job at marketing and branding than, you know, somewhat newer to the market, perhaps a little bit more hip in terms of what, you know, different generations think, would you say?

Ashish Ray [00:08:11]:
Yeah. I cannot comment on that. I cannot comment on how open source approach their marketing or their go to market. But I can tell you that me being in responsible for this product portfolio across Oracle database, across cloud systems, I can tell you that I have never been this busy, which means we, from an Oracle side, especially as we see in CloudWorld Singapore, the momentum that we see is enormous. So while I cannot comment on how open source technologies approach their market or their branding, We believe that that the awareness that we are seeing with Oracle Database, especially with some of the innovation that we are planning, is literally going through the roof.

Karissa Breen [00:08:49]:
What about the DB licensing model? So the charge per CPU core, how are you or Oracle addressing this commercial model other than advising customers to move to OCI, for example?

Ashish Ray [00:09:01]:
This is quite interesting. The the database licensing on a per core model has been the traditional model, and it is a well accepted model by many of our customers.

Karissa Breen [00:09:11]:
What do you mean by well accepted?

Ashish Ray [00:09:13]:
Well accepted in as the customers understand this. That, okay, if I have if I’m using the database for a certain number of course, like, okay, we will pay just for the course. For us, the transition from that model to an OCI model has been quite seamless in that regard. In fact, what we have done, so one of the products that I am responsible for is Oracle Exadata. An Oracle Exadata is an engineer system where you deploy Oracle database in this engineer system, which is a hardware and network and servers optimized for the Oracle Database. It’s a very powerful machine And today, it comes with a lot of cores because of our work with some of our partners such as AMD. Oracle Exadata comes with the flexibility such that even though it comes with a lot of cores, customers can just do what this licensing term, what we call capacity on demand. Capacity on demand will say, okay, you don’t have to license all the cores, you license only the cores that you need.

Ashish Ray [00:10:10]:
And then if you want to expand the number of courses based on your expanded business, yeah, sure, you can activate more number of courses depending on your business needs. So while this has been a well accepted model over the years, along with cloud, along with things like capacity and demand, we have introduced a bunch of flexibility in our licensing consumption that is of interest and that has been really been applauded by our customer base.

Karissa Breen [00:10:33]:
So you said before traditional licensing model. So are you saying now that that’s starting to change?

Ashish Ray [00:10:39]:
It’s starting to change in that because it’s in terms of cloud, it is much more flexible and much more agile. So I will give you one simple example. Like, one of the example one of the code database functionalities is autonomous database. Right? In autonomous database, as a cloud service, as a cloud database service, you are just subscribing to a steady state number, of course. Okay. You want your business to run with this minimum number, of cores, you subscribe to just that minimum number of cores. And now what happens at the end of the month, at the end of the quarter, if you don’t need to run a report? Right? Or if suddenly there is a business spike, autonomous database, based on the intelligence built inside the database, it can automatically scale up and scale down depending on your business needs, which means you as a customer, you are paying for this extra course only for the extra duration that you are using the course for. So this brings in a lot of licensing flexibility in tune with your business demands, with your business dynamics, and that is huge.

Ashish Ray [00:11:42]:
And the other aspect of this is while you’re doing this, the way we have implemented and engineered this, there is no application downtime.

Karissa Breen [00:11:49]:
So would you say because of this change of commercial model, what you well, starting to change, this gives OCI more that competitive edge now?

Ashish Ray [00:11:58]:
Absolutely. Because you

Karissa Breen [00:11:59]:
guys were later in the market in the cloud game as I have been hearing throughout the last 2 days. So would you say that gives an advantage then to customer?

Ashish Ray [00:12:07]:
Absolutely. And it is just one of the many advantages.

Karissa Breen [00:12:09]:
Do you think customers know about that though in terms of that licensing model?

Ashish Ray [00:12:14]:
The customers that we talk about definitely know, and I’m sure that there is no limit to how good we can be. So I’m sure there is scope for improvement on how we can spread this awareness within our customer base.

Karissa Breen [00:12:27]:
So with your role as VP of product management, what can people start to sort of see on the horizon? Now I ask this question because, again, one of the points that I’ve been and observations I’ve had is Oracle is, you know, known for its historical Oracle version of 47, you know, years ago. Now you guys are modernizing, you’re moving, you’re changing. What how are you gonna sort of ensure that there’s that competitive landscape against the other cloud providers now, especially in the product side of things?

