Driving cloud based innovation
From setting up an India Development Centre here in 1994 to building its second largest campus outside its California headquarters, Bengaluru is evidently global cloud major Oracle’s favoured destination.
Oracle India’s new IT SEZ (IT Special Economic Zone) in a 13-acre campus is expected to be completed by the end of 2019 and will consolidate and expand its operations here, with a capacity of hosting 10,000 professionals. While it is riding on Bengaluru’s ripe pool of talent, across technologies and industry domain, Oracle also has its eye on the local startup ecosystem that has evolved rapidly.
Globally, Oracle is re-imagining enterprise and startup relationships through partnerships that foster collaboration and co-development while inspiring global innovation in today’s vibrant, diverse and competitive startup ecosystem.
The Oracle Global Startup Ecosystem works with startups in Bengaluru and two other Indian cities at various stages of growth, from founders in university-affiliated incubators to early stage to scaleups and beyond. “Oracle’s mission is to build a thriving global startup community to drive the digital economy based on collaborative partnerships that enable next-generation growth, business development, and drive cloud-based innovation for startups throughout all stages of their journey”, says Sunil Padmanabh, Senior Director, Oracle Scaleup Ecosystem-JAPAC, to Sandhya Mendonca.
Oracle Global Startup Ecosystem is a next-generation acceleration initiative, and focuses on reimagining enterprise innovation through mutually beneficial partnerships with startups that foster co-development and co-innovation. These programmes, both residential and non-residential has Oracle working with startups during their growth and development. Programme elements include:
- Structured mentoring
- State-of-the-art technology
- Co-working space
- Access to Oracle customers and partners
- Access to investors
- Free credits on Oracle Cloud
Having already hosted 4 Groups in Bengaluru, and 2 groups each in Delhi & Mumbai, in August 2018, Oracle announced that it has selected 18 new startups for its Startup Cloud Accelerator programme in India. The startups are in the fields of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), chatbots, big data and predictive analytics and automation. All perfectly in sync with the huge market opportunity it spots for cloud adoption in India.
Talking about the innovation ecosystem in the city, Padmanabh says that the key drivers for the innovation surge spans across industry sectors. The emergence of the digital economy, the urgency for organisations to adopt technology trends for differentiation/competitive positioning, driving down costs and providing better customer experience are some of the factors. For many NRIs who wanted to come back to India and turn entrepreneurs, the pleasant weather and cosmopolitan culture made Bengaluru an obvious choice.
He also credits several initiatives taken by the Karnataka state government to aggressively support the incubation of startups through infrastructure support and allocating funds.
Things can always be better, and key areas that startups need help with are:
- Quality of Mentorship available to startups in the form of domain expertise
- Deeper focus on technology innovation
- Better clarity on regulatory issues/labour laws
- Corporates need to build a startup culture within the organization and embrace startups as partners by simplifying the rules of engagement with startups.
Bidding Indian entrepreneurs to change their approach Padmanabh points out there are several examples of Indian entrepreneurs who believe that imitation is innovation. They tend to copy successful business models / solutions from advanced economies and tailor them to suit the local market in order to get quick money. “This is not a sustainable model and many startups have failed by being mere copycats”.
He adds that quite a few Indian startups don’t see the larger picture and focus on solving the present day’s problem and are hence unable to scale effectively. Hence many of them don’t appeal to enterprise customers since the startups don’t factor their customer’s ecosystem while they selling their solutions. Indian startups are also sluggish in adopting latest technologies in their solutions. They have to be savvier in experimenting with newer technology trends, he advises.