Fri, 24/06/2016 - 12:40
Current Issue 59
Information technology’s most powerful force, Oracle is harnessing the power of the cloud to boost African enterprise and lead the way in business agility, innovation and collaboration
Truly Committed to Africa in the Cloud
Writer: Matthew Staff
Project Manager: Donovan Smith
“Oracle has been doing business on the African continent for more than two decades, and over the past three years has invested significantly to support our existing customers and partners as we enter the phase of cloud hypergrowth,” introduces Janusz Naklicki, Senior Vice President of Oracle Africa; a Company whose influence on the continent embraces nine countries and who continues to revolutionise the ways in which companies operate in the digital age.
The power of cloud technologies and computing in particular is something which Oracle has harnessed and instilled into the continent’s enterprises in recent years, with Naklicki amazed at how quickly the trends continue to evolve in Africa.
In relation to the speed of data transmission, marketing requirements and internal technological efficiencies, never before has a Company such as Oracle been in as much demand, and – as a consequence – the global business is dedicating itself to meeting those needs on an increasingly large scale.
“We have celebrated the opening of five new offices over the past year which brings us up to nine Oracle offices in Africa, located in Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Mauritius, South Africa, Egypt, Morocco and Algeria.
“As our cloud leadership continues to grow on the continent, we have also invested in people. Earlier this year, Oracle announced that it would be recruiting 1,400 cloud sales people across the EMEA region, which includes a number of those being recruited into Africa to add to our already strong workforce of nearly 800 individuals.”
The veer away from standard in-house operations to the more contemporary reliance on mobility and remote working is a process built on a bedrock of business agility, innovation and collaboration; three facets that epitomise cloud computing and three principles that Oracle has already addressed.
“What’s really forcing companies, regardless of size [to adopt cloud computing] is how efficient it can be in deploying the computing infrastructure,” Naklicki emphasised in a recent interview. “There are no barriers of entry, there is flexibility, and the power of cloud computing supports companies in their market expansion.”
The belief in entrepreneurship on the continent drives Oracle’s African strategy where the Company facilitates such business acumen with the necessary tools to thrive and survive in the modern environment. The flexibility of cloud itself further aids industry-wide development, with its incremental nature benefiting businesses of all sizes.
“The beauty of cloud is you don’t have to buy the brewery to have a beer,” Nakilicki said. “We are offering a service – not a product – in an incremental way and everyone can find the chunks of those increments as
The broadness of Oracle’s cloud services is an additional advantage, bridging areas of customer management, marketing, ERP and much more under one seamless opportunity for Oracle’s partners and customers to cherry pick from, in accordance with their own bespoke requirements and the most pressing trends in their fields.
Naklicki added: “In relation to cloud, some trends are prevailing in the market; mobility will be stronger and stronger as more and more services are delivered on the mobile devices; social media is also very powerful to help understand the needs of customers and to help shape the services and offerings for their customers; and the third trend is the Internet of Things.
“A lot of devices – not only mobile phones and computers – are connected to the internet, communicating constantly and providing information to be analysed and brought to the businesses to make right decisions.”
For Oracle Africa, the right decision revolves around a continuation of the good works carried out on the continent so far, having expanded exponentially while addressing areas of capacity building and skills development along the way; a philosophy which is set to drive the business forward in the future also.
“We’re constantly monitoring the opportunity to expand and we want to go further to be a truly African Company,” Naklicki concluded. “We hire Africans and locals and my responsibility in Africa is to make sure my leaders here are born and educated here. We truly believe in local talent and want to better it.
“We also have an intern programme for the youth to be familiarised with and then stay in this environment, so it’s all about long-term engagement.”
Oracle’s One-of-a-Kind Cloud Day
The first ever Oracle Cloud Day reached more than 12,000 people and spanned 36 countries across sub-Saharan Africa.
The event was a first of its kind, rolled-out by using Oracle’s superior cloud technology and was different to anything that the organisation had ever attempted before. Webinar technology was implemented to engage the various regions across sub-Saharan Africa simultaneously, bringing together 3,000 physical and 9,000 online attendants.
Together with Oracle’s state-of-the-art cloud technology, Oracle reached partners, channel partners, distributors, entrepreneurs, students and consumers who have and have not yet heard about Oracle. In total, more than one million participants were reached on one day, all at the same time.
“At Oracle, we believe that cloud is the most powerful force in information technology, and in short this means that it’s changing the way we work, the way we collaborate and the way we go to market. It will ultimately change the way we think about business,” says Cherian Varghese, sub-Saharan Africa Cluster Leader, Oracle. “At Oracle, we believe that cloud is the most powerful force in information technology, and in short this means that it’s changing the way we work, the way we collaborate and the way we go to market. It will ultimately change the way we think about business.
“Cloud can and will have a profound impact on business in Africa. Not only will it enable SMEs and large corporations to respond faster to the ever-demanding customer, but it will help businesses to innovate cost effectiveness at a pace that will overwhelm competitors, and at the same time it will unlock the potential of employees by supporting new ways of collaborating.”
The ‘Oracle Cloud Day’ was an overall triumph with viral success on platforms such as Twitter – with 703,457 impressions from 599 mentions by 126 users – as well as media coverage by various publications across the 36 countries.
Capacity building for future talent and innovation in Africa
Oracle’s ongoing commitment to surrounding academic institutions, up-skilling initiatives and corporate social responsibility inevitably has positive ramifications beyond the confines of Oracle HQ, and ever since the Company began investing in the continent it has been tackling core industry issues; namely the challenge of an insufficient talent pool to drive the technological transformation that is occurring on the continent.