Ashish Ray [00:12:57]:
Yes. Yes. Yeah. That’s a very very good question, very interesting question. So if you look at our existing customer base, the existing customer base tends to rely on Oracle for business critical to mission critical data. So there are various ways or various attributes that are very pertinent to this dataset. Scalability, Reliability, Security, High Availability, and Performance. I invent like, I use an acronym to myself.

Ashish Ray [00:13:26]:
I call that acronym SHARP, scalability, high availability, reliability, performance, and security. So there are 2 aspects to it. Number 1 is, do we have a path towards innovation so that we can continue these attributes, providing assurances on these attributes as their data management needs explode and become more complex. And this path towards innovation continues for us with some of the technologies that we are bringing to market such as CoreExadata, Cloud Services, and Core Database Processing. So that way, they are well invested with us because they have the assurance that, okay, Oracle is on this innovation trail for their existing dataset, they can continue to get the same innovation trail. And then number 2 is, as their business needs change, as their business dynamics change, to what extent we are also part of this change? So for example, when they are looking at complex if it’s a health care company, if you are looking at a complex health care environment, how we can bring in gen AI advantages so that that in turn introduces automation and brings in health care in a very seamless manner, affordable to customers, to end users worldwide. So there are 2 aspects. 1 is continue with the existing path of innovation.

Ashish Ray [00:14:45]:
The second thing, look out in the horizon, see how the technology and the business changes, and see what innovations we can provide so that customers have the assurance that as their business directions change rapidly, they have a trusting technology partner with us.

Karissa Breen [00:14:59]:
So what innovations can Oracle provide moving forward?

Ashish Ray [00:15:03]:
Yes. So one big area that, as I mentioned, is that we are looking at is this whole Gen AI space. And if you look deeper into the Gen AI model, there are 2 aspects of Gen AI. 1 is you look at the public domain knowledge, which is the LLMs. Right? You have to train the LLMs for large language models, but then that’s not enough for an enterprise database. Why or an enterprise customer? Because how do you integrate this public domain knowledge to your existing dataset, which could be 100 of terabytes or it could be petabytes? That’s where we come in. Some of the newer technologies that we are building as part of the upcoming database, which is database 23 c, is called AI Vector Search. Vector database or vector processing in this whole new area where you’re looking at data but not looking at data in a superficial, just metadata level.

Ashish Ray [00:15:53]:
You’re looking at data at a deep semantic level. So for example, if I am a product catalogue company, I may sell, say for example, like handbags. You can look at a handbag and you can say, oh, okay, this handbag has this price, it’s made by this manufacturer, and it has these certain attributes. So those are, like, metadata attributes which are very well trusted model. But now when you look at such a product information, you look at deep semantic analysis of this data or any image, now you see, like, okay, this is a handbag of this certain style, of this certain colour, and there could be multiple variations of that colour, which means you can have a different representation of this product catalog within your dataset, and that’s essentially call what we call as a vector. It could be handbag. It could be a complex financial document. It could be a legal document.

Ashish Ray [00:16:45]:
It could be any other image. It could be a transaction. It could be an entity. So the possibilities of this vector datasets are enormous. Now within oracle, if we have a model such that customers can use open source libraries to embed incoming datasets to vectors and store that natively inside the database in a high performant manner, do the computations around vectors, and do the search, all of them using the familiar Oracle APIs, then that’s huge. That means they can bring in all the JNI innovations right within the database, within the dataset without causing massive disruptions in the applications. And when we talk to some customers about this, the light bulbs literally go up because they see that, okay, our administrators, our traditional database administration, now can be data scientists because now they’re looking at the semantic value of data, hence, leading to the possibilities of unlocking productivity of these terabytes and terabytes of data they already have.

Karissa Breen [00:17:56]:
So in terms of moving forward, what’s sort of on your road map for the year, what can people expect? And how, from a product perspective, do you see OCI becoming leading?

