[Column] Gomedi Makhongoana: How cloud can help educational institutions

With the highest youth unemployment rate in the world, paired with worrying skills shortages, the pressure is on universities and other tertiary education institutions in South Africa to admit more students.

The key to expanding access is affordable education – as highlighted by the #FeesMustFall movement – but how are institutions supposed to meet this crucial socio-economic need while managing their ever-mounting expenditure, and swelling student numbers?

The adoption of next-generation cloud technology is proving to be an effective cost-cutting strategy for all sectors, and it has a special value for educational institutions in helping to keep tuition costs down.

To clarify, the vast majority of higher learning institutions recognize the need for digital migration as a contemporary operational essential but find themselves sinking a substantial amount of resources into preserving repository legacy systems.

This is because these databases are the only repositories for hard-to-move student data, in line with data retention compliance requirements.

Making things even more challenging is the necessity to do more with less in an environment of uncertainty in otherwise a depressed market, where the government is considering how to realize a promise of free education, and equally collection of fees is not meeting revenue needs.

Next-generation cloud

As much as it may seem beyond universities’ reach, a shift to the cloud will help to alleviate this burden. With Oracle’s new Generation 2 Cloud, it is possible to reach a customer’s desired outcome, and have systems up and running in just three to four months.

Previously, that journey – which requires an understanding of an institution’s priorities, legacy system investment, etc., would take 12 to 18 months. Universities can return quickly to service delivery, and be in an overall better position to market themselves as progressive and competitive education providers in South Africa and the world.

Another advantage of next-generation cloud is that it is truly scalable and elastic, adjusting immediately to accommodate fluctuating workload requirements, and optimizing spend, as customers, only pay for resources used.

This is especially beneficial for educational institutions, which have “seasonal” needs, different over semesters and holiday periods.

At the same time, with greater elasticity and liberation from on-premise requirements, the cloud enables tertiary institutions to meet the educational needs of more students, without the need for more teaching resources. Cloud effortlessly provides e-learning to physically remote, and infrastructure deprived, learners who now simply require an internet connection to access digital class materials and other resources.

Universities are not IT businesses, of course, and precious staff resources should be focused on the high-value task of advancing the university, and its attractiveness, instead of mundane tasks centered around technology. With embedded AI and machine learning capabilities, Gen 2 cloud provides this benefit.

Cloud computing solutions

For example, the University of Adelaide now uses two chatbots – underpinned by cloud computing power – to streamline application queries for thousands of Australian and international students.

Instead of jamming university call centre lines during business hours, and waiting for hours in a queue, students can determine their eligibility 24/7 via a three-minute interaction with a Facebook chatbot and Oracle Digital Assistant, respectively. Those students who do seek out human interaction enjoy longer periods of focused attention.

Closer to home, Stellenbosch University is overhauling its outdated academic and financial systems, adopting new cloud-based solutions that support scalable, reliable and integrated information ecosystems. Students will enjoy greater self-service options when managing their academic curricula.

Meanwhile, university staff can achieve greater efficiency by using functions more closely aligned with contemporary, individual ways of working, combined with access to real-time, multi-dimensional analytics and reporting.

As with every organization, for an educational institution to thrive and grow, employees must be equipped to focus on their areas of expertise and work more efficiently. They should not lose chunks of their workday to mundane tasks, such as security updates in the case of IT staff.

Yet, with the average cost of a data breach in South Africa nearly R50 million, according to the Ponemon Institute, such functions cannot be a shortcut – especially at financially vulnerable universities. Higher education providers are a growing target for cybercriminals, attracted by the comparative ease of accessing the disparate, older systems of these organizations.

In addition to encrypting all data by default, next-generation cloud mitigates this costly concern, thanks to embedded AI and machine learning capabilities. Autonomous cloud essentially runs itself, self-updating, self-securing and removing the ability for human error and system vulnerabilities to be exploited.

It also learns the behaviour of all users so that it can easily recognize and act on anomalies, such as the same user logging in from two places minutes apart.

One final point to make is that the cloud not only helps universities optimize their spend but also fulfils their mandate of producing work-ready young professionals for the Digital Age.

Just launched worldwide, Oracle Cloud Free Tier is a set of always free, non-contractual cloud services including Autonomous Database, which allows students, educators, IT professionals and others to access the same full functionality as Oracle paid services with no time limit.

Potential customers are encouraged to play with the technology, exploring how it can bolster their organization’s performance, while students get hands-experience with contemporary business essentials.

It is true that entering the cloud world comes with substantial cost outlay. However, the journey is a partnership the whole way, and in addition to immediate performance benefits, customers see continually increased savings as they progress.

Further providing a level of cost containment are simplified and flexible purchasing and consumption models, such as the ability to migrate your on-premise license with you to the cloud. There are multiple ways to maximize the value organizations receive from the cloud, and for future-minded educational institutions, the time to embrace the shift is now.

Gomedi Makhongoana is Technology Public Sector Director at Oracle South Africa

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[Column] Gomedi Makhongoana: How cloud can help educational institutions

With the highest youth unemployment rate in the world, paired with worrying skills shortages, the pressure is on universities and other tertiary education institutions in South Africa to admit more students.

The key to expanding access is affordable education – as highlighted by the #FeesMustFall movement – but how are institutions supposed to meet this crucial socio-economic need while managing their ever-mounting expenditure, and swelling student numbers?

The adoption of next-generation cloud technology is proving to be an effective cost-cutting strategy for all sectors, and it has a special value for educational institutions in helping to keep tuition costs down.

To clarify, the vast majority of higher learning institutions recognize the need for digital migration as a contemporary operational essential but find themselves sinking a substantial amount of resources into preserving repository legacy systems.

This is because these databases are the only repositories for hard-to-move student data, in line with data retention compliance requirements.

Making things even more challenging is the necessity to do more with less in an environment of uncertainty in otherwise a depressed market, where the government is considering how to realize a promise of free education, and equally collection of fees is not meeting revenue needs.

Next-generation cloud

As much as it may seem beyond universities’ reach, a shift to the cloud will help to alleviate this burden. With Oracle’s new Generation 2 Cloud, it is possible to reach a customer’s desired outcome, and have systems up and running in just three to four months.

Previously, that journey – which requires an understanding of an institution’s priorities, legacy system investment, etc., would take 12 to 18 months. Universities can return quickly to service delivery, and be in an overall better position to market themselves as progressive and competitive education providers in South Africa and the world.

Another advantage of next-generation cloud is that it is truly scalable and elastic, adjusting immediately to accommodate fluctuating workload requirements, and optimizing spend, as customers, only pay for resources used.

This is especially beneficial for educational institutions, which have “seasonal” needs, different over semesters and holiday periods.

At the same time, with greater elasticity and liberation from on-premise requirements, the cloud enables tertiary institutions to meet the educational needs of more students, without the need for more teaching resources. Cloud effortlessly provides e-learning to physically remote, and infrastructure deprived, learners who now simply require an internet connection to access digital class materials and other resources.

Universities are not IT businesses, of course, and precious staff resources should be focused on the high-value task of advancing the university, and its attractiveness, instead of mundane tasks centered around technology. With embedded AI and machine learning capabilities, Gen 2 cloud provides this benefit.

Cloud computing solutions

For example, the University of Adelaide now uses two chatbots – underpinned by cloud computing power – to streamline application queries for thousands of Australian and international students.

Instead of jamming university call centre lines during business hours, and waiting for hours in a queue, students can determine their eligibility 24/7 via a three-minute interaction with a Facebook chatbot and Oracle Digital Assistant, respectively. Those students who do seek out human interaction enjoy longer periods of focused attention.

Closer to home, Stellenbosch University is overhauling its outdated academic and financial systems, adopting new cloud-based solutions that support scalable, reliable and integrated information ecosystems. Students will enjoy greater self-service options when managing their academic curricula.

Meanwhile, university staff can achieve greater efficiency by using functions more closely aligned with contemporary, individual ways of working, combined with access to real-time, multi-dimensional analytics and reporting.

As with every organization, for an educational institution to thrive and grow, employees must be equipped to focus on their areas of expertise and work more efficiently. They should not lose chunks of their workday to mundane tasks, such as security updates in the case of IT staff.

Yet, with the average cost of a data breach in South Africa nearly R50 million, according to the Ponemon Institute, such functions cannot be a shortcut – especially at financially vulnerable universities. Higher education providers are a growing target for cybercriminals, attracted by the comparative ease of accessing the disparate, older systems of these organizations.

