Opinion: SOAR’ing through the Cloud in Sri Lanka


By Chandita Samaranayake, Head of Application at Oracle – Sri Lanka, Indochina, and the Maldives The cloud, since its inception, has expanded and evolved into one of the biggest paradigm shifts in the computer age. It is changing how businesses run and people work, it is creating new categories and disrupting existing categories, and it is changing how we communicate and share. Almost all the digital disruptions that are occurring today have some form of cloud at their core. The best cloud platforms support growth at every stage of business, and global industry leaders and emerging startups alike have realized that cloud computing could take their businesses to the next level. Cloud is the new normal and it is influencing every business in every industry, and in every geography. It has changed how we behave and consume services. It is a model that redefines how services are created and consumed. As such, today, businesses are demanding cloud for its ability to deliver speed to market, agility, innovation, and performance. With it, they can create and deliver compelling applications that give better end-user experiences, workflows, security and analytical capabilities to help grow revenues and reduce costs. As modern businesses and innovative IT technologies originate in the cloud, industry analysts predict that over 50% of all enterprise data will be managed in the cloud and 80% of application operations will be resolved autonomously by 2020. The growing number of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications has enabled businesses to directly acquire solutions with little or no assistance from the IT department, eliminating the need for upfront capital and reducing the lag time from decision to value from months to days.
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Sri Lanka’s cloud transformation journey gathers momentum Sri Lanka as a market has witnessed tremendous growth in its cloud transformation drive over the last few years. From financial institutions to telecommunications, apparel manufacturers to blue chip companies, local businesses have come on board for faster innovation and business transformation through cloud applications. Oracle Cloud has played a key role in this journey, assisting top-notch Sri Lankan organizations to modernize their business processes and systems by simplifying and standardizing the performance of key business functions including human resources (HR), finance, and supply chain. MAS Holdings, Sri Lanka’s largest apparel manufacturer and leading manufacturer of intimate apparel, sports, swim and performance wear, is now using Oracle Cloud Applications for payroll and human capital management, which benefits more than 90,000 employees across Sri Lanka and the globe, while fueling the organization to drive strategic HR transformations across the group with ease. Millennium Information Technologies (Pvt) Ltd (MillenniumIT ESP), one of Sri Lanka’s leading information systems solutions providers, recently went live on Oracle ERP Cloud to help simplify its business processes and increase visibility into its financial operations. This has enabled MillenniumIT ESP to reduce IT complexity and increase employee productivity by helping to automate previously manual processes and improving decision making through advanced data analysis. Leading local telecommunications provider with a global presence, Etisalat Sri Lanka has also deployed Oracle Cloud Applications to drive innovation and business transformation by increasing business agility, lowering costs, and reducing IT complexity. Central Finance, a leading financial solutions provider, effectively engage its customers across multiple touchpoints, with the help of Oracle Cloud Applications. With Oracle, Central Finance is able to cater to customer queries, interact across various social platforms with increased efficiency, and provide consistent customer experiences. The beauty of Sri Lanka’s cloud journey is that it has helped organizations to realize the importance of moving into an OPEX (operational expenditure) model from a CAPEX (capital expenditure) model. Many businesses have understood that it is not just about spending money on technology, but also a prime opportunity to rationalize their finance operations, which, in the long run, can have a much bigger impact on their bottom line than cutting IT costs. Deployment of modern cloud applications has also helped Chief Information Officers (CIO) become more strategic. Implementing cloud-based applications provides companies with the opportunity to take a step back and reevaluate all of the existing controls, roles, and segregation of duties; meaning that CIOs now have a lot of space for innovation and strategic business thinking. Getting cloud ready Organizations are increasingly adopting cloud-based management solutions. According to the recent IDC Vendor Spotlight survey, 50% of the users planning net-new IT operations analytics (ITOA) solutions want to move from on-premises to cloud service–delivered solutions. Public cloud-delivered system management revenue grew 46% in 2016. Strong growth of public cloud-based solutions is forecasted to continue through 2020 with revenue expected to grow to more than double 2016 levels. For Sri Lankan businesses, the reality is that technology-driven disruption is happening at a breakneck speed and businesses must sprint to keep up with fast-changing variables. Competitive pressures, the impact of disruptive technologies, and constantly increasing user expectations make a speed of delivery and quality of service top priorities. A new breed of comprehensive and automated system management solutions is needed to ensure these qualities in complex, high-scale, hybrid IT environments. While some Sri Lankan companies are ready to move completely to the cloud, most desire a systematic approach – moving applications, one-by-one, to the public cloud, while retaining some mission-critical workloads on- premises. This is particularly true for larger enterprises in banking, insurance, telecommunications and government domains, which are more restrained by tighter rules and regulations around data privacy and governance. The question is just how best to travel this journey, especially when, in most cases, enterprise customers want the best of both worlds – maximum ROI from legacy investments and the advantages of a modern, scalable, secure cloud infrastructure. Indeed, a blend of on-premises and different models of cloud applications will be a key part of almost every company’s cloud journey for some time to come. As such, in the first instance, Sri Lankan IT leaders today should concentrate on optimizing their existing infrastructure and becoming cloud-ready, by simplifying, standardizing and modernizing existing on-premises infrastructure. Most importantly, business leaders have to understand how cloud applications will help their companies move forward into a state of readiness for their path to cloud innovation. Final thoughts The shift to cloud is real and it is causing most enterprises, including Sri Lankan organizations, to reevaluate their architecture and application landscape. Sri Lanka as a country has made major strides towards becoming a cloud-ready nation and we are witnessing the trend of organizations gradually migrating their business processes and data to the cloud. Dissatisfaction with current IT management approaches, which are often fragmented, involves substantial human interference and silo-based, is a prominent reason for many companies in Sri Lanka to consider adopting cloud-based management solutions. In that sense, a comprehensive cloud suite like the Oracle Cloud will enable customers to extend, enrich, and customize their application environments with unprecedented intelligence, security, speed, and predictability. The latest IDC Public Cloud Services Tracker has recognized the momentum and growth of Oracle Cloud and the role it plays in redefining how organizations modernize, innovate and compete. New cloud solutions like ‘Oracle Soar’—the world’s first automated enterprise cloud application upgrade product—will enable customers to reduce the time and cost of cloud migration by up to 30 percent. Moving forward, local organizations who are willing to embrace cloud should closely evaluate their state of ‘cloud readiness’, adopt cloud applications smartly into their business processes and innovate at a rapid pace as there will be more changes ahead. Increasingly, customer interactions will start with conversational intelligent chatbots; cloud-based AI and machine learning technologies will be used to spot patterns and anomalies across vast volumes of data and a new generation of business applications built on blockchain will change the pace of local businesses significantly in years to come. To keep pace, Sri Lankan companies must get hands-on with innovation, leverage cloud to adopt emerging technologies, and boldly seek out new opportunities to drive change.
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