Despite economic slowing during the coronavirus pandemic, India is expected to rebound in 2021, growing its economy by 6%, according to the newly published June 2020 World Economic Outlook report by the International Monetary Fund.
Helping fuel the forecasted growth is Manappuram, an Indian financial services company that provides online and mobile lending services for small businesses and farmers, many of whom are unbanked and don’t have enough financial resources to secure funding from traditional lenders.
Two years into its digital transformation, the formative work the company had already done gave it a foundation to shift its digital transformation into a much higher gear as India put in place mandatory lockdowns and shelter-in-place public health orders.
While the bank provided several online and mobile lending services, it still relied on face-to-face meetings to determine the risk profiles for many of its customers. This was a challenge with in-person meetings no longer being possible.
“For us to meet the needs of our customers, while managing our business risk during this current situation, our operations and technology have to change,” says Saiprasad Sivadasan, president of technology at Manappuram Comptech and Consulting, a subsidiary of Manappuram Finance.
Adding machine-learning analytics to help tailor services to individual customers and better assess their risk, while also consolidating its 19 subsidiaries onto a single platform, so its staff could operate from a virtual office, required faster automation, tighter security, and more compute power than Manappuram’s in-house data center could provide.
“We knew we had to move to the cloud, and for us, choosing Oracle was a no brainer,” Sivadasan says.
After evaluating multiple vendors, including Amazon Web Services, Azure, and Alibaba, Manappuram chose to run its business applications on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure. “Oracle’s flexible licensing policies, Oracle Exadata server, and the physical cores we get with the application server were features we didn’t get with other providers,” Sivadasan says. “Even the storage we get with Oracle is far higher than what the others are providing,” he adds.
The most convincing evidence of Oracle’s superior capabilities in the cloud infrastructure space, according to Sivadasan, is the company’s dual in-country cloud region strategy.
“Although our main Cloud Region is in Mumbai, Oracle has made it really easy for us to replicate our data, and quickly stand up a disaster recovery site in Hyderabad,” Sivadasan says.
More Than Disaster Recovery
With two Oracle Cloud Regions now live in India, “we’re fully geared to help our 15,000 plus customers across 20 states grow their businesses, with support by nearly 1,000 specialized Oracle partners,” says Shailender Kumar, Regional Managing Director, Oracle India.
Oracle’s dual in-country cloud region strategy also helps companies make up for lost time, as sales or production may have slowed (or stopped) during the pandemic. “We’re helping companies innovate much faster, by getting their compute, storage, networking, database integration and SaaS services up and running within a few weeks,” says Kumar, noting that just sourcing hardware and software in on-premises environments can take months.
The Hyderabad Cloud Region also offers customers with a comprehensive set of privacy and security standards, such as ISO/IEC 27001:2013, ISO/IEC 27018:2014, and SOCs 1, 2, and 3; as well as isolated network virtualization, which in the case of unauthorized access to the cloud network, isolates attackers.
“The protection of privacy and security around Oracle Cloud Infrastructure is front and center of the architecture,” says Garrett Ilg, executive vice president and head of Japan and Asia Pacific at Oracle.
Oracle’s dual in-country cloud region strategy helps companies, like Manappuram to deploy applications in independent cloud regions not only prohibits protected data, such as personal financial profiles from leaving the country or violating any regulatory requirements around data sovereignty, it also helps companies become more agile, enabling them to scale or change processes rapidly as their businesses expand.
“The Pacific Ocean’s a big place, and the latency between data centers in Japan and Singapore, or Australia and India is huge,” Ilg says.
Still, Oracle Cloud Regions provide more than a transport layer. “We’re also a performance layer, and we’re constantly conditioning the data centers, amplifying their capabilities, and integrating new services into them,” Ilg says. “Our dual cloud regional presence is all about helping bring the cloud closer to our customers,” he says.