It’s a great time for Cloud in Pakistan; firms must see security and capabilities before having a service
Interview with Mr Waqas Hashmi – Oracle Country Sales Director for Pakistan & Afghanistan
Mr. Waqas Hashmi is a Country Sales Director for Pakistan and Afghanistan at Oracle. In a chit chat, he shed some light on a key technology driver, namely cloud computing, and in particular Cloud Platform services.
On the economic front, Mr. Waqas said the future looks bright for Pakistan, with many opinion leaders predicting GDP growth of around 4.5 percent for 2016.
Following are details of his talks with Pakistan and Gulf Economist (PAGE):
PAGE: How you see the dynamic IT landscape in Pakistan?
WAQAS HASHMI: Pakistan’s Information, Communications and Technology sector is an important business driver, ranked as one of the largest contributors to the economy over the last decade. But the current technology landscape itself is rapidly evolving with the emergence of enterprise cloud offerings, which in turn accelerates the pace of change and growth in the overall economy going forward.
PAGE: How you describe the cloud, powering digital transformation?
WAQAS HASHMI: In the short term, Software as a service (SaaS) will continue to be the dominant cloud computing business offering in the region, as this enables organizations to harness modern enterprise applications for a range of activities from enterprise resource planning (ERP) to human resources and push Sales and Marketing quickly and cost effectively.
However, spending on Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) that offers compute and storage on demand, and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) is predicted to grow at a faster rate than SaaS.
“Using applications in the cloud, referred to as software as a service or SaaS in short, is a great start, but where companies gain real competitive differentiation and advantage is customizing aspects of the applications to their own requirements.
PaaS empowers that to happen, for example, enabling a company to launch a new customer service by adding or extending a new software feature quickly, so they benefit from a faster time-to-value and gain greater market share.
PaaS offers businesses some other key advantages too. One critical area is in the developing and testing of applications. PaaS dramatically reduces this cost and lets applications get into the hands of testers and end-users nearly as fast as they can be developed. In addition, on top of enabling you to develop new applications and extend existing applications on the go in the cloud, PaaS facilitates integrating cloud applications and data silos, and easier management across and switching between on-premise datacenters and public cloud.
PAGE: What are your views about mobile phone usage in Pakistan?
WAQAS HASHMI: In Pakistan, mobile phone usage is experiencing steady growth, and mobile apps need to connect to corporate back-end systems because that’s where the data for the app is found. Mobile connectivity is an integral part of PaaS that enables companies to quickly and easily build mobile apps tailored to their audience, connecting customers to those back-end systems transparently and securely.
PAGE: What role Oracle is playing in data platform?
WAQAS HASHMI: Another area that cloud enables is big data, a topic often making headlines these days. Essentially it gives corporations a deeper understanding of their customers and more insights into how best to run their business.
However, setting up a big data platform requires a lot of infrastructure and human effort before you can even get started with crunching data, Oracle really simplifies that journey by providing a fully functional, state-of-the-art big data platform, accessible either as an on-premise solution or in the cloud, to get companies up and running with big data and rapidly access the power of business analytics to gain insights and make better decisions.
In fact, analytics, mobile, and social are all enabled in Oracle Cloud. These aspects are not secondary to enterprise applications – they need to be an integral part.
PAGE: What is other key feature of Cloud?
WAQAS HASHMI: Another key feature of Cloud is that companies of all types and sizes can benefit. Small companies can launch into the cloud immediately, gaining access to enterprise class solutions that were previously beyond their reach. Medium-sized businesses that have experienced rapid growth and used different applications for different business functions can get an integrated set of software in the cloud.
Large companies can reduce the risk and cost of migrating their legacy systems to the cloud and more easily integrate them with other applications.
It’s a great time for Cloud in Pakistan! However, there are a lot of Cloud vendors out there, and it’s important for companies to thoroughly investigate up front what they are getting, not only in terms of features, but also in fundamental aspects such as data security and management capabilities, and how this will fit with the organization’s existing IT capabilities.
PAGE: What is way forward in technology?
WAQAS HASHMI: In particular, Oracle’s capability to give the customer the choice across public and private cloud, and indeed hybrid cloud, is quite unique. Customers can move to public cloud at their own pace or stay on-premise. For instance they can develop and test their applications in the public cloud and deploy them for production use in their own datacenter or on-premise, or vice versa.
Oracle technology is the same at every level in the cloud and on-premise, so the switch between environments is virtually seamless. For 40 years, Oracle has managed the world’s most-challenging IT issues. While other vendors may boast of having comprehensive cloud solutions, none can offer what Oracle does on all three layers of the cloud.
Oracle differentiates itself from competitors not only by the breadth of its SaaS portfolio, but also by being the only cloud vendor playing at all three layers: SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS.