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IT Innovation

Cloud Launchpad

Choose Oracle infrastructure and platform services to fire your business into the cloud.

By Chris Murphy, Rob Preston, and Michael Hickins

September/October 2016

In the early days of cloud computing, some cloud providers tried to convey the idea of software as a service (SaaS) as somehow disconnected from hardware and software. But of course cloud hardware and software are behind today’s SaaS applications, and cloud hardware is also available as infrastructure as a service (IaaS), and cloud software as platform as a service (PaaS).

Focusing only on the SaaS business remains the strategy for some cloud providers, especially ones lacking their own platform and infrastructure technologies. But for Oracle, well known for its industry-leading database and middleware solutions—technologies that form the core of PaaS—adding PaaS to the company’s SaaS offerings made perfect sense. And once in the PaaS business, adding the IaaS layer was the next step. And that step meant that Oracle could support any type of application.

Oracle Process Cloud Service, because of the nature of what it does as a tool, was a perfect way to push ourselves into standardizing.”
–Shane Smutz, Executive Vice President, Mythics

“We eventually came to realize and understand that if we were going to be in the PaaS business, we also had to be in the infrastructure-as-a-service business, because if we wanted people to use our database in the cloud, they weren’t going to use our database in the cloud with just our applications, just our SaaS applications,” says Larry Ellison, executive chairman and CTO at Oracle. “They had a lot of existing applications. They wanted to write applications of their own. They wanted to write them not all in Java, but in Java and new programming languages—Python, Ruby, scripting languages, programming languages, whatever you’d like to call them.”

The journey from SaaS to PaaS to IaaS provides Oracle customers with choices. But for Oracle, the cloud journey was not a choice—it was a requirement.

“So here’s the irony of it all,” Ellison says. “We went into the SaaS business and came to understand that required us to be in the platform business. And we went into the platform business and came to understand we had to be in the infrastructure-as-a-service business. That’s how we got to where we are today.”

The Oracle journey from SaaS to PaaS to IaaS gives Oracle a complete cloud, and it gives Oracle customers, partners, and independent software vendors (ISVs) maximum flexibility to run existing applications and build new ones. The following examples, excerpted from our team’s coverage on Forbes, show how Oracle customers, partners, and ISVs got to where they are today with Oracle PaaS services running on Oracle infrastructure.

Mythics Has a Process

Anyone who has ever launched a project knows and dreads the 50-message email string that it typically spawns, as colleagues seek information, reassurance, and approvals.

Shane Smutz is executive vice president at Mythics, a 15-year-old systems integration firm, and he would see those 50 (and sometimes 100) emails, because his approval is needed for many projects. To replace that deluge, Mythics has designed a cloud-based approach, using Oracle Process Cloud Service to manage the statement-of-work approvals workflow and Oracle Documents Cloud Service to store information and do version control so there’s one source of truth when questions arise.

Building the system on Oracle Process Cloud Service let the team focus on solving the business problem rather than on technology obstacles. Plus, it embeds best practices Oracle has learned from other customers. “Oracle Process Cloud Service, because of the nature of what it does as a tool, was a perfect way to push ourselves into standardizing,” Smutz says.

Our competitors are on premises only or software-as-a-service only. We can offer the two options.”
–David Meyer, CEO, Opencell

Mythics has seen many of its state and local government customers embracing the cloud recently. The firm’s role with cloud projects is now more about front-end planning and long-term sustainability, Smutz says: architecting systems, engaging users, and helping plot adoption strategies for that high-speed impact noted above. Critical technical elements will remain as well, especially as cloud systems and on-premises systems must be integrated, and will need to be for many years to come.

But helping executives plan the business-technology strategy of how to move from one quick-win cloud project to the next will be of growing importance. “It’s going to be less about babysitting an on-premises system,” Smutz says, “and more about the continuous migration to cloud and how that cycle is sustained over a longer period of time.”

Read more from “Email Overload and the Future of Systems Integrators in a Cloud World.”

Make the Independent Leap

For software maker Ventureforth, the typical profile for a new cloud customer is a midsize manufacturer, often in the Middle East or some other region where the Atlanta, Georgia–based company hasn’t done a lot of business in the past. If Ventureforth didn’t have a cloud option to offer those companies, “we think we would’ve lost every deal,” says Charles Farnell, CEO at Ventureforth.

Farnell has seen the company’s customer base flipping that switch to the cloud in just the past 18 months, reinforcing Ventureforth’s decision to start offering its vMobile applications as an online service, using Oracle Cloud Platform. Because Ventureforth’s on-premises applications already ran on Oracle Database, it was a simple shift for Ventureforth to certify and run its applications in Oracle’s cloud as well, Farnell says.

Opencell is another ISV giving its customers the choice of running its software on premises, in the cloud, or under a hybrid model, using Oracle Cloud Platform. Opencell sells open source software that helps companies manage subscription billing revenue. Telecom and other companies have used such software for decades, but now many more types of companies are providing digital services for which they need to manage subscription revenue.

“Our competitors are on premises only or software-as-a-service only,” says David Meyer, CEO at Opencell. “We can offer the two options, and that’s really, really important.”

Read more from “Why Independent Software Vendors Are Making the Leap to the Cloud.”

The Accelerated Cloud Experience

When Alan Burns, the cofounder and CTO at financial technology company PeerPay, was looking to buy a database to underpin the peer-to-peer lending platform the company was developing, the last thing he wanted was a long, complicated contract process.

If you go to larger customers and you want to show your product, Oracle gives you a certain added value.”
–Thomas Vogelbacher, Cofounder, Werkbank

Burns, a longtime Oracle Database user, chose Oracle Database Cloud Service as the lending platform’s production environment for two main reasons: data security (“I can’t afford to lose a single piece of information here,” he says) and ease of implementation.

A bonus was the fast contracting turnaround time. It took literally minutes to get the contract sent and approved and only hours for the database service to be set up.

Burns says Oracle’s Accelerated Buying Experience makes it fast and easy to purchase a range of Oracle Cloud services. “It was fun,” he says. “It was just so smooth.”

Read more from “Fintech Startup on Fast Track with Peer-to-Peer Lending Service.”

The Cloud Power Shift

Switzerland-based Werkbank, an IT and business process consulting firm, has customers in a number of industries but specializes in financial services. Werkbank’s strategy is to sell large financial institutions on a new application they have dubbed “SecFy,” which authenticates data, such as transactions, using many of the same mechanisms as blockchain. The application is designed for companies that operate in highly regulated environments, where compliance plays a crucial role in product development. The backbone of Werkbank’s application development is Oracle Java Cloud Service and Oracle Database Cloud Service.

“If you go to larger customers and you want to show your product, Oracle gives you a certain added value,” says Thomas Vogelbacher, cofounder at Werkbank. “They know the technology is reliable because it’s running on a system that they know, one that won’t disappear in the next 10 or 15 years. It’s a reliable partner.”

The cloud has allowed Werkbank to shape its business model beyond simply providing standard IT and process engineering services to innovating with a new product of its own. And this two-person shop can focus on product development rather than on administering databases.

“Now we can just buy cloud services and start developing,” Vogelbacher says. “We can think up a new mechanism and a new concept, and bring it to market on our own. Five years ago we wouldn’t have been able to deliver it easily. That represents a definite power shift to smaller companies.”

Read more from “Tiny Werkbank Wants to Help Big Banks Avoid Fintech Disruption.”

Next Steps

 TRY Oracle Cloud Platform.

 TRY Oracle Cloud Infrastructure as a Service.

 

Photography by Stephen Johnson,Unsplash