Ashish Ray [00:18:07]:
When at least when I personally talk to customers and the feedback that I get from customers, how they see OCI different or Oracle’s cloud entrance to be different, is they feel that we have brought in our enterprise value to the cloud. Oracle has been a trusted enterprise customer or enterprise partner over the last 20, 25, 30 years. When I talk to customers, say, in the database space, when I say, hey, this database is available in OCI, they know that when we bring in the database deployment, now customers can say, like, okay, let’s deploy this database in OCI. They know that when we provision and deploy the database, even the nitty gritty initialization parameters, the default values that we set in these parameters as the database is brought up, we choose this very carefully based on our 20, 25 years of enterprise knowledge and best practices. So that way, the inherent enterprise trust that everything that Oracle has done on premises, it’s reflected through the set of cloud best practices. That trust remains. And increasingly, that’s what enterprises see, our customers see, that when they are trusting OCI, the same level of best practices, the same security standards, reliability, high availability, scalability, all of them transition over without any disruption, without any downtime, without any application changes. So those are the big differentiators compared to if they were to go through any other competitive cloud offering.

Karissa Breen [00:19:47]:
Do you think customers know that that know that in terms of differentiators?

Ashish Ray [00:19:51]:
Customers increasingly know this, and I’m sure we can do a better job in making sure that this awareness is within the customer’s circle.

Karissa Breen [00:20:02]:
Joining me now in person is Sunil Wahi, vice president, Fusion Cloud Applications from Oracle. So, Sunil, thanks for joining. So, Sunil, I was reading your bio before today’s event, and you are heading up the strategy and execution of large deal programs. So what is a large deal program?

Sunil Wahi [00:20:22]:
So thanks for having me, you know, through this podcast. I’ll just give you a context of what I do at Oracle and what my team, runs with. Large deals is essentially part of, the solution engineering portfolio which I lead with, and, this is for fusion applications. Right? Fusion applications are essentially our set of core business applications, which we have been, developing and driving in the market for for more than a decade now. It’s our true cloud, natively built SaaS set of applications around core ERP, HR, which is from a human, employee experience standpoint, customer experience solutions, and then a very strong set of supply chain applications also. So these solutions form part of what we call, fusion applications, and, me and my team essentially drive the entire solution strategy, solutions, execution, working with clients, you know, in the region. For example, AirAsia and Malaysia, you know, Macquarie, which is, again, a very large customer we have in Australia, they have successfully deployed their entire back office finance on core ERP. Large deals is a segment which we lead to work, way more closely with, some of our strategic customers to help them, you know, be successful as they run through a fusion cloud SaaS journey.

Sunil Wahi [00:21:46]:
That’s essentially what we do.

Karissa Breen [00:21:49]:
So before we jumped on the interview, we’re just talking about my last version of Oracle. Would you agree that people in the market still have a an older version of Oracle? And then if so, how how how is Oracle going about sort of modernizing that sort of brand and leading it back to maybe, you know, the large deals program? Because you are working with large customers. How does that sort of look?

Sunil Wahi [00:22:11]:
So yeah. Look. Clearly, we have had a huge legacy of customers. Right? And that’s our install base. Let’s put them in the bracket of a set of our on premise customers who have been running who were running our e business solutions. They have been running JDE, and they’re also some of the customers are also on successfully deployed the PeopleSoft applications. Now this is our legacy on premise install base, which over the last decade, we have been transitioning to fusion cloud. And that’s again something which my team actively engages in working with partners, working with consulting teams like Oracle Consulting, partners like KPMG, Accenture, Deloitte, and others.

Sunil Wahi [00:22:51]:
So we we we have been and we have been successfully migrating a lot of these customers to fusion cloud. Few examples are the ones I’ve given you, AirAsia, you know, Macquarie, PIL, which is, again, a large liner company here in, Singapore. They have successfully gone live on, the fusion cloud. So the way we are innovating and the way we are moving towards fusion applications is one of the most agile way which customers can deploy. And, hence, we also have non oracle install base, you know, in our competitive areas who are looking at us to advise them on fusion strategy. So we have done deployments of non Oracle installed base as well who have successfully, moved to fusion applications. So I would I would pretty proudly call out that our success rate in moving customers off legacy to Fusion Cloud is extremely high. Our success rate in customers who have the latest set of our innovations is extremely high.

Sunil Wahi [00:23:54]:
Like, no customer on Fusion Cloud lives on a release which is even a step back. Right? They’re all our Fusion Cloud customers are on the, latest application version, and we release about 4 versions every year. You know, in contrast to the on premise world where you’ve done a legacy release and, you basically are behind because the upgrades, the technology which you need to move to, the customizations which you have done are all gonna take a lot of time for you to move to the next release. All that disappears in the cloud world. Because cloud comes from a true native, agile background. We run the updates every quarter. We advise the customers. We work with them to help them get into new innovations.