In addition to encrypting all data by default, next-generation cloud mitigates this costly concern, thanks to embedded AI and machine learning capabilities. Autonomous cloud essentially runs itself, self-updating, self-securing and removing the ability for human error and system vulnerabilities to be exploited.

It also learns the behaviour of all users so that it can easily recognize and act on anomalies, such as the same user logging in from two places minutes apart.

One final point to make is that the cloud not only helps universities optimize their spend but also fulfils their mandate of producing work-ready young professionals for the Digital Age.

Just launched worldwide, Oracle Cloud Free Tier is a set of always free, non-contractual cloud services including Autonomous Database, which allows students, educators, IT professionals and others to access the same full functionality as Oracle paid services with no time limit.

Potential customers are encouraged to play with the technology, exploring how it can bolster their organization’s performance, while students get hands-experience with contemporary business essentials.

It is true that entering the cloud world comes with substantial cost outlay. However, the journey is a partnership the whole way, and in addition to immediate performance benefits, customers see continually increased savings as they progress.

Further providing a level of cost containment are simplified and flexible purchasing and consumption models, such as the ability to migrate your on-premise license with you to the cloud. There are multiple ways to maximize the value organizations receive from the cloud, and for future-minded educational institutions, the time to embrace the shift is now.

Gomedi Makhongoana is Technology Public Sector Director at Oracle South Africa

Oracle to expand cloud infrastructure globally

Technology company Oracle has announced plans to expand quickly its cloud infrastructure around the world for hosting customer applications.

The company launched 12 new cloud regions in the past year, and plans another three new sites this year as part of the expansion announced in October 2018. Additional redundant and new sites will be added over the coming year, to take the company to a total 36 cloud regions around the world.

Based on customer feedback, the company has decided to build redundant regions in almost every country where it operates.

This will occur over the next 15 months, while also adding multiple new countries. When the expansion plan is completed, Oracle will have multiple regions in 10 countries and the EU, and multiple government clusters. It’s adding in total 20 new regions to the 16 it already operates – 17 for commercial use and three for government use.

New regions will be built in the Bay area in California; Montreal; Belo Horizonte, Brazil; Newport, Wales; Amsterdam; Osaka, Japan; Melbourne; Hyderabad; Chuncheon, South Korea; Singapore; Jeddah and another city (TBD) in Saudi Arabia; Dubai and another city (TBD) in UAE; Israel (city TBD); South Africa (city TBD); and Chile (city TBD). The government regions will be Newport and London in the UK and in Israel.

www.oracle.com

Microsoft and Oracle partner to interconnect Microsoft Azure and Oracle Cloud

Microsoft and Oracle have announced a cloud interoperability partnership enabling customers to migrate and run mission-critical enterprise workloads across Microsoft Azure and Oracle Cloud.

Microsoft and Oracle have announced a cloud interoperability partnership enabling customers to migrate and run mission-critical enterprise workloads across Microsoft Azure and Oracle Cloud. Enterprises can now seamlessly connect Azure services, like Analytics and AI, to Oracle Cloud services, like Autonomous Database. By enabling customers to run one part of a workload within Azure and another part of the same workload within the Oracle Cloud, the partnership delivers a highly optimized, best-of-both-clouds experience. Taken together, Azure and Oracle Cloud offer customers a one-stop shop for all the cloud services and applications they need to run their entire business.

Connecting Azure and Oracle Cloud through network and identity interoperability makes lift-and-improve migrations seamless. This partnership delivers direct, fast and highly reliable network connectivity between two clouds, while continuing to provide first-class customer service and support that enterprises have come to expect from the two companies. In addition to providing interoperability for customers running Oracle software on Oracle Cloud and Microsoft software on Azure, it enables new and innovative scenarios like running Oracle E-Business Suite or Oracle JD Edwards on Azure against an Oracle Autonomous Database running on Exadata infrastructure in the Oracle Cloud.

“As the cloud of choice for the enterprise, with over 95% of the Fortune 500 using Azure, we have always been first and foremost focused on helping our customers thrive on their digital transformation journeys,” said Scott Guthrie, executive vice president of Microsoft’s Cloud and AI division. “With Oracle’s enterprise expertise, this alliance is a natural choice for us as we help our joint customers accelerate the migration of enterprise applications and databases to the public cloud.”

