Too many IT organizations spend most of their time maintaining their existing business applications and supporting infrastructure, leaving little time for innovation. A big chunk of that day-to-day effort goes into taking care of the foundational database and middleware “platform” services on which those information systems run.
But forward-looking organizations are finding that by using cloud-based platform-as-a-service (PaaS) offerings, they can minimize the cost and headache of developing and managing application platforms. Businesses that use PaaS have reported operational savings of up to 50 percent compared with siloed technology stacks.
Arab Investment and Export Credit Guarantee (also known as Dhaman) is a case in point. The objective of this multilateral credit and political risk insurer is to promote the flow of investments into Arab countries and to enhance Arab international trade. Dhaman’s IT team has developed a wide variety of applications to manage export credit insurance, investment guarantees, institutional insurance, factoring insurance, outward and inward reinsurance, and claims. In addition to this portfolio of applications for the operations department, the IT team is responsible for all internal operational systems that handle finance, human resources, payroll, and other core tasks. Dhaman’s IT team is in the process of adopting multiple Oracle PaaS technologies from Oracle Cloud Platform and moving many of its applications to Oracle Cloud.
Location: Shuwaikh, Kuwait
“We want to ensure that information is available to stakeholders whenever they need it,” says Hani A. El Dabet, head of system development at Dhaman. “Cloud computing frees up our technology team to focus on innovations rather than spending so much time maintaining infrastructure, installing applications, and all the related issues of managing on-premises information systems. Authorized users can easily access these applications—anywhere, anytime, without any setup or configuration—as long as they have access to the internet.”
One of El Dabet’s goals is to allow Dhaman’s widely dispersed user base to access pertinent application services no matter where they reside, on premises or in the cloud. To deliver on that vision, Dhaman’s IT team is creating new applications under Oracle Application Development Framework, a Java development framework that runs on Oracle WebLogic Server (on premises) and Oracle Java Cloud Service (in Oracle Cloud). Similarly, the team is storing corporate data in Oracle Database (on premises) and Oracle Database Cloud Service (in Oracle Cloud).
Documents will reside in Oracle Documents Cloud Service, a file-sharing and collaboration service that integrates with other Oracle Cloud Platform solutions and underpins Oracle software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions as well. Oracle Documents Cloud Service includes APIs to integrate document management services with applications from Oracle and third parties. It also includes a content management system to pull information from on-premises datasources.
Cloud computing frees up our technology team to focus on innovations. ”–Hani A. El Dabet,
Head of System Development, Dhaman
El Dabet says he especially values the inherent integration between Oracle Database Cloud Service, Oracle Documents Cloud Service, and Oracle Java Cloud Service, which allows for a seamless infusion of content into everyday tasks. “Without this integration, we would not have been able to create such a powerful system,” he says.
Simplifying the administration and management of infrastructure, database, and middleware assets means developers can build new applications faster, IT organizations can focus more on collaborating with their line-of-business (LOB) colleagues, and LOB managers can get the information systems they need quickly—without a major development initiative. There’s no steep learning curve with Oracle PaaS services because they are based on the same familiar database and application server technology that Dhaman has relied on for years: Oracle Database and Oracle WebLogic Server. This commonality also allows El Dabet and his team to seamlessly blend data and functions between on-premises and cloud-based information systems.
Dhaman employees can continue to access their familiar applications, such as Oracle Self-Service Human Resources. For example, if an employee submits a vacation request, the cloud-based HR system might execute a transaction and access a document from Oracle Documents Cloud Service. That employee will still see her HR information via a web browser or mobile app—personalized to her role, experience, work content, language, and information needs. Meanwhile, the HR manager will view the transaction in the management back-end system, along with any pertinent documents, without needing to log in to multiple systems.
As of this writing, several of Dhaman’s key applications are running in Oracle Cloud and many more are due to cut over within three months, at which time the IT team will shut down the corresponding on-premises systems. “Moving to the cloud will put Dhaman in a very competitive position because it will make it easier for national organizations to access their insurance services and make it easier for Dhaman to cooperate with these multinational organizations,” El Dabet says.
Dhaman’s integrated cloud platform allows documents to be served up transparently from within whatever task or system people happen to be using. Authorized users have unique credentials that enable them to access these services and perform the required actions, just as they always have.
As a corollary benefit, placing applications and data in Oracle Cloud is a great way to ensure recovery in case of a disaster or other business disruption, “especially with the political turmoil in the region,” El Dabet says.
“Having our data and applications in the cloud gives our management the confidence that information is safe and secure,” he says. “This feeling of safety and availability is especially important when you work in a hot region like the Middle East. If anything goes wrong as the result of a natural disaster or political conflict, our applications are secure and accessible from outside this area.”
El Dabet and team had a long-term goal in moving to the cloud: they wanted a platform that would fit their needs for the next 10 years. They chose Oracle because of its application development framework with standard APIs and lots of useful prebuilt functionality. “We looked closely at Oracle’s cloud strategy, and we believe it is the future of technology,” says Ahmed Elfadel Adam, deputy head, Software Development Unit at Dhaman.
Dhaman now relies on its cloud platform to innovate faster, increase productivity, and lower IT costs. Oracle Consulting has been assisting with the development of new Java applications and the migration of data and documents from the company’s on-premises systems. “We are succeeding in our cloud endeavors with the help of Oracle’s support,” says Tarek Fathy Bakr, senior developer at Dhaman. “Now we don’t have to worry about managing servers and data and applications, or experience the headache of securing and updating and backing up everything. It’s all in Oracle’s hands.”
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