Sunil Wahi [00:24:40]:
And as a result of that, every customer of ours today, right, we have about 40,000 plus fusion cloud customers are on the latest and greatest release as of this year.

Karissa Breen [00:24:51]:
So there’s a couple of things that you said. So just going back to the success rate, so what does that actually look like though? So you said we’ve got a higher success rate. What does that mean?

Sunil Wahi [00:24:59]:
So, by success, what I mean is, customers who have shifted to cloud have gone live. They haven’t had, you know, large lengthy times to move to the cloud version. They haven’t got held up in implementation challenges or, you know, customization scenarios because the entire model of cloud is an agile driven model. Right? We have what we call modern best practices within the application. So it comes with a set of prebuilt requirements around GL, AR, AP. There are, business innovations as part of cloud. Right? I’m sure we’ll talk about AI and Jet AI. There’s workflow automation, which is built into these applications.

Sunil Wahi [00:25:43]:
So and and there are prebuilt set of analytics. Right? A whole lot of packaged analytics which are part of cloud. So when you think about it I mean, take an example of, any customer. Right? Say, PSA here in Singapore, the largest, ports, Singapore authority. They’re successfully live on, Fusion Cloud. They went live on ERP. They have gone live on EPM, which is our financial, planning planning and consolidation cloud solutions. They’re now looking at, establishing a data strategy project as well, leveraging fusion analytics.

Sunil Wahi [00:26:15]:
So a lot of capabilities, Karissa, within what a customer requires is packaged as part of our fusion cloud so that customers do not have to go build their own applications. Yes. There could be some, you know, secret sauce applications which they do need. Right? There will always be those kind of applications. Those we then, you know, let them leverage our PaaS application. So PaaS is, I’m sure, you know, Chris and others would have discussed with you. PaaS is essentially where we allow customers to extend the SaaS footprint. So if someone wants to build an application a which is very unique to their business and something which we cannot deliver, they’re gonna use the PaaS platform, and they’re gonna build on top of it.

Sunil Wahi [00:27:01]:
As a result of that, anything which happens on SaaS remains, standard. Anything which we release on a regular basis can be immediately rolled out, and, hence, the success rate and the deployment of these applications is, way faster than the old on premise world.

Karissa Breen [00:27:18]:
Would you say you’re faster than competitors?

Sunil Wahi [00:27:20]:
100%. Yeah.

Karissa Breen [00:27:22]:
So before when you said implementation challenges, delays, etcetera, is that under the assumption that competitors would have implementation challenges and delays, etcetera?

Sunil Wahi [00:27:32]:
Well, look, from a SaaS standpoint, right, we are, today number 1 if you look at if you look at, you know, multiple different statistics in the market. And the agility at which we can deliver these applications is already proven by the customers who have leveraged it. Right? And they have successfully deployed it. That’s what I can tell you at this point of time. And at CloudWorld, you will hear from a whole lot of customers.

Karissa Breen [00:27:57]:
What about new customers though? In hindsight, it makes sense if you’re saying there’s a success rate because they’re here and they’re talking about it, but how do other new customers are perhaps listening to this interview? How do they sort of know? Because, I mean, at the end of the day, no one wants to feel delayed and they don’t wanna have implementation challenges, etcetera. So how do you how do you sort of gauge that from the start with a new customer perhaps?

Sunil Wahi [00:28:18]:
In terms of giving them confidence and assurance that we, you know, we can actually deliver. Well, I mean, multiple different ways. Right? One is, we work very closely with our partners. So our large SIs, our, fusion implementation partners, they are skilled to deliver, fusion cloud applications. Right? Their certification processes, there’s a lot of enablement which my team and our channels organization runs to make sure that they understand what we are talking about because the innovation is pretty fast. Right? Every 3 months, we are releasing new innovations, and we need to make sure that the ecosystem is at pace to what we are offering. That’s 1. The other is we directly engage with a lot of our customers.

Sunil Wahi [00:28:59]:
We have a customer connect platform. We have about 80,000 plus. Right? And these are all published statistics. 80,000 plus users at any point of time who are engaging on our, cloud customer connect platform. It’s it’s a public, you know, platform which, folks can leverage. And, naturally, our customers log in. They exchange a lot of information, and that actually helps drive more than 50% of our product road map. Right? So new capabilities are coming in from a lot of feedback from our customer community.

