Oracle to intro Future Ready Labs amid data centre plans

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Oracle will introduce its first Africa-based lab at its Johannesburg offices next month.
Oracle will introduce its first Africa-based lab at its Johannesburg offices next month.

Oracle will establish Future Ready Labs, to help local organisations realise the potential of cloud technology, in preparation for the imminent arrival of its local data centres.

The enterprise software giant will open its first Africa-based lab in Johannesburg at its offices next month, with plans to add more in Cape Town, Mauritius, Botswana and Namibia in future.

The lab will run in the format of workshops held with install base customers from all industries, showcasing to them in real-time via a virtual simulation, the benefits of moving their applications to the cloud.

Last month, Oracle announced plans to build new cloud regions in SA, US, Canada, Brazil, UK, European Union (Amsterdam), Japan, Australia, India, South Korea, Singapore, Israel, Chile, two in Saudi Arabia and two in the United Arab Emirates.

The move comes after Microsoft in March opened two data centre regions in SA, becoming the first global provider to deliver cloud services from data centres on the continent.

Rival Amazon Web Services is also looking to open data centres in SA next year.

Sarah George, ERP product strategy lead at Oracle South Africa, told ITWeb the eight-room Johannesburg-based lab is fitted with technologies such as LED screens, digital assistant apps and interactive dashboards, with the aim to expose organisations to technologies such as chatbots, augmented and virtual reality, Internet of things (IOT), machine learning and digital assistants, to help them understand the value of emerging technologies for their business and how to increase revenues.

“A first for Oracle SA, the Johannesburg lab will analyse our customers’ cloud transition journey by looking at their business ambitions and where they want to be in the next five to 10 years,” explained George.

“We're trying to re-energise local firms because their users are continuously evolving and their competitors are also adapting to this change. We take them through a structured approach aimed to help them adapt to technologies that will significantly contribute to increased revenues, customer satisfaction and improve productivity.”

The organisation already has similar labs in various markets across the globe, including Dubai, Singapore, Japan, UK and Saudi Arabia.

“Depending on how successful the first lab is, we plan to introduce a lab in Cape Town and more in the SADC region,” George pointed out.

Sarah George, ERP product strategy lead at Oracle South Africa.
Sarah George, ERP product strategy lead at Oracle South Africa.

The workshops will include a 12-step approach where Oracle domain experts and trained consultants will look at organisations’ vision and history, to address the key challenges they face and determine where they are headed in terms of modernisation.

“We do a customisation of what it means to be in the cloud, we expose clients to chatbots, augmented reality, IOT, machine learning, digital assistants, and we give them all these immersive experiences to understand the value of each technology to their business. We combine that with industry-specific case studies of what is happening around the globe and we create a customised solution.”

Organisations that have already made the cloud shift will benefit by receiving guidance on conducting their next upgrade, she added.

“The biggest pain points experienced by some South African firms can be routed to the legacy technologies and processes, which hinder them from adopting emerging technologies, depriving their customers of a great user experience and innovative solutions.

“Many organisations have to re-assess and re-programme themselves in terms of their available skills set, data usage and change management, and adopt a new way of working. One of the biggest challenges is their infrastructure landscape which leads to them feeling the pain of being distrusted by competitors,” George concludes.

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