“This is particularly critical in ICT where the pace of development is happening so quickly and finding IT talent that can underpin the technology change is difficult,” explains the Company’s Senior Director of Business Development, Oracle ECEMEA, Paula Craythorne. “To that end Oracle created a Capacity Building programme to address those areas that government, customers and partners shared with us as areas for concern.”
The buzzword emanating from these efforts is ‘readiness’; readiness that needs to be instilled across individual employees, the IT ecosystem, the youth generation, and the workforce as a whole.
From an employee perspective, “this is analysing the skills that existing employees have, both in the government and private sector, to ensure they can maximise the use of new technologies being implemented”, Craythorne says. “Very often, only a small percentage of the functionality is being used which means customers are not seeing a full return on their investment.”
It is therefore vital to analyse the needs of existing employees to ensure the correct and most relevant training is being provided, something which Oracle University is aiding across both the initial skills assessment, and then also the training plan compilation so that individuals are ready to capitalise on the functionality of the wider business.
“This is challenging as graduates come out of University with hope and aspirations but don’t have the skills that industry needs,” Craythorne notes.
Setting up Workforce Development Programmes (WDP) that allow Oracle to work with government agencies to address the skills gap among unemployed youth is something which the Company has rolled-out across Africa.
Oracle is also investing in young talent through its internship programme, the rigorous training that each individual goes through prepares them for the kind of contributions they will need to make as part of a workforce, and Oracle is proud of this contribution; currently in the fourth year of its intern programme with more than 150 graduates having benefitted so far, and now finding employment in the Oracle ecosystem.
The final question revolves around the theme of longevity and how to not only build skills, but to do so sustainably.
The answer derives from the Oracle WDP which helps educational institutions prepare a new generation of IT specialists to enter the workforce with the most in-demand Oracle skills.
“Institutions can offer authorised Oracle training content as part of their existing certificate, diploma, and/or degree programmes,” Craythorne details. “In addition to the initiatives under the programme, we have our Corporate Citizenship Programme, Oracle Academy, designed to help nurture interest in computer science from an early age and is also geared-up for secondary level and universities.”
She concludes: “This capacity building programme has a strong focus from the employee all the way back to the high school student who will go on a journey through school and get to understand and love computer science. We are very committed to a multi-stakeholder partnership, as no one organisation can really address the skills challenges that are present; and we have many engagements with governments and the private sector across Africa.”
Capacity building by numbers
392 local technology entrepreneurs and developers were supported as part of Oracle’s ‘made in Africa’ solutions via knowledge transfer sessions across 16 innovation hubs in nine countries
48 participants celebrated their graduation ceremony at Oracle Cloud Day in Kenya following the completion of the President Digital Talent Programme
220 C-level government employees were reached via supported public sector workshops on eGovernment trends including data management, education, healthcare, smart cities and revenue management
135 Oracle employee children have been trained on Java across Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana and Mauritius
17 government ministries from 14 countries were engaged via the Oracle-sponsored Innovation Africa Conference
143 participants joined an Oracle Academy Day in Tanzania including officials from ministries, education, IT officials, Tanzanian Councillors and the Vice President’s office
20 students across four high schools in Kenya benefited from hosted STEM Innovation Solutions Showcases for students aged 14 to 18
43 graduates are participating in the 2016 Oracle EOH Learnership Programme which provides students with the opportunity to graduate as Oracle-Certified Associates
1,300 learners situated in a low-income district have achieved an annual final year pass rate that is significantly higher than the national average when attending Ponelopele Oracle Secondary School
2014 saw the top student for the Gauteng Province come from the Ponelopele Oracle Secondary School; obtaining eight distinctions including 100 percent in maths and science. The School also runs a successful bursary programme
80 youth in the eThekwini Municipality attended a 24-hour Codefest where students use Java technology to prepare solutions to industry challenges identified by the local business community
The Government of Rwanda
Jerome GASANA, Director General, Workforce Development Authority, Rwanda
“The Government of Rwanda embarked on promoting quality education to meet labour market demands. This vision is vested in many strategies, among them becoming an information and communications technology (ICT) hub in the region.
“Rwanda has established strong collaborations with international technology companies including Oracle Systems Limited in the process of unlocking the potential of ICT in sustainable development. In 2015, Rwanda’s Ministry of Education through the Workforce Development Authority (WDA) signed a memorandum of understanding with Oracle Systems Limited aimed at developing skilled IT practitioners and trainers in the education sector and the broader IT industry.
“Such collaboration with Oracle Systems Limited does not only enable education stakeholders in Rwanda to improve the quality assurance for Technical Vocational and Education Training (TVET), but also the implementation of the smart Africa manifesto that puts ICT at the centre of socio-economic transformation.”
Solving global challenges
Oracle supports more than 1,000 non-profit organisations globally through a combination of grants, sponsorships and volunteer support. The Company’s grantees are working to solve some of the world’s most pressing challenges; from delivering reliable healthcare to rural communities in Africa; to fostering the next generation of innovators; to supporting girls and young women of colour in the digital space. In Africa alone, Oracle has 10 grant recipients.
One such recipient is Wecyclers, a Nigerian Company helping low-income communities to capture value from waste and to clean up their neighbourhoods through incentive-based recycling.
Oracle funding supports general operating and the creation of recycling clubs at two schools, which educate 10,000 households annually on the importance of proper waste management.
Since being awarded the Oracle grant, Wecyclers has purchased a truck to boost waste collection; has been selected as the winner of the 2014 Sustainia Prize (a prestigious award given to the best sustainable solutions from around the world); has been named as a finalist in the 2014 Africa Awards for Entrepreneurship in the Social Entrepreneurship category; and has been selected by the Unilever Foundry Programme for a sustainable behaviour change pilot.