“The Oracle Cloud offers a complete suite of integrated applications for sales, service, marketing, human resources, finance, supply chain and manufacturing, plus highly automated and secure Generation 2 infrastructure featuring the Oracle Autonomous Database,” said Don Johnson, executive vice president, Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI). “Oracle and Microsoft have served enterprise customer needs for decades. With this partnership, our joint customers can migrate their entire set of existing applications to the cloud without having to re-architect anything, preserving the large investments they have already made.”

As a result of this expanded partnership, the companies are making available a new set of capabilities. This include connecting Azure and Oracle Cloud seamlessly, allowing customers to extend their on-premises datacenters to both clouds. Customers will also get a unified identity and access management, via a unified single sign-on experience and automated user provisioning, to manage resources across Azure and Oracle Cloud. Also available in early preview today, Oracle applications can use Azure Active Directory as the identity provider and for conditional access.

Other capabilities include supported deployment of custom applications and packaged Oracle applications (JD Edwards EnterpriseOne, E-Business Suite, PeopleSoft, Oracle Retail, Hyperion) on Azure with Oracle databases (RAC, Exadata, Autonomous Database) deployed in Oracle Cloud. The same Oracle applications will also be certified to run on Azure with Oracle databases in Oracle Cloud. A collaborative support model to help IT organizations deploy these new capabilities while enabling them to leverage existing customer support relationships and processes. Oracle Database will continue to be certified to run in Azure on various operating systems, including Windows Server and Oracle Linux.

“The alliance between Microsoft and Oracle is welcome news as we accelerate Albertsons’ digital transformation and leverage the full value of the public cloud,” said Anuj Dhanda, executive vice president and chief information officer at Albertsons Companies. “This will allow us to create cross-cloud solutions that optimize many of our current investments while maximizing the agility, scalability and efficiency of the public cloud.”

“As we look to bring our omnichannel experience closer together and transform the technology platform that powers the Gap Inc. brands, the collaboration between Oracle and Microsoft will make it easier for us to scale and deliver capabilities across channels,” said Sally Gilligan, chief information officer at Gap. “The interoperability between Azure and Oracle Cloud allows us to deploy Oracle or custom-built applications on Azure and Oracle databases on Oracle Cloud.”

“At Halliburton, we have a long history of running both Oracle and Microsoft technologies for our most critical applications. Our deep experience with these two strategic vendors has yielded consistently stable and performant application deployments,” said Ken Braud, senior vice president and CIO at Halliburton. “This alliance gives us the flexibility and ongoing support to continue leveraging our standard architectures, while allowing us to focus on generating business outcomes that maximize returns for our shareholders.”

www.microsoft.com

www.oracle.com

[South Africa] MTN selects Oracle Cloud Applications to drive digital transformation

MTN has chosen Oracle Cloud Applications to drive one of the largest digital transformations in the global telecom industry across all its core business operations.

South Africa based mobile telecommunications major; MTN has chosen Oracle Cloud Applications to drive one of the largest digital transformations in the global telecom industry across all its core business operations. The implementation will help MTN drive efficiency, scale operations and integration across its local and regional operations.

“MTN and Oracle partnered in 2018 to complete the design of the Oracle Cloud Applications. 2019 focuses on finalising the build and deploying across our markets,”  said Belinda O’ Neil, Executive Boost, MTN.

The Oracle suite of cloud applications will also help MTN improve working capital through efficiencies in inventory management and reduce obsolescence. The implementation will drive further productivity through automation, self-service, IoT and mobile application capabilities; besides also enhancing management visibility across all business operations for real time performance measurement.

“With clear signs of economic recovery across key African markets, MTN’s decision to undertake large scale digital transformation will be instrumental in achieving strategic business objectives,” said Arun Khehar, Senior Vice President – Business Applications, ECEMEA, Oracle. “We are confident that the deployment of the Oracle Cloud enabled digital core will help MTN deliver value for all stakeholders and create differentiation needed to achieve market leadership.”

Under this initiative, MTN will implement Oracle Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP); Supply Chain Management (SCM); Enterprise Performance Management (EPM); Customer Experience (CX); Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Oracle Service Cloud solutions. 

www.mtn.com

www.oracle.com