When it comes to the cloud, we’re at the beginning of the beginning.
Only 6% of enterprise workloads have moved to the cloud—leaving 94% still running in data centers and on-premises solutions, said Oracle’s Joe Strada, group vice president of cloud Platform Sales Engineering, at Oracle Cloud Day in Dallas in November.
“After fifteen years of software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions and ten years of platform-as-a-service (PaaS) and infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) solutions, that’s where we are,” he told conference attendees.
The reason, he said, is that companies have not yet bought in to cloud computing when it comes to entrusting it to core business functions. While the cloud has made significant inroads in areas such as sales and marketing automation, movement has been slower when it comes to core business functions such as financials.
“A large portion of companies will move to the cloud in the next ten years, and that means we’re going to see a significant amount of change,” said Strada. Further, he predicted that every organization eventually will use all three layers of the cloud—adopting SaaS, leveraging IaaS to take advantage of elasticity and cost, and achieving differentiation through PaaS.
“But what you build with your platform will be what differentiates your business in the future,” he said.
Well-Thought, Solid Foundation
To keep pace with change today and prepare for the next tech evolution, said Strada, organizations need a platform that reduces risk and provides agility and scalability—and they need to migrate functions to the cloud in a way that makes sense for their business.
“Oracle is the only provider that builds everything from the ground up; we don’t introduce other vendors into the mix,” he said. “We have the broadest offering available across SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS, built on an open, standards-based platform with security built into every layer.”
Many companies venture into the cloud with SaaS applications; then progress into Oracle’s PaaS offerings to integrate, add mobile capabilities, refine processes, and differentiate; then look at IaaS solutions to gain capacity on demand and control costs, Strada said.
The progression from SaaS to PaaS often happens when an organization needs to extend a business process beyond what the SaaS provides today. Oracle’s broad range of PaaS offerings enables companies to manage data and content, develop applications, integrate across the enterprise, perform business analysis, provide security, share information, leverage big data, and manage and monitor the entire system.
For example, Strada described how telecom technology company Avaya tapped Oracle’s PaaS offerings, using Oracle Integration Cloud Service to simplify the integration between Oracle Sales Cloud, non-Oracle SaaS solutions, and legacy applications.
But as digital business models increasingly shift the playing field, even a platform isn’t enough, Strada emphasized.
“We see IaaS as the fundamental building block for everything,” he said. “That’s why Oracle has made a significant investment in this area and now offers a broad range of compute, storage, and network services.”
Oracle also offers the flexibility to deploy via private, public, or hybrid cloud and to be able to move workloads between on-premises and the cloud. And with Oracle Cloud Machine, companies can opt to put Oracle Cloud in their own data center—which may be the right solution for a company with regulatory issues, Strada said.
Identifying the Right Path
Cloud is both a disruptor and enabler of change, Strada said, and businesses need to think about how they’re going to manage themselves, their organizations, and their systems in this time of rapid evolution.
It’s no surprise that companies are struggling with how to quickly adapt and evolve in an environment where new, digital business models are laying waste to many of today’s business models. “Everyone’s path is different, and you need a path that’s customized to your needs,” he said.
While some start with SaaS and modernize financial functions (for example), others might start with IaaS and migrate DevTest workloads, or first use PaaS with a focus on mobile app development.
Over time, it’s the connectivity between those layers that will be critical—but if companies introduce a number of providers on any of the cloud layers, they’re introducing a significant amount of risk at a time that they’re also dealing with a significant amount of change, he warned.
For example, many companies have already acquired multiple SaaS solutions, and are likely becoming painfully aware that making these choices in isolation and based only on one area’s functional needs rather than as part of an overarching cloud strategy can result in interrupted workflow, data flow disruptions, and more-complex cloud updates.
“Change from a technology perspective is going to happen, and business will look incredibly different than today—guaranteed,” he said. “Even with all the technology changes we talk about today—cloud, big data, machine learning—there will be something else in five years. And Oracle is about helping organizations manage through those evolutions, not just sell the enabling technology.”