Oracle Giving in Africa
One of the ways that Oracle helps to address the ICT skills challenge is by supporting nonprofit organisations that advance education – especially computer science education – as well as organisations that protect the environment, and enrich community life.
Akili Dada, Kenya serves as a leadership incubator, investing in high-achieving young African women from underprivileged backgrounds who are passionate about social change. Oracle funds scholarships for five underprivileged young women ages 13-20 in the Young Changemakers Programme, which provides mentoring and leadership training. Scholarships cover tuition, board, fees, supplies and personal care items.
Strathmore University, Kenya is one of the country’s leading schools of business, finance, and information technology, where the Oracle Centre of Excellence provides training for lecturers and teachers.
Africa Cancer Foundation, Kenya helps prevent cancer and provides holistic solutions for African people affected by cancer by mobilising resources, conducting research, and providing education to the public and to healthcare practitioners. Oracle funding has enabled the development of a web platform to improve access to cancer screenings, diagnosis, and treatment, and an SMS platform to target communities in rural areas.
WEEE Centre, Kenya addresses environmental and health hazards of increasing e-waste. Oracle funding supports the Centre’s public education programme, which explains the hazards of e-waste and how to properly dispose of it, provides youth entrepreneurship training in the responsible reclamation and sale of valuable materials, and increases the volume of e-waste processed at the Centre.
iHub Limited, Kenya supports the local tech community by connecting people and supporting start-ups. Oracle funding has enabled the formation of a Java Users Group, delivery of Alice and Greenfoot workshops for children, and the creation of a showcase event for Java applications and solutions developed at the iHub.
Riders for Health, Kenya and Nigeria delivers public healthcare services to rural communities in sub-Saharan Africa predictably, reliably, and cost effectively. Oracle provides general operating support, including maintenance of a fleet of motorcycles and four-wheel-drive vehicles used to transport medicine, vaccines, specimens/results and healthcare, workers who deliver care and conduct educational outreach and disease monitoring.
The Diane Fossey Gorilla Fund International, Rwanda protects and conserves gorillas and their habitats in Africa. Oracle funding supports daily tracking of gorillas and anti-poaching patrols. It has also enabled development of an iOS mobile application for data capture in the field and accurate transfer to the Fossey Fund’s new database in the Oracle Cloud.
Co-Creation Hub, Nigeria accelerates the application of social capital and technology for economic prosperity. Oracle funding supports the Geeks Club, an after-school computing club held weekly for secondary school students ages 13-18.
Women’s Technology Empowerment Centre, Nigeria educates, connects, and empowers women and girls through active engagement in technology training, mentoring and career counselling. Oracle funding supports the Girls Technology Club, which engages 800 underserved girls from 20 high schools, plus alumni of the two-week girls camp, and deepens their skills through programming classes, tech company excursions, career talks and mentoring.
LET GIRLS LEARN
Oracle aids the First Lady’s global initiative
Communicated in a recent announcement from the White House by the First Lady, Michelle Obama, it was revealed that more than $20 million would be spent in new commitments to the US Government’s Let Girls Learn initiative.
Speaking at the United State of Women Summit dinner, the First Lady called upon organisations around the country to support adolescent girls’ education in order to provide more than 62 million girls around the world who are out of school with the opportunity to receive an education.
Inevitably having overtones with Oracle’s work in Africa – and indeed the rest of the world in terms of social enrichment and capacity building – the Company is now heavily involved as part of these commitments as a one of numerous organisations binding together to ‘Let Girls Learn’.
“Oracle is committing to invest more than $3 million in direct and in-kind funds over the next 12 months to promote and support educational opportunities for adolescent girls around the world,” Oracle Co-CEO, Safra Catz stated. “Under this Let Girls Learn commitment, Oracle Academy, Oracle Women’s Leadership (OWL) communities, Oracle’s Diversity & Inclusion Programme, and Oracle Volunteers will offer more than 65 direct educational events and support conferences, summer computing camps and codefests for girls; reaching more than 55,000 students around the globe and inspiring them to explore and pursue opportunities in STEM fields.
“The Oracle Education Foundation and Oracle Volunteers will teach girls coding, electrical engineering and project management through four immersive girls-only workshops.”
In Africa specifically, Oracle is also planning to expand the work of its Oracle Academy Programme in Egypt by making an additional investment of almost $1 million in resources and services over the next four years. The investment will occur “as part of a new partnership with the Ministry of Education in Egypt to expand computer science education for girls in nine newly developed STEM schools”, Catz continued.
“These schools, also supported by USAID, will provide three years of paid secondary education for each girl.”
INNOVATION HUBS AND THE DEVELOPER COMMUNITY
Ensuring ecosystem readiness via specialised talent growth
It’s undeniable that Africa needs a stronger focus on the IT ecosystem, and Oracle has worked extensively in recent years to facilitate such skills development and technological innovation alongside its partners.
Enabling workforces to use Oracle products and solutions in order for them to build a broader business, Oracle has long recognised how challenging it can be to hone such talent in a young population; with the realisation that once it is achieved, the possibilities are boundless.
“There isn’t one organisation that can provide employment for all the youth, so one way is to encourage entrepreneurs to help address the challenge; and technology is a great way to channel creativity and create employment for themselves as well as others,” Cherian Varghese, sub-Saharan Africa Cluster Leader states. “We have seen some great examples through the work we do with Innovation Hubs on the continent.”
