Oracle and Deloitte’s nearly 30-year relationship took a major leap forward about five years ago.
At the time, Deloitte had an established Oracle Applications practice delivering ERP and Analytics systems to major clients around the globe. The “pivot to Oracle tech”—launching a practice around Oracle’s new cloud infrastructure service—seemed a bold, if not risky, move, as that market was dominated by a few entrenched players, said Chris Pasternak, a managing director within Deloitte’s global Oracle Cloud Engineering practice.
Since then, however, sweeping shifts in enterprise attitudes toward cloud have spurred a wave of adoption that’s validated Deloitte’s big bet on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI).
“Within the last few years, the world has really seen that uptick in clients thinking about Oracle differently, looking at their on-premises footprint, looking at their solutions to try to really drive value by leveraging cloud,” Pasternak said. “And so that’s where the OCI-Deloitte relationship really blossomed.”
That encouraged Deloitte to make additional investments, including the acquisition of BIAS Corporation, a cloud consulting firm named Oracle’s 2019 OCI Partner of the Year for Global and North America.
Deloitte’s commitment to OCI stems from the price-performance characteristics that are shaking up the cloud infrastructure market, said Pasternak. To capitalize on those technological differentiators, Deloitte has worked closely with Oracle to bring innovative new offerings to market, including its ELEVATE program that’s reimagining how to cost-effectively deliver cloud services that will enable organizations to innovate and remain competitive in an era of rapid digital transformation.
“Organizations are taking a much more critical look at how they should be operating,” Pasternak said. “For Deloitte, I think that is a big factor in how we help clients shape their technology environments and think about their future and cloud with all the various options in the market.”
The concept of a single cloud provider was gone before people even had time to get comfortable with it; as the technology rapidly matured, enterprises came to recognize that different cloud infrastructure providers brought different strengths.
These days, “multi-cloud is an important consideration and can bring value to our clients,” Pasternak said, expanding the way enterprises think about their IT decisions.
The “multi-cloud agenda” has sparked a renewed focus on best-of-breed: selecting the cloud infrastructure best-suited to power specific applications across the portfolio. That, in turn, has bolstered Deloitte’s ability to explain the value of Oracle’s offerings, and the relationship between the two companies.
In years past, organizations were spending a lot of time thinking about how they were going to run Oracle workloads in the cloud—and often not coming up with a good answer. But in the multi-cloud world, they’re no longer skirting those decisions.
“The thought has shifted to taking Oracle Cloud Infastructure (OCI) and incorporating it with other systems,” Pasternak said.
As such, Deloitte’s role becomes helping clients effectively integrate heterogenous environments, and to strategically take advantage of Oracle cloud capabilities as they move on-premises Oracle workloads, particularly high-performance compute applications, into OCI.
Oracle provides a complete suite of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications for running an enterprise, with Oracle Fusion Cloud Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) holding the top leadership position in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for product-centric cloud ERP the last four years.
While more than 8,000 organizations have already made the move to Oracle Cloud ERP, other organizations see modernizing their current on-premises application investments to cloud as a necessary stepping stone to get to SaaS.
“OCI helps client organizations prepare for digital transformation across the enterprise by moving legacy workloads,” Pasternak said, “this is especially helpful for clients that are considering more comprehensive transformations with SaaS, but not yet ready to adopt that operational model.”
Deloitte will start ’staging the customer’—bringing their existing ERP and other applications into cloud before easing them into a SaaS environment. To optimize their success, the Deloitte Oracle Cloud Engineering team works closely with its business and technology counterparts who focus on applications.
It’s worth remembering that Oracle has committed to continue support for applications such as E-Business Suite, Hyperion, PeopleSoft, JD Edwards and Siebel whether hosted on-premises or in Oracle Cloud Infrastructure. There is no deadline to force migrations and these customers will continue to receive new features and a transparent roadmap.
There’s an interesting connection between Oracle’s vast portfolio of Software-as-a-Service suites and OCI. Oracle Fusion Cloud Applications and Oracle Cloud Infrastructure “complement each other in many ways,” Pasternak said.
It’s at this nexus of SaaS and Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) that Deloitte generates a lot of interest in migrating non-Oracle workloads to Oracle’s public cloud, he added.
Oracle Fusion Cloud ERP Cloud, Oracle Fusion Cloud HCM, and other SaaS solutions are typically connected to, and closely interacting with, complex on-premises systems. By re-platforming those custom and third-party applications on OCI, Deloitte can create tighter integrations with the Oracle Fusion Cloud Applications that enterprises are using to run mission-critical business operations.
There are many technical advantages to “sitting in the same cloud on which their SaaS applications are running,” said Pasternak.
For starters, the customer promptly reduces their attack surface, improving their security posture. There’s also better connectivity across the application environment that lowers latency, and with it costs.
“It’s a shorter distance, so you get faster results,” he said.
Stepping into an OCI environment opens the door to a bonanza of additional cloud services for customers. That starts with the basics: differentiated Oracle Cloud capabilities like flexible VM shapes for compute and object storage.
“The ability to granularly scale servers efficiently, or to turn up and turn down storage, is very valuable. It just adds a level of flexibility that gets clients excited,” Pasternak said.
Once enterprises have optimally sized their infrastructure with Oracle’s cloud, they can go on to take advantage of a plethora of database options.
Oracle Exadata Cloud Service provides a strong foothold for these data system transformations—the scalability of Oracle’s engineered database platform, Oracle Exadata, gives customers confidence to adopt cutting-edge database and analytics technologies.
Autonomous Database is particularly appealing these days as organizations struggle to find and hire IT professionals, according to Pasternak. With the ‘self-driving’ solution automating patching, security and backup functionality, database administrators can focus on more impactful projects.
And the data benefits of OCI flow into another key area that enterprises are actively exploring: machine learning, AI and data science.
“That’s where Autonomous is starting to get traction, because it’s easier to move your Oracle Database to Autonomous, and then it’s easier to get started using AI and machine learning because it’s built into the platform,” Pasternak said. “It’s not some additional add-on, so it becomes a natural next step without having to relearn a data platform.”
Deloitte and Oracle launched the ELEVATE program in 2019 to help clients maximize their existing Oracle investments, optimize their operations, and reinvest in innovation to transform their infrastructure and applications.
For enterprises not yet ready for a comprehensive digital transformation with SaaS, ELEVATE offers a mechanism to fund those projects in the future by immediately driving down costs.
“It’s focused on helping clients think about what they want to achieve going forward and how to optimize current investments to fund those results,” Pasternak said.
One example comes from a recent engagement with a global consumer goods company that was looking to vacate its data centers.
Deloitte’s experienced cloud professionals spent time with that company exploring both its business and its IT strategy, then developing actionable plans for achieving desired business outcomes.
“We were able to bring in the ELEVATE program, help them realize cost savings early so that they could continue to invest into the data center evacuation with an eye to a more transformative engagement later on,” Pasternak said.