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Oracle cloud makes headway in eastern Europe

Oracle’s cloud services have been making headway in eastern Europe, including at Romania’s Banca Transilvania

In recent years, like its rival SAP, Oracle has set itself on the road to becoming a cloud company. Over 90% of Oracle software is said to be ready to use in the cloud.

Michel Clement, head of Oracle in central and eastern Europe (CEE), says: “We’ve not only developed new services, but made changes within our organisation. Now we have dedicated teams of specialists who help our customers adopt cloud solutions. Moreover, we’ve also trained our business partners in cloud.” 

He adds that in Oracle’s Q3, ending in February 2015: “We sold nearly $200m new SaaS and PaaS [systems].”

The full technology stack

Cloud adoption is an evolutionary process. Most companies have a mixed cloud and on-premise environment. They need help to evolve to the platform combination that works best for them. Cloud is a goal, but integration, consolidation and simplifying the IT infrastructure to make it more efficient and cost-effective must come first.

Oracle cloud services are delivered from 22 datacentres around the world.

‘Big Red’ has datacentres in North America, the EU and Asia Pacific. The five European centres are in the UK (Linlithgow and Slough), the Netherlands (Amsterdam) and Germany (Frankfurt and Munich).

Clement says: “More than 10,000 enterprises all over the world are using our cloud services. Customers from CEE typically select a DC from the European Union or the US, depending on the type of service and detailed requirements of their use case.”

Cloud orientation

Mike Lehmann, a vice president of product management at Oracle, says: “With a comprehensive Oracle PaaS offer there is a whole set of additional services – database, Java, mobility, integration – out of box and on demand.”

According to IDC, the platform as a service (PaaS) market will grow to more than $14bn in 2017. Kuba Stolarski, a research manager at IDC, says: “The pace of adoption of cloud–based platforms will not abate. Expansion of cloud IT infrastructure will be continuing to outpace the growth of the overall IT infrastructure market for the foreseeable future.”

In April this year Oracle joined forces with Accenture to strengthen its market power in the cloud field and to help enterprises simplify migration to the cloud. “Accenture plays a key role at all stages of the cloud acquisition process – consulting, reselling, development, implementation, integration, consolidation, creating new products and services,” explains Clement.

Case study: Banca Transilvania

CEE customers of Oracle cloud services include financial companies, banks, public sector institutions, telco service providers, large and medium-sized enterprises. After the implementation of Oracle systems, Banca Transilvania, one of Romania’s largest banks, boosted transactions by 20%, cut end-of-day close time by 50% and accelerated new banking services by 200%.

The bank launched its commercial operation in 1994. As Romania’s economy expanded so did the bank, especially after the country joined the EU in 2007. Now Banca Transilvania is the third largest bank in Romania, by asset value. It has 560 branches, more than 2 million customers and 3.5 million active accounts. This rapid pace of growth put a significant strain on its IT systems. The bank realised its core banking and transaction systems required fundamental transformation.

“We tried all kinds of different hardware combinations and, in the end, performance drove our Oracle systems decision,” says Marius Ursuti, the bank’s IT manager.

More about cloud adoption in eastern Europe

As it was a migration from one centralised system to another, an incremental approach would have been both time-consuming and extraordinarily complicated, he says.

“We migrated to the new platform in a single, seamless big bang. All records and processes were transferred all at once, during one night and without disruption to our customers,” he says.

The bank’s big bang migration was preceded by a period of integrating its banking systems, scrutinising new systems and testing demos. Finally, all systems were settled on a stack that integrates Oracle Flexcube core banking system, Exadata and Exalogic engineering systems, the financial accounting hub and Siebel CRM.

“Oracle Exadata achieved response times of less than one second for 95% of transactions while processing 50 transactions per second, which is almost double our volume at peak times,” says Ursuti. “We saw consistent, sub-three-second response times; previously they could be as high as 10 seconds, when using an Intel x86 platform.”

Processing 1.5 million transactions daily, the bank has increased its client base by 15%, grown transaction volumes by 20%. Now, 95% of all card transactions are completed in less than a second (and the bank handles half million card transactions daily), just six months after the migration of all banking operations to the Oracle platform.

The IT transformation at the bank has been recently complemented by Oracle Exalogic Elastic Cloud – a datacentre building service designed to allow the bank to rapidly deploy and provide mission-critical, high-performance applications in a conventional or cloud model.

“We saw very low latency and high throughput for our key applications,” says the bank’s IT manager.

Downtime was cut to nearly zero, giving customers uninterrupted access to ATMs, online banking and other services. Maintaining a fast and satisfying customer experience helps Banca Transilvania attract new business in its target market of consumers and small and medium-sized businesses.

“We are now a true 24x7 business and receive good feedback from customers,” says Ursuti.

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