Engaged with almost 20 of these hubs in total – bridging Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Botswana, Ghana, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Congo Brazzaville and Uganda – the idea is to drive home-grown ‘made in Africa’ technology solutions; an initiative that has been all too evident on the continent under a number of different guises.
“We have delivered more than 20 sessions on Java and Oracle technologies via our tech experts, reaching almost 500 developers from iHub (Kenya), kLab (Rwanda), CcHub & Digital Peers (Nigeria), Mobile Web Ghana and iSpace (Ghana), BIH (Botswana), BongoHive (Zambia) and Teknohama (Uganda),” Varghese says. “We also sponsored the Enterprise Technology Challenge of CC-Hub to grow the adoption of Oracle Technologies for creating enterprise solutions by Nigerian software developers with more than 60 local developers participating.”
Similar partnerships included organising the showcase session of ‘Kenyan Sign Language’ – a Java-based application – as well as i.Sec, Simaroio and Hotel Management Software at various Oracle-arranged opening events to further encourage the new technologies being developed for the wider domain.
Meanwhile, as many as 55 developers have been hosted as part of a roundtable with Java and Oracle Public Cloud and Oracle Technologies in Kenya to further highlight the most modern and key innovations.
“We also offered our partners in Nigeria and Kenya a wide variety of instructor-led trainings within Partner Training Programmes and access to the Partner Academy in Oracle’s Partner Hub to increase partner competencies so they can architect, sell, and implement Oracle solutions profitably,” Varghese notes.
“In the past year alone: the Oracle Partner hubs delivered nine training sessions in Kenya and Nigeria on Oracle applications to 54 partner employees; supported the completion of 21 migrations on Oracle DB after delivering 254 ISV migration centre activities, workshops, one-to-ones and webinars; and conducted 31 enablement and engagement activities for 329 people.”
ORACLE AND THE CIO
A new reality in rethinking the cloud
“Cloud is coming of age. It’s no longer just a tool for business efficiency; it’s necessary for the speed and agility required to compete in the digital economy,” offers Abdul Rahman Al Thehaiban, Senior Vice President – Middle East, North-South Africa, Turkey and Central Asia, Oracle.
“Until recently, CIOs have considered cloud deployments in terms of public versus private cloud merits, but the answer needs to be both. It’s a new way of thinking, and a new model for enterprise IT; creating an application delivery engine that drives digital transformation.”
According to recent IDG Connect and Harvard Business Review research studies, nearly three-quarters of businesses now concede that cloud deployments enable them to better retain customers and an even more telling 90 percent believe that cloud facilitates faster innovation. More than 70 percent of enterprises plan to deploy more private cloud services in the future and 68 percent of them plan to deploy more hybrid cloud services as well; all pointing towards a general trend being realised in Arica at present, and indicative of cloud’s – as Al Thehaiban says – “coming of age”.
The trend is clearly a positive in the digitally-driven age, but it also points towards a much more significant step being made, in terms of the allayment of concerns and fears over companies’ initial move to cloud computing.
Issues of security, transitions, employee engagement and operational readiness are being countered as companies like Oracle educate businesses of all sizes on the exact effects and uses, and CIOs are more clued up than ever about how to utilise cloud in their companies.
“Nearly three-quarters of respondents say that it’s important for on-premise and public cloud applications to have the same user experience, but 60 percent of business leaders still cite the need to manage multiple IT systems in their business as a barrier to cloud adoption,” Al Thehaiban explains. “There are indications that cloud is (overall) driving more IT/LOB collaboration but there is still a way to go. Only 50 percent of businesses say their IT department supports the planning or implementation of public cloud applications.
“Overall, the figures suggest that the CIO’s role is more important than ever in coordinating multiple architectures and effectively communicating the benefits of cloud deployments to the wider business. In fact, according to the IDG study, more than 90 percent of businesses believe that the cloud will enable IT to focus on areas that will deliver business value.”
A new reality
All of this represents a new reality being accepted in Africa where – while there are still some lingering concerns among some – the majority are now understanding the benefits of cloud and how it can impact every industry across every geography.
Investments in cloud are subsequently growing as businesses seek heightened speed and agility across operations and begin to embrace a wider digital transformation.
“Cloud models are becoming an imperative to deliver compelling applications across the enterprise, better workflow, deeper analytics and insights and reduced costs,” Al Thehaiban states. “We are moving towards a future where IT will be considered and measured as an application delivery engine for the business, with imperatives around time-to-market, agility, stability, and ultimately economics.
“Cloud is THE next operational model for the enterprise IT architecture, and in this context, IT leaders have a unique opportunity to redefine the enterprise IT model around cloud concepts and play a key consultative role in showing the business what is possible in this new world.”
The CIO consequently has a key role to play in two key transformations; the business transformation to a digital business model, and an IT transition to a cloud-based model. Ultimately, the optimisation of both these facets will ensure a leaner, more agile use of IT to help organisations compete in the new digital economy – for both public and private participants – with Oracle on hand to facilitate the ongoing revolution.
“In an ideal world, private and public cloud would be consistent in almost every aspect, with IT and lines of business collaborating to decide the right mix of cloud resources without needing to adapt between the two,” Al Thehaiban concludes. “At Oracle, in association with Intel, we’re already there; offering a rich, functional public cloud oriented towards enterprise IT, combined with functional equivalents deployable in private clouds and even a public cloud model on-premises.”
Kenya Revenue Authority
Oracle creates the best-fit solution to handle vast amounts of tax data
In order to handle the vast amounts of data from each tax department and better trace tax leakages, Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) implemented Oracle Exadata and Exalytics hardware, as well as Platform as a Service (PaaS) for public sector cloud to integrate data from all its existing systems. It is expected that this solution will lead to a significant increase in tax collections.
