Middle Eastern governments have prioritised and fast tracked the innovation agenda: Oracle Middle Eastern governments have prioritised and fast tracked the innovation agenda: Oracle
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Middle Eastern governments have prioritised and fast-tracked the innovation agenda: Oracle

Middle Eastern governments have prioritised and fast-tracked the innovation agenda: Oracle

In a exclusive interview, Richard Smith, Oracle’s executive vice president for Technology in EMEA, sheds light on the region’s rapid advancement of innovation initiatives

Divsha Bhat

How do you see the growth of Oracle Cloud in the UAE and the broader Middle East region?

We are witnessing a remarkable growth in the region. What particularly excites me about the Middle East is the high level of enthusiasm displayed by customers for the benefits of cloud computing. Customers, whether they are sovereign entities or private organisations, are eagerly seeking innovation and transformative value from cloud services. This presents an incredibly thrilling opportunity for us and our customers.

A recent example of our commitment to the region is the announcement of a $1.5bn investment in Saudi Arabia. This investment aims to enhance the capabilities of our cloud infrastructure in the kingdom. The Oracle Cloud Riyadh region will complement the existing Jeddah region, and we also have plans for another region in Neom.

The fact that we are investing in expanding our capacity clearly indicates our confidence in the tremendous growth and opportunities present in the region.

Are organisations willing to adopt cloud technology? Do they see value?

Organisations in the region are extremely receptive to the adoption of cloud technology and highly value its benefits. Additionally, it’s worth mentioning the industry-specific aspect. Various industries, including the financial sector, telecommunications and healthcare, among others, have shown significant interest in cloud adoption.

Can you shed some light on the cloud security aspect?

As a company with a 45-year history, security has always been ingrained in our core values. Customers in the Middle East region have exceptionally high security expectations, and we have incorporated stringent security measures into our architecture and technology. The region demonstrates a strong determination not to compromise on security and support requirements. Additionally, regulatory assistance is sought to create an environment that upholds data sovereignty.

In the Middle East region, there is a strong willingness not to give up any of the requirements for security and support. But to help us from a regulatory standpoint, to open up the market to provide an environment where that data sovereignty is maintained.

Meanwhile, governments in the Middle East have placed a high priority on advancing the innovation agenda, taking proactive measures to accelerate its implementation. Their commitment to fast-tracking innovation initiatives reflects their determination to position the region as a global hub for technological advancements.The country’s leadership and our partners share the vision of ensuring the success of these initiatives. I have observed a consistent drive from the UAE’s leadership to challenge the region and us as a vendor, inspiring innovation and promoting transformative change. This, to me, is incredibly exciting.

Do you perceive a shortage of cloud computing talent in this region?

From my perspective, I would approach this question at two levels. Firstly, there is always a drive to nurture and develop talent. We have implemented a unique career programme called GenO, which distinguishes itself from other programmes.

GenO offers young graduates from diverse academic backgrounds the opportunity to gain exposure to various aspects of our business, including sales, customer support, solution engineering, consulting, finance and more. It allows them to grow within their chosen division. This programme has achieved great success in the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

Secondly, when it comes to women entering the technology field, the percentage is still relatively low. To address this, we have made significant efforts. For instance, we have announced our agreement to establish innovation centres in Abu Dhabi, collaborating with Injazat and other partners. These centres will focus on equipping individuals with the necessary skills, certifications and training on our technologies and building blocks. The demand for talent is constant, and it is a subject we are passionately focused on.

In the realm of major cloud providers, what sets Oracle apart from the rest?

Firstly, I would emphasise that not all clouds are the same. They differ in terms of architecture, service delivery and performance. From our perspective, security is paramount. Without the ability to trust the location, activities and access to your data, maintaining its integrity becomes impossible. Security is our top priority and serves as a significant point of differentiation.

Secondly, we offer a range of cloud options to cater to diverse needs. Whether it’s the public cloud, the sovereign or private cloud domain, or customers who require a fully isolated environment within their own firewall due to regulatory requirements, we have tailored solutions to meet these specific demands.

What are Oracle’s plans for the year ahead?

We have a few key objectives in mind. Firstly, we will continue fulfilling the commitments we have made, which include expanding our data centre capacity. This expansion is crucial for meeting the growing demands of our customers.

Secondly, while we believe that Oracle is a powerful and significant cloud platform; we also recognise the importance of interoperability. We understand that supporting interoperability across different cloud platforms is essential. Failing to do so would undermine the value we provide to our customers and, ultimately, hinder the growth of the market itself. Therefore, we will maintain our focus on ensuring interoperability, allowing our customers to seamlessly work across multiple cloud platforms.

Read: Oracle signs multiple partnerships at CloudWorld Tour Abu Dhabi

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