Sunil Wahi [00:29:31]:
The new customers who come in and and you will hear a lot about new customers. Right? Like, you will hear from JResources, for example. JResources is a mining company in Indonesia, and they are they are one I would call new to the fusion system. They went live. They trusted us. They were running a non oracle legacy platform. And, they are today successfully deployed fusion cloud, working closely with Deloitte, and they’re also speaking at the Deloitte Forum. Oracle together was with Deloitte was truly engaged with them through the journey.

Sunil Wahi [00:30:05]:
Right? We were giving them guidance on product capabilities. Deloitte was running the implementation strategy. We were constantly in touch through the customer success team. We have a customer success organization within Oracle who engages on a regular basis with every customer, pretty much. And, the role of the customer success office is to ensure cloud services get deployed. It’s pretty simple. It’s not about, you know, selling a officer. We have Gary Mueller here.

Sunil Wahi [00:30:43]:
He’s the global head of customer success services, and his entire organization is is one we work very closely with to make sure customers are, you know, well informed. And the implementation strategies, which partners are rolling out, is in line with the cloud agility principles, which means try to keep it at, 0 up 0 customization. Try to keep it on time. You know, try to drive new innovations, into the product portfolio, into the implementation. And I can give you multiple examples. For example, my team is now involved, in a generative AI enablement plan because we have already announced generative AI services in our, HCM Cloud solution, and we are constantly working on a regular basis with our key h HCM customers to make sure that they adopt these capabilities. Because guess what it is? It’s a switch within the fusion cloud application, and that’s where the customer success team comes in. My team comes in.

Sunil Wahi [00:31:44]:
We work with the customer to make sure these capabilities are switched on.

Ashish Ray [00:31:48]:
What do

Karissa Breen [00:31:48]:
you mean it’s just a switch? What do you mean by that?

Sunil Wahi [00:31:50]:
So we’re talking about generative AI now. New innovations. Right? Now what that means to our fusion application customers, right, from a, from a business standpoint. AI ML is something which you can divide, into 2 areas. Right? Classic AI and generative AI. Now in the world of classic AI, we have been constantly releasing capabilities. Right? Classic AI has been there with us for more than a decade. We have been doing predictions.

Sunil Wahi [00:32:17]:
We have been doing correlation analysis. We have been studying patterns of data, driving insights from it right from a database standpoint to our application standpoint. Right? And that’s why we run an autonomous database, which can self heal, self patch. Move it up to the applications layer. A lot of these core applications can leverage the inbuilt AI capabilities of our platform. Right? What we have done, hence, in the fusion applications, take an ERP example, is we have exposed these AI services as use cases within the business application itself. So when a CFO is trying to look at fusion ERP from a GL standpoint, you know, you you have engaged in a banking project, They wanna run a cash forecasting scenario. We can today do, predictive cash forecasting, which is machine learning driven.

Sunil Wahi [00:33:11]:
Right? That’s a classic AI use case, and it’s now inbuilt. It’s part of a fusion application. So machine learning picks up the model. It picks up the cash forecasting use case, and it can come out and give you predictions on, you know, what’s your, cash trend gonna look like. And based on that, the CFO can make, you know, relevant decisions of, should I go and look for, supplier discounts? Should I go, you know, look at raising funds or so on? We have announced we have been doing this for quite many number of years. Another use case is, document recognition. Right? So suppliers sends hundreds of invoices to you. You get these emails and the biggest problem is how do you detect fraud, how do you detect duplicate invoices, and how do you get this data into your application.

Sunil Wahi [00:33:57]:
Automated invoice recognition comes in, which is AI driven, and it can load these invoices into the AP system. It learns as more and more data and more and more invoices are coming in, and it starts mapping this data right into your AP invoice fields. So what’s essentially happening is your productivity has just completely changed. If you are running a shared services center, you don’t need to necessarily run, you know, manual processes to capture invoice data. You don’t need to run complex integrations. You can just use, our IDR capabilities, and it pushes data into AP. I can go on and on and talk about many use cases. Right? These are two examples.