“KRA was looking to increase its tax collections and seal all tax leakage areas by mining its expansive data. Oracle had the best-fit solution, references and product depth to meet the requirements KRA was looking for. The fact that Oracle had a Kenya office showed there was a great commitment from the firm to invest and support local organisations,” says George Muraguri, Deputy Commissioner of ICT at KRA.
For Oracle Kenya, the requirement clearly spelled opportunity for Oracle Tax Analytics; a purpose-built, pre-packaged world-class solution that promised to save KRA significant development and design time. In February, 2016, Oracle and the Kenya Revenue Authority signed a deal covering Oracle Tax Analytics (PSRM-A), Oracle BI Suite Foundation, Oracle Database EE with Options, Endeca Server and Oracle Data Integration Enterprise; as well as the aforementioned Exadata and Exalytics engineered systems.
To accomplish its goals, KRA was able to leverage industry expertise from the Oracle PartnerNetwork – through Verve KO – in partnership with Bring Consulting and Intrasoft International.
Representing the first tax analytics deal and first public sector cloud deal in East Africa among other significant milestones, the implementation is currently ongoing and represents a poignant contribution towards fulfilling Kenya’s Vision 2030; collecting sufficient tax to fund the country’s transformation. “In terms of lowering the total cost of operation, it is expected that each tax department will be able to target a bigger team of taxpayers because they will receive more intelligent information on where tax leakages are occurring,” explains Muraguri.
ORACLE AND THE CFO
The frontline of innovation
In today’s competitive business landscape, companies must digitise their finance organisations to adapt to the certainty of constant change. No longer a process-focused on cost authority, today’s CFO must leverage real-time analytic insights from cloud technologies to improve business performance as well as financial and operational efficiency.
Oracle’s Country Leader for Nigeria, Adebayo Sanni has seen firsthand how the role of the CFO has grown in significance in the digital age, with more technologies on-hand than ever before to facilitate the lifeblood of all successful enterprises; their finances.
Now an important player in gaining competitive advantage, the CFO must influence the bottom line by freeing funds in order for a business to innovate and grow. Oracle’s recent research explores how closer collaboration between the CFO and the CIO can streamline business efficiencies. Loïc Le Guisquet, President, Oracle comments: “Finance systems which have been heavily customised over the years are reaching their breaking point. For the many businesses rethinking their strategies to stay ahead of growing competition, being able to speed up innovation and adapt quickly to change are at the top of the corporate agenda. Finance should not be the ball and chain holding the company back from progress. It should be the engine pushing it forward.
“Rather than adding complexity to already-overloaded systems, companies are beginning to see the advantage of running their finance applications in the cloud and simply configuring these to suit their needs. As the nerve centre of the organisation, the finance department lies at the junction of all these relationships. Their unique oversight of the business has made CFOs and their teams instrumental in helping the boardroom achieve its vision for the future.”
Oracle has responded accordingly through offering bespoke ERP for companies of all sizes – although especially applicable in the SME category – in the realisation that in order to expand smartly, quickly and reliably, a legacy system needs to be put in place.
Inevitably, these ERP offerings have also been integrated into the Company’s human capital management services as well, ensuring Oracle can deliver a “market-leading integrated cloud that transforms your finance and HR functions, enabling your business to power forward in the future”.
One partner to have benefitted from this offering is Jupiter, who has driven project profitability and customer satisfaction with end-to-end financial and project workflows in the cloud.
Senior Project Manager for Jupiter, Ricardo Marques states: “Deploying Oracle ERP Cloud is a turning point in how we do business. We have revamped all internal workflows to increase productivity, lower costs, and improve controls; and also gained the ability to generate revenue by helping our clients use technology as a key enabler of business growth.”
In building the next generation of finance function, the CFO in general will play a key role in creating value through digital technologies such as those provide by Oracle.
Sanni says: “Oracle’s cloud applications for finance provide real-time analytic insights so the CFO can drive strategies related to the economy, the market, competitors and customer preferences. With actionable insights, finance can simplify the billing process, and gain insights into customer data and brand reputation.
“Oracle’s cloud finance technology enables a more strategically focused organisation. With an eye toward eliminating inefficiencies and reorienting the organisation, finance can drive the business forward as a trusted partner among other functional leaders.”
Perhaps more uniquely than at any other role within the C-level domain, the CFO is positioned with the power to transform an entire business, with the implications of introducing ERP technologies directly affecting a company’s fiscal make-up, as opposed to simply the processes, employees or technologies that drive revenues.
As such Oracle ERP Cloud is helping numerous global businesses to modernise their finance organisations, support rapid growth and ensure the security of their data.
“No longer bogged down by manual accounting processes and systems that consume valuable resources, Oracle’s cloud suite for finance allows CFOs to focus on proactive risk management,” Sanni concludes. “Their awareness of significant forces of change and the use of performance measures aligned with valuation put the CFO on the frontline of innovation.”
ORACLE AND THE CMO
Enabling modern marketing
“The role of the CMO is far more complex and critical than at any point in history. Today’s CMO is responsible for reaching far beyond traditional marketing activities and is increasingly responsible for managing digital initiatives and the overall customer experience. To be successful in this new role, the CMO needs to be able to quickly and easily embrace the opportunities that modern digital technologies present to deliver individualised customer experience.”
These are the words of Gilbert Saggia, Oracle’s Country Leader in Kenya, who has overseen the implementation and refinement of the Company’s offering to customers such as Kenya Airways in recent years; via an increasing acknowledgement of the importance of creating a positive customer experience through digital technologies.
