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Oracle: Transforming aggressively in ASEAN, eyeing VMware’s pie

Oracle has been very busy the past 12 months since Oracle Open World 2015. Oracle ASEAN’s MD Neeraj Shaabi explained, “There has been an incredible amount of change as part of our transformation.”

This transformation that Oracle leadership have been referring to more frequently in recent years, has been necessary as Oracle moved from being a product provider towards being a services provider.

Neeraj described how this change involves three main dimensions and is manifesting itself in the ASEAN region. “The first dimension is this whole shift to the cloud. We like to think it’s a 10-year journey, and we like to think we are leading the change.”

There is also Oracle’s early mover and late mover advantage; early mover for recognising the importance of cloud and spending the past ten years gearing up to enable cloud at all three layers of the cloud stack – software, platform and infrastructure, and late mover advantage for not having to deal with legacy tech and equipment.

“We are in a unique position to lead transformation for the industry and customers,” Neeraj pointed out.

Oracle’s transformation has led to a shift in Oracle’s and its customers’, business model, necessitating their recruitment drive for sales talent.

“We are in a much more advantageous position and a magnet for talent now,” said Neeraj who also added that they are actually attracting engineering talent from the top ten established players in the cloud space.


In the last year alone, Oracle in ASEAN has added new customers by 40-percent, according to Neeraj.

“In the last 12 months, we have expanded our total addressable market by ten times. This is happening primarily because of (our) cloud offering and its ability to provide apps in a turn-on, turn-off fashion.”

A huge chunk of this new add is coming from the small to medium enterprise (SME)segment, a market that Oracle does not traditionally approach. Now, SMEs like online retailer, RedMart and online fashion retailer Zalora, are turning on business functions like marketing, management, sales, financials and more without deploying any hardware, software or complex integration.

There are about 50,000 companies in Southeast Asia, a market opportunity worth USD2.4 trillion, that is primarily powered by SMEs.

Neeraj observed the high SaaS uptake in the emerging part of the region he overlooks, ASEAN and growing and emerging countries in South Asia. ERP and Human Capital Management (HCM) applications tend to be the first implementations for his customers in this region.

The few thousand Oracle database customers in ASEAN are also massive opportunity to upsell to.

Not forgetting, there is a new Oracle offering, Cloud@ Customer machines that are suitable for customers with existing IT and who do business in heavily regulated industries like the financial services industry.

In Malaysia specifically, newly-minted country managing director, Fitri Abdullah is excited to start engaging customers with their new line up of solutions. “We have strong solutions and offerings, and for us it’s about engaging, educating and helping customers to come up with a plan to adopt cloud,” said Fitri. He also observed that Oracle’s second generation IaaS solution would excite customers who are using their competitors’ solutions right now.

Aggressively transforming

Neeraj shared, “We have transformed our sales force and how we go-to-market. It used to be a six to nine month sales cycle. Now, here we are (completing sales and implementation) anywhere from eight to 12 weeks.”

For example, Bangkok Airways deployed Oracle Service Cloud in six weeks.

“We are announcing wins every week,” Neeraj said, adding it has become a volume game of smaller deals instead of fewer big wins.

It’s not only the type of market segment to sell to that is shifting for Oracle; customers’ decision-making behaviour is also changing. In the decision cycle, 60 to 70 percent of info gathering has already taken place before the customer’s first meeting with the vendor.

All this created the opportunity for Oracle to build a new kind of sales force, namely one that leverages digital selling tools. In fact, Singapore is one sales hub, that uses digital tools like Oracle’s own marketing cloud and social tools like Eloqua and Blue Kai.

This hub would serve 18 countries with a 230 strong sales team.

Taking the competition out


Thomas Kurian

Another opportunity has also emerged in the form of Oracle Ravello that launched last February, a solution that makes it easier to move workloads from one environment to another.

Neeraj observed how virtualisation has increased complexities many times fold in IT environments, and in fact, Oracle has been organising workshops for businesses that want to get out of, for example, an on-premise virtualised environments, and give their IT to a cloud infrastructure provider.

He targets to organise at least a hundred Ravello workshops this quarter, for VMware customers.

Oracle’s President of Product Development, Thomas Kurian has described Ravello as allowing customers to connect to an existing VMware environment, understand the hypervisor, configure it and lift the entire workload into another cloud, an Oracle public cloud for example.

Kurian opined, “VMware’s own cloud has not seen much success.”


(This journalist is a guest of Oracle’s to Oracle Open World 2016, in San Francisco).

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