Sunil Wahi [00:34:38]:
We have classic AI embedded also in procurement applications for supplier risk detection, for example. You know, you could do risk assessment from a supplier standpoint based on certain trends and predictions. For example, you know, a particular supplier in particular country has, a lot of social, news spreading out, which is negative about their market capitalization. The system can first understand this data, analyze it, and come out with predictions to say that there is a risk which we are sensing where these suppliers could actually delay delivery of your, goods or inventory or your shipments. This procurement head could then start making insights around it to say, okay. How do I change my sourcing strategy? How do I look at other suppliers to mitigate my risk? Now in the traditional days, all this would have been manually done. You know, you look at suppliers, you start measuring their risks, you start ranking them, and you start basically figuring out how do I keep multiple suppliers in my sourcing plan. Today, AI can actually run those predictions because you have data, and you could run those analysis.

Sunil Wahi [00:35:44]:
Now your shift is into a generative AI world. Right? So last year, OpenAI came out. You know, we all woke up to the Jack Cheapie phenomena. And and, essentially, generative AI is the next level of, you know, this entire AI ML umbrella. And generative AI, what it’s doing is basically looking at how do you offer assisted authoring capabilities or or generate relevant text, meaningful insights using the data which you have within your business applications. I’ll give you an example. Job requisition process. You know, to create a job requisition, every time a HR officer is gonna go into the system, try to pick up a job description, pick up the competencies, pick up the goals of that particular job, and start keying in manually.

Sunil Wahi [00:36:33]:
Generative AI comes in with AI assist capabilities in HCM Cloud, the the use case which we have, you know, just announced. And that use case basically helps you completely automate the job description process. So it writes the narrative you. Gen AI writes the narrative for you. It writes the goals. It writes the description for you, and then the human can actually go in and run the edits. Now this data is coming from your own fusion application because you would have, you know, previously created a similar job type. You would have created a similar job grade.

Sunil Wahi [00:37:10]:
So the Gen AI model has picked up these insights and given you a particular job description. And then the human or the HR officer can edit it and then go and publish it, hiring.

Karissa Breen [00:37:22]:
So I sort of switch back to the legacy customers. So would you say with your experience, it’s hard to sort of do that transition to fusion cloud for historical legacy customers, or what’s your view?

Sunil Wahi [00:37:35]:
We have tools to move our legacy customers to cloud. We have, lot of experience, tremendous amount of experience within the partner community, within our own consulting organizations to make this transition. So it’s not difficult at all.

Karissa Breen [00:37:51]:
So would so would you say that majority of people are Fusion Cloud or more legacy Oracle customers? Where would they sort of sit?

Sunil Wahi [00:38:01]:
Well, I won’t share percentages with you for sure, but a majority of our customers definitely today are, fusion application customers. I mean, the cloud transition has happened for the entire, you know, last 10 years. It’s not year 1 for us on fusion application. It’s been more than 10 years since we have, developed these applications, natively built them on the OCI platform, and, we have been constantly enhancing, releasing new innovation. So the core the core the core ERP, we have already sorted. You know, our core AR, AP, GL, we have massive customers, I mean, right from Macquarie Bank to CIAM Commercial Bank to, you know, of large pharma companies in India, JPMorgan in North America, Citibank, HSBC globally runs their back office finance on, you know, our fusion cloud, ERP systems. So these customers are, again, large marquee logo customers, and they wouldn’t have gone live successfully if the applications did not cater to their business requirements. So so we are fairly strong in the logos we have.

Sunil Wahi [00:39:14]:
We are extremely capable to deliver to the requirements which, you know, a lot of these industries ask for. I mean, in hospitality, we have Marriott who’s running our HCM cloud applications. We got Hilton who’s successfully live on HCM Solutions. They run learning management. They run talent. They run recruitment on HCM Cloud, and they process 100 and thousands of, transactions on a daily basis pretty much. So it’s it’s a fairly mature footprint, you know, we are talking about at this point of time.

Karissa Breen [00:39:46]:
Yeah. So definitely not questioning sort of the capability of the of the application. More so just customer’s intention. No one likes doing things they haven’t done. It’s hard. It’s risky. It’s more expensive. We’ve gotta get new people in.

Karissa Breen [00:39:58]:
There’s those reservations people out. So it’s more of this their intent. As soon as you put the word cloud in anything, people do still feel fearful even if it is 10 years. Like, just anywhere with cloud generally, I would say that, you know, maybe people still don’t get it. They don’t send the value still even, you know, it seems maybe obvious for people like yourself, but isn’t as obvious for customers perhaps. Or is this more so their motivation?

