Interview

Working Towards Making INDIA A DIGITAL NATION

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Niraj Prakash Director, Solution Consulting, Oracle India

Niraj Prakash
Director, Solution Consulting,
Oracle India

Oracle is endeavouring to align itself with Union Government’s vision of transforming India into a digital hub and strengthening country’s fleet of skilled youth. Niraj Prakash, Director, Solution Consulting, Oracle India in a conversation with Vishwas Dass of Elets News Network (ENN) throws light on Orcale’s initiatives and strategies to expand its presence in the country. Excerpts:

According to reports, Oracle is supporting major investments to support India’s global digital leadership. Oracle will also open nine incubation centres to support startups in India and train over half a million students to develop computer science skills through Oracle Academy. Kindly throw some light on this?
Oracle CEO during her India visit had announced the opening of nine incubation centres in the country. The establishment of incubation centres is aimed at providing technology platform to those who are willing to work with Oracle. It will also help government programmes like “Start Up India” and “Make in India” where the new entrepreneurs want to understand and leverage technology to develop skills. Skill India focuses on several areas of skills and ICT is one of them where Oracle plays a major role. We have always been aligned to the vision of different governments. Government itself is a very crucial sector for Oracle. Several government projects actually run on Oracle. Departments like treasuries, urban and commercial tax are using services of Oracle. Digital India is a very clear pathway for us. Additionally, we are thinking beyond the Digital India programme and assessing other government’s programmes on ICT to help state-run institutions to leverage technology.

How important is the banking domain for you What kind of plans do you have for BFSI sector?
Banking is one of the largest segments for Oracle. We have been associated with all the leading public and private sector banks. Ace banks like HDFC and SBI are leveraging Oracle’s technology. We also leverage and learn from many big banks because they are dealing with citizens on a large scale. Oracle is also focusing on the payments banks. Oracle technology can be a significant intervention with Post Bank of India which is a payment bank to be established with Department of Posts. Department of Posts is a big customer of Oracle and they could potentially leverage Oracle technology for Post Bank of India. They do have a very strong presence in rural parts of the country. I believe if they use right technology and strategy, they can definitely achieve huge success. Oracle is striving to render best of the technological services to the banks.

Kindly give an overview of Cloud services Oracle offers to its customers? How does Cloud solutions help government  of India and various other State Governments?
In terms of scope of services today, Oracle is perhaps the only big company which offers the entire gamut of SAAS (software as a service), PAAS (platform as a service) and IAAS (infrastructure as a service). There is one more element which is DAAS (data as a service) which is on the top layer. Other Cloud players might be offering one to two said services only but not all the four which Oracle offers. Similarly, in terms of deployment perspective, we are again in all the spaces. We can help Government and other agencies to do private, public and hybrid cloud. Even, we can help them do public cloud behind their firewall with Oracle Cloud Machine which is one of the latest announcements made during the CloudWorld. Hence, an unmatched range of deployments options are available.
Another very important thing is to evaluate how well the Cloud First policy of the government is going. In 2015, Gartner report stated that the IT spend of about 6.88 billion USD of which about 869 million is software and the rest is other services. Of this the cloud is likely to be very small. What is the strategy to bridge the gap of cloud deployment and that is where I think the importance of using public Cloud becomes very high. The Cloud First policy has been articulated appropriately but the government has to think more in terms of opting for public cloud as it is faster, easier and more efficient. When you move to public cloud there are issues around security. Ensuring security is one of the biggest strengths for us. Last year Larry Ellison at the Open World Keynote talked about “Security Always On”. He said that security is not an option for us rather it is “Always On”. If only the government goes beyond the conversation and understands the level of security, looked at various areas where there’s no PI sensitivity, no confidential data is involved and see that how they can move it to the Public Cloud. That’s how you start bridging the gap.

Recently, Oracle organised CloudWorld in Mumbai. How successful was it? Please elaborate the objective behind organising it?
CloudWorld helped us secure strategic position with the government. We had set up an independent demo pavilion for the government. We set up a half day track for the government where we had around 120 people who participated in it. In a panel discussion, Maharashtra government officials, IT secretary and BMC Commissioner were there. That apart, we had also set up a demo zone where there were 15 booths and five of them were run by our partners including one booth of Government of Andhra Pradesh where they showcased the state enterprise architecture as a benchmark.
We demonstrated our solutions for transportation, public safety, national and state level governance projects, and right to service application. We talked about Skill India and Start Up India. There were three components—Digital City, Skill India and Make in India. A few states who are availing our services include Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.

If the upcoming bank of the Department of Posts adopts right technology and strategy, they can definitely achieve huge success

What are your expectations from PM Modi-led Digital India initiative? Share your views on how technology infrastructure within the country will see a transformation?
At present, the good part is that government is looking at the structural changes with JAM. That apart, everything needs to be made faster in order to bring changes and benefit people. We know the procurement processes are long in the government sector. Complex IT structures take a long time to deliver. The more and more you are able to leverage Public Cloud, security validated, faster and more efficient the execution will be. Also, government must explore the idea of setting up a “National Digital Innovation Board” to reward and replicate use cases and deployments of digital technologies (preferably on the cloud) of Social, Mobile, Analytics & Big Data, Cloud and IoT for Digital India and related government projects.

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