By Niral Patel, MD and Technology Leader for Oracle South Africa
The term “futureproofing” has been well used since the advent of cloud and recently the buzzword has proven to have real-world resonance. Cloud has been instrumental in enabling work away from office, streamlining secure staff access to data and business systems, such as ERP and HCM, that traditionally would only be accessible on premise or via VPN.
As companies’ operational requirements are changing almost daily today, cloud technology is continually evolving. Hyperscale cloud providers listened, learned and have delivered a second-generation cloud with capabilities more closely aligned with the operational requirements of big business. More specifically, contemporary cloud solutions are designed to remove the elements of risk that organisations face daily, regardless of shifting context.
Key to Oracle second-generation cloud’s expanded capabilities is the embedding of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) into cloud applications and infrastructure from day one. As an intrinsic part of business processes, instead of later add-ons, these smarter systems learn each organisation’s unique ways of operating, and are innately adaptable.
Such functionality is particularly useful in easing companies’ security burden in a remote working context. Autonomous security that is automated, architectured-in and always-on leverages AI and ML to spot unusual activities across an enterprise’s entire digital ecosystem and block external attacks. It also automatically patches databases without downtime and the pitfalls associated with manual system updates.
With flexibility a contemporary business must-have, many industries expect their hybrid cloud strategy – driven by security and compliance requirements – to be accommodated. Next-generation cloud streamlines data segregation at different levels, so while analytics takes place in the public cloud, sensitive information stays on-premise or in private cloud.
At the same time, second-generation cloud is geared for multi-cloud environments, helping customers ensure greater, reliable control over their technology environment. To facilitate this, there are an increasing number of partnerships between cloud and technology providers, like the application interoperability agreement between Oracle Cloud and Microsoft Azure.
Just as cloud’s capabilities are evolving, so too is what enterprises are doing with new opportunities available to them via cloud. A user working from home does not need to have the most powerful hardware and software to analyse company data. Machine learning models and analytics products built into next-generation cloud rapidly deliver the insight-backed decisions key to business agility, regardless of location.
Then there are organisations like Barcelona-based biomedical enterprise ELEM Biotech using next-generation cloud-based computing to accelerate the development of new medical treatments and reduce costs. Combining a simulation engine, 3D models of scanned human organs, and a cloud database, ELEM Biotech replicates the functioning of medical equipment and treatments in virtual clinical trials, with rapid results.
Even without the impact of unpredicted socio-economic upheaval, cloud has fundamentally changed how we experience and use data. Moving forward, the next generation of intelligent offerings, like Oracle Gen 2 Cloud, will ensure enterprises see a greater alignment between successfully harnessing data and safeguarding operations regardless of what the future holds.