Sunil Wahi [00:40:23]:
Well, I mean, you have a you have a fair point, and I’ll I’ll tell you what’s happening. Right? So I think 5 or 6 years back, the conversation among CXOs was about why cloud. Right? And we used to get into these discussions to say cloud offers a, b, c, agility, you know, low cost of ownership, faster ROI, low risk, x y z. Today, a lot of CXOs, you know, you’re gonna talk about the biggest concern is how do I move to cloud at a rapid pace? So the question is not about, you know, cloud or no cloud. The question is how cloud. And with that question in mind, naturally, there are a lot of, you know, software providers who have come in with multi cloud strategies. There are options which customers have to decide whether they should go for a unified cloud platform like fusion applications where they could bring ERP procurement, CRM, HR, supply chain on a common platform, or they look at, you know, point cloud solutions. So the conversations or or the what what we are trying to do today is essentially give them sufficient confidence and sufficient quantified business outcomes that a unified cloud model like a fusion cloud solution can actually be better, more agile for you, and way more cost effective than going for point, cloud solutions.

Sunil Wahi [00:41:45]:
And I can give you examples in that space as well.

Karissa Breen [00:41:49]:
So just going back to the customer side of things, historically, if you look at, like, the last 10, 20 years, a lot of people probably went more one provider, then we saw a shift to point solutions, and now we’re sort of seeing it come back the other way. Why do you think that’s the case?

Sunil Wahi [00:42:03]:
Customers have also gone through sufficient amount of suffering. I mean, you know, initially, everyone thought, like, the procurement office thought they’re gonna set up their own procurement cloud. The finance office wanted to go and do their own finance, cloud transformations, And the supply chain office or the CEO’s office wanted to go do their own thing in manufacturing because they never believed that manufacturing can run on cloud. They did that. And then companies came in with, integration solutions to say, hey. We are integration providers. We can help you orchestrate business processes, you know, across different cloud solutions. But at the end of the day, it just became a a very complex architecture if you think about it.

Sunil Wahi [00:42:46]:
Different technologies, different, learning skills, right, different capabilities, and expensive integrations, which are again being costly charged by these cloud providers. And, hence, that entire wave anyways had to turn back because, you know, when you look at ingress ingress and data charges, which these cloud providers would then charge these customers, they got a reality check, and they started realizing the value of a unified cloud platform. It could be phased out, so don’t get me wrong on that.

Karissa Breen [00:43:16]:
So we could go back to point solution again?

Sunil Wahi [00:43:19]:
What? Not to a point solution. You could phase out your deployment. For example, you could start with I mean, take take any any example. Right? A successful rollout of PSA, for example. PSA started with a back office finance transformation. JResources did the same. AirAsia did the same. You could start with GL, accounting hub, core ARAP modernization.

Sunil Wahi [00:43:40]:
And from there, you could move into a phase 2 of I wanna now go and tackle my supply chain, my procurement. And then you could hit a phase 3 to say, now I wanna look at HR. I wanna look at customer experience, and I wanna look at my data strategy. The beauty of, the fusion cloud story is that it’s all on a common platform. It’s all on a unified cloud. So you have a choice as to how do you wanna deploy this. Yes. We have customers who go for a big bang approach as well, but then they have the internal DNA.

Sunil Wahi [00:44:11]:
They have kind of figured out, you know, the cloud implementation models internally. So they don’t struggle that much if they decide to go for a big bang. Other customers actually have a flexible approach to go phased, and cloud services are subscription driven. So, basically, you’re paying what you’re using.

Karissa Breen [00:44:29]:
So in terms of moving forward, do you sort of see more market consolidation, like, in terms of, like, trends or what what do you think?

Sunil Wahi [00:44:37]:
I mean, AI, ML, Gen AI, these capabilities are coming out as key differentiators for companies. Right? And and they are asking CFO, CXOs are asking the IT organizations, their IT organizations to help them devise an AI strategy. So every CXO forum we go into, they are talking about how do we differentiate with, you know, leveraging these solutions? And I think that’s gonna create a huge edge for cloud service providers like us who would have a lead in these applications to leapfrog, right, this consolidation opportunity as it exists. And that’s gonna basically define the role of cloud players. That’s gonna define how we’re gonna, you know, continue innovating on that particular part. And I think the journey is already set. We are on that journey. We are dedicated.

Sunil Wahi [00:45:32]:
Very confident.

Karissa Breen [00:45:37]:
And there you have it. This is KB on the go. Stay tuned for more.

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