The ability to produce a customisable, bespoke and, as Saggia emphasises, “individualised” approach through these technologies ensures a measurable addressing of a company’s marketing plan and resultant customer experience in real time, instilling three key principles throughout the process; completion, simplification and empowerment.
“Oracle enables CMOs to quickly and easily embrace the opportunities that modern digital technologies present,” Saggia says. “As a result, they are equipped to deliver individualised customer experiences and demonstrate the measurable business impact of marketing activities.
“With Oracle, CMOs can differentiate their brands, improve experiences, enhance loyalty and drive measurable results across all channels, touchpoints and interactions by moving seamlessly across the full spectrum of marketing, sales, service and social tools.”
A modern customer experience is tantamount to an optimum customer experience, and this applies throughout sales, marketing delivery and service. Not only vital from a trend-adherence perspective, it also goes a long way in addressing one of business’ key challenges at present, with executives and agencies under increasingly more pressure to introduce such fundamental changes in this area to counter the barriers that exist in blocking the close collaboration that all groups need in order to succeed.
A Forbes Insight global survey and report emphasises that a checklist for improved collaboration must comprise closer communication and information sharing, as well as enhanced training and professional development; all compounded by new technologies and services to facilitate new incentives.
“New research reveals how brands and agencies are overcoming the collaboration roadblocks that get in the way of engaging customers and launching targeted marketing campaigns,” the report explains.
From Oracle’s perspective, this can only be achieved by balancing the most advanced of technologies with the most simple of outcomes.
Saggia adds: “Oracle helps CMOs reduce complexity and master the science of data-driven marketing by bringing together the most advanced digital marketing and customer experience management technologies.
“By eliminating the complexity presented by disparate data, siloed teams and rapidly expanding channels, Oracle enables marketers to successfully move beyond traditional marketing activities and manage overall digital and customer experience initiatives.”
Forbes also revealed that 36 percent of organisations admit to not being highly effective when collaborating with brand or agency partners to translate a marketing vision into a tangible programme; a concerning statistic that Oracle is also addressing through the principle of empowerment.
Effective collaboration and subsequently empowered business relationships that come about as a consequence of easier monitoring, honed measurability and heightened integration transcend into the ability to capitalise on customer data and analytics; to more simply manage and update marketing strategies; to implement successful cross-channel marketing programmes; and to formulate more effective strategies on an international scale.
Saggia concludes: “Oracle empowers marketers to leverage innovation as it happens through instant access to a digital marketing ecosystem of best-of-breed marketing apps and direct data integrations. With an open framework that connects a marketer’s data, apps and media, Oracle enables marketers to take advantage of their current marketing technology and be ready for tomorrow’s innovations.”
Julie Mandu, Customer Care Manager, Kenya Airways
“Kenya Airways has deployed four Oracle Cloud customer experience modules; the Marketing Cloud, the Source Cloud, the Service Cloud and the Customer Data Hub. Kenya Airways is the pride of Africa and one of the leading African airlines. The best thing about the cloud system is, because the apps are three integrated systems, they’re going to help us get a unified voice and will help us to create the demand of the guests.
Through the Marketing Cloud we’re able to market to the right guests at the right time with the right product.
Through the Customer Data Hub we are able to connect with the guests through the marketing cloud directly by creating campaigns, and this can then reside within the master data hub.
Oracle Service Cloud has enabled us to get better service feedback through the website where we have a customer portal. And this helps in the turnaround time of servicing the customer.
For the Oracle Source Cloud we are expecting one network process management and visibility across the value chain of the revenue coming in. We are also able to track what our partners are doing in terms of our business relationships with them. We also now have one unified process across the network which can be viewed by all, from the CEO to the Sales Executive.
We chose the cloud because it is very accessible and also quite economical and very secure in terms of our data management.”
ORACLE AND THE CHRO
Modern HR in the cloud
In order to fully capitalise on the most modern of technologies and processes – as most businesses are required to do in order to survive – it is equally paramount that each company’s workforce is adaptable and capable enough to embrace such digitisation.
The question of human resource management systems (HRMS) and whether enterprises are attracting a modern workforce via theirs is becoming more and more apt, and the time to prepare your internal technologies in line with this trend is now.
“HR organisations that don’t have a modern HR and talent strategy are missing out on creating real value for the business,” Kholiwe Makhohliso, Country Leader, Oracle South Africa emphasises. “Modern HR leaders create a great employee experience that serves its customers and the business.”
Modern best practice subsequently increases business agility faster, and with fewer resources; and Oracle is encouraging CHROs to embrace the notion via the cloud, mobile, social, analytics, the internet of things and
“In a world where human capital has become a competitive advantage, CHROs are being tasked to advance business objectives with inadequate systems and tools,” Makhohliso says. “To recruit and retain the best talent, CHROs are turning to the cloud to achieve the analytical foresight to make smarter decisions, provide richer interactions with employees, and increase productivity.”
Engage: Connecting employees
To engage and connect with employees, Oracle human capital management (HCM) gives employees the opportunity to organise their work life across any device and to take control of their jobs, development and career.
Makhohliso states: “Engaging employees through modern easy-to-use intuitive systems that both helps them connect to the business and culture will enable people to be productive and happy at work.”
Connecting and engaging with employees is the first– and most critical – phase of the employer-employee relationship, but is preceded by an equally important hiring phase, and firstly ensuring that a Company is bringing in the right talent for the job.
“Can you find, hire, develop and retain the best talent? A complete talent solution – that’s social and collaborative, mobile and engaging – allows you to understand the best sources of internal and external talent so you can respond quickly to talent needs and execute a forward-looking talent strategy,” Makhohliso highlights.
