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Oracle moves to exploit emerging tech in SA

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Global enterprise software giant Oracle will up the delivery of emerging technologies in the South African market as most local businesses are proceeding with their digital transformation initiatives.

So says Arun Khehar, Oracle’s senior vice-president for applications sales for the Eastern Central Europe, Middle East and Africa region.

In an e-mail interview with ITWeb, Khehar said the world of business is changing at an unimaginable rate.

Emerging technologies are changing the way companies do business at every level, across every function, he notes.

“Regardless of industry or business size, technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of things (IOT), blockchain and machine learning offer invaluable solutions and opportunities. These technologies have the ability to learn and adapt and change, giving the organisation the space it needs to focus on its core business and growth.”

According to Khehar, the adoption of cloud technology has come around far quicker than anyone anticipated.

“In South Africa, we are seeing the transformation at CEO level in favour of cloud adoption, in particular hybrid solutions. Cloud computing further enables business to harness the full potential of more recent technologies, such as AI, machine learning, blockchain, and chatbots; all very relevant in the South African context, and this is where the real ability to transform the business lies.

“It is very likely that industries will rise, while others that dominate today will fall. Skills will emerge that don’t have their place yet today, and solutions will come into play that organisations aren’t even aware that they need yet.”

Khehar points out that one of the most recent investments Oracle made late last year was the opening of an innovation hub in Johannesburg, a first for Oracle in Africa.

The hub aims to help drive the adoption of emerging technologies across the country’s corporates, public sector and academia; furthering digital transformation in South Africa, he notes.

The facility will also play a key role in raising awareness about the impact of emerging technologies such as IOT, blockchain, AI, chatbots and machine learning.

“The new hub will act as a platform for Oracle customers, partners and other stakeholders to better understand the potential of emerging technologies and co-create industry-specific innovations with top Oracle experts.

“As we move to our new premises this year, the hub will further be bolstered with innovative technology offerings, as well as facilitate various levels of training to students through to CIOs.”

Khehar says Statista estimates a R35 million spend for the South African enterprise software market in 2019.

“With this continued investment into SaaS [software-as-a-service], we should continue to see the 2018 trend among organisations gather further speed; with the adoption of ERP cloud-based solutions, human capital management and customer experience software services.

“Over the last few years, we have seen the banking industry transform the most, leading the charge, allowing for new services and market entrants. The disruption caused by digitalisation is seeing the incumbents realign themselves to better support a digital environment.”

He explains that the retail industry is another sector being affected by emerging technologies, and thus digital transformation.

According to Khehar, retailers are increasingly looking to technology they can use to improve their operations, better understand and engage with their customers, using both off- and online channels, and set themselves apart from the competition.

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