“With pervasive collaborative capabilities such as social sourcing, social performance, social goal and career management – and social learning embedded in your HR processes – you can drive better peer-to-peer communication, facilitate employee collaboration, and enable knowledge sharing in the workforce.”
Inform: Access to meaningful information
Instilling principles such as these requires total access to information meaningful to each company; insight becoming essential across all departments of the workforce.
Makhohliso says: “With big data and predictive and embedded analytics solutions, you can answer complex workforce questions, forecast performance and risks, and empower your staff to make decisions based on real-time data.”
Being able to tackle problems quickly and efficiently with all parties reading from the same hymn sheet contributes greatly to the sustainability of a business, and the positivity fostered within it, while all the time ensuring that there is a process in place for the next batch of talented individuals to fit seamlessly into the ecosystem.
“You need meaningful access to all available data to answer questions about the impact of your workforce in an easy to understand format,” Makhohliso continues. “Oracle systems are designed from the ground-up to deliver the full enterprise-wide pictures for the past, present and future of your business.”
Adapt: Complete and secure personalisation
Creating an HRMS that not only ensures longevity and seamlessness throughout workforce turnover, but that also addresses the individual needs of each employee is no mean feat, but is a target that companies need to strive for; and that Oracle is facilitating.
The ultimate goal from which is to help employees to achieve their own personal goals faster, while fostering greater employee experience as a result of the technologies available to them.
Mobility is once again a key facet of this and where Oracle is aiming as part of its personalisation efforts: “Only Oracle provides modern cloud capabilities that provide you with flexibility to personalise, brand and extend your experience at every layer of the cloud in a secure and safe way; and the ability to upgrade when it makes sense for your business.”
Cell C (Pty) Ltd
Increasing in-store service levels with cloud learning solutions
For more than 15 years, Cell C (Pty) Ltd has offered its competitive range of voice, data and messaging services to more than 22 million customers across South Africa, making it one of the leading providers of its kind in the country. To ensure it keeps improving and evolving in line with wider technological trends and advancements though, it has formed a potent sales relationship with Oracle; a relationship which has had positive ramifications throughout its product portfolio, its employee workforce and its own customers.
Cell C has long prided itself on the levels of innovation within its service range, something which has been achieved not only through its own internal investments and through being a ‘consumer champion’, but also via the extent of strategic relationships such as that enjoyed with Oracle Learn Cloud Service.
“With Oracle Learn Cloud Service, learning is really flexible, training is mobile-accessible, and learners can share best practices and collaborate online. Our staff have become more knowledgeable, productive, and loyal; saving us recruiting costs and generating more revenue,” Maria Pienaar, Chief Information Officer of Cell C says.
Additional benefits have been seen across improved training and learning management efficiencies throughout the workforce by delivering blended learning programmes to more than 2,000 call centre agents, while also making better use of the overall training budget by matching the learning preferences of younger staff members.
From a solutions perspective, Oracle’s products and services have “improved and streamlined learning programmes for customer care agents and sales consultants by replacing multiple-day classroom courses with Oracle Learn Cloud Service, a comprehensive learning solution that empowers skill development through a centralised training repository and anytime, anywhere access”, Cell C explains.
The modernity of Oracle’s solutions and delivery methods have facilitated a doubling in the number of training interventions each year in total, leading to an anticipated return on investment within only 18 months based solely on the cost reductions achieved across skills development.
“[We have] increased performance management effectiveness with the ability to measure agent and sales consultant knowledge and to identify excellence and knowledge gaps,” the Company continues, “[as well as] reducing time-to-effectiveness by giving internal and outsourced staff a comprehensive and easy-to-access platform where questions can be posted and answered, rapid searches can be performed on questions and keywords, and the lessons learned are stored for quick retrieval.”
Ultimately, Cell C has achieved empowerment across its agents and consultants – including those working in more remote or rural areas – to ensure it has the technologies and knowledge in place to keep up with its extensive Company growth; and all with a more satisfied employee base in-tow.
Carol Wright-Rogers, Executive Head of Enterprise Support Systems at Cell C concludes: “We particularly liked the ability to extend Oracle Learn Cloud Service to outsourced staff, which is a perfect fit for our business model. We also have a roadmap for moving all HR applications to the cloud, so Oracle Learn Cloud Service is a building block for our end-to-end HR cloud solution.”
Supporting Oracle’s ambition to become the best enterprise vendor to do business with in the cloud
Much of Oracle’s success in Africa over the years can be attributed to its unparalleled network of partners. In the SADC region alone, the Company saw a 9.7 percent increase in its partner base in the second quarter of 2016 when compared with the previous year.
Accounting for more than 40 percent of Oracle’s global revenue and 80 percent of its global transactions, the partner ecosystem that has subsequently been formed is now an integral facet in response to its equally diversifying and expanding customer base, as Alliance and Channel Director in South Africa, Stefan Diedericks explains: “The Oracle PartnerNetwork (OPN) programme offers customers a structured approach to differentiate the competencies and capabilities of partners called ‘Specialisation’. Specialisation is preceded by a partner obtaining distribution/reseller rights for products within a knowledge zone and thereafter obtaining transactions and references within a given period.
“The programme was launched in 2009 in response to our customers becoming ever more diverse and to ensure customers can rely on a trustworthy programme that drives quality, engagement, skills and excellence.”
In February, 2016, Oracle launched the latest improvement to its OPN programme that specifically focuses on assisting partners to fast-track their pivot to the cloud. “OPN has evolved to offer new opportunities for partners to transform and accelerate their business with Oracle Cloud,” explains Donald Thomas, the Company’s Alliance and Channel Director for Africa. “The new cloud programme, with tiered designations, recognises those partners that engage with Oracle and invest in Oracle Cloud, by offering them incremental and progressive benefits to complement and build on the existing OPN programme levels. Partners are now able to differentiate their Oracle Cloud expertise and success with customers.”
“Our partners in this region are investing and growing their skills and capacities to ensure that they are able to bring the Oracle Public Cloud Services to Africa and assist customers in consuming and deploying these to transform their businesses.”
In-keeping with this rapid growth, Oracle has seen its cloud partners across the continent balloon to more than 150 resell-ready and nearly 50 specialised cloud partners.
Diedericks adds: “Oracle has listened to both its customers and partners in enhancing the Oracle PartnerNetwork programme over a number of years by including incentive-based programmes that enable our partners to drive their own growth. In addition, OPN offers a unique Solutions Catalogue that showcases our partners based on unique competitive offerings utilising leading Oracle Technology, but also gives the customer an easy to use portal to find that ideal partner.”
OPN Specialised Programme
Transforming the way its partners develop their businesses, the OPN Specialised Programme is advancing and modernising its offerings in support of Oracle’s latest technologies within the cloud and software-as-a-service (SaaS) space.
The Programme’s status and brand presence represents a pivotal element in the way in which Oracle goes to market, identifying and highlighting those partners that have differentiated, evaluated and optimised solutions that have been certified and recognised to provide defined value for our customers.
Moreover, the Programme allows a positive form of differentiation based on a partner’s unique competitive positioning and allows partners to carve out their own niche within the OPN which protects their investment, while allowing customers the opportunity to work with a market-leading organisation.
“One of the latest innovations has been the launch of the Oracle Cloud Marketplace, offering a platform for our channel partners to showcase their applications that interoperate with Oracle Cloud solutions. Applications are formally validated and approved for publishing on the Oracle Cloud Marketplace. Independent software vendors and system integrators can showcase their services and applications that interoperate with Oracle Cloud services across a range of industries and geographic regions,” says Thomas.
Key to Oracle’s success in the cloud era has been its ability to ensure that new business is attracted at a rapid speed and that this new customer interest is serviced through Repeatable Cloud Solutions and Fixed Scope Offers that help the customer consume Oracle’s Cloud Services in record time. Oracle assists our partners by ensuring that such Repeatable Cloud Solutions are showcased to customers on the Oracle Cloud Marketplace and in the Oracle Solutions Catalogue.
Of course, Oracle has not forgotten about its traditional business and has introduced hybrid programmes to help partners grow their hardware business while pivoting to the cloud.
“We have increased local programmes and tailored them specifically to countries and sub-regions on the continent to ensure that the key messages are taken down to the last mile. During the past year, we have successfully conducted a number of multi-day events, called ‘Spread the Red’ where partners not only learn about the benefits and how to position these new offerings; but via workshops they gain hands-on experience on how to rapidly deploy them as well. We have ensured that every partner has an executable cloud strategy as part of their overall business plan,” explains Thomas.
OPN now offers the most comprehensive portfolio of cloud programmes available today. Oracle’s rapid growth and extensive SaaS, PaaS and IaaS cloud portfolio represents an unparalleled opportunity for its partners and customers alike. “We can now equip our highly experienced partners with the tools they need to successfully move their customers to modern business models. This vast partner community includes tens of thousands of implementation experts with transferable skills who can help our customers navigate their transition to the cloud,” Diedericks summarises.
Delivering a final message to Oracle Partners, the pair concludes: “Oracle’s Public Cloud allows our partners exceptional opportunities over the next 12 months to drive their own differentiation and specialisation within the OPN. Whether it be through fast deployment fixed scope offers, or whether it be through launching their own Cloud Apps on the Oracle Cloud Marketplace, the Oracle Cloud creates opportunities for revenue growth for our partners.”
CLOUD ADOPTION ON A CONTINENTAL SCALE
Leapfrog technologies such as cloud are transforming Africa’s digital landscape
Africa is presenting lucrative opportunities for Oracle thanks to ‘leapfrog’ technologies; with the adoption of digital, social and analytics taking centre-stage as part of the cloud transformation.
“Customers in Africa have already embarked on this transformation journey with Oracle. Organisations across the continent are looking at modernising their enterprise applications, simplifying IT, transforming into a digital business and also reducing the overall TCO of enterprise applications,” summarises Arun Khehar, Senior Vice President of Oracle ECEMEA.
Oracle Strategy is to offer the complete breadth and depth of enterprise applications across an array of industry verticals in Africa; covering customer experience, human capital management, enterprise resource planning, supply chain management and enterprise performance management in the cloud.
Oracle already has hundreds of customers in Africa and the Middle East consuming Oracle Cloud Applications; including a large airline in East Africa who has been successfully running Oracle Customer Experience in the cloud for two years and has transformed its customer services using Oracle Cloud.
“Large customers in BFSI, the public sector, aviation, telecoms and professional services represent a small cross-section of those who have already started consuming Oracle Enterprise applications in the cloud. We started this journey about five years ago and we are seeing good traction in Africa for cloud applications,” Khehar details.
While Africa’s private sector exhibits the greatest opportunities for leapfrog technology through the adoption of cloud applications, Oracle has witnessed tremendous traction across the continent’s public sector, with a number of countries open to adopting modern cloud solutions in their economy.
“The top 10 highest performing economies in Africa are already adopting cloud in both public and private sector organisations,” the Senior Vice President concludes.