Oracle is aggressively promoting and marketing Soar as the fastest, most secure, and simplest way to migrate on-premises Oracle systems such as E-Business Suite (EBS), Hyperion, and PeopleSoft to the cloud. Soar brings together a set of automated tools that take the grunt-work out of cloud migrations and offers a cost-effective, faster, and a highly efficient way to make the transition to the cloud. Paired with Oracle's True Cloud implementation methodology, access to Oracle's resources, and Oracle University's training program, Soar aims to be a comprehensive set of offerings aimed at easing the enterprise's journey to the cloud.
Oracle's Soar solution was conceptualized in late 2017 as part of the company's focus on finding the fastest and most efficient way to migrate its installed customer base to the Oracle cloud. Soar was officially launched in June 2018, less than a year from its inception. Oracle takes a contrary view of cloud migration to that of other application vendors that prescribe a very tailored approach to migration. With this message, Oracle is taking a dig at the competition that advocates either moving on-premises ERP to SaaS or retaining customizations and migrating them lock, stock, and barrel to the cloud without the benefit of automation tools. Soar provides a pre-built set of implementation and migration accelerators that minimize customer involvement, reduce overall work effort, speed the transition, and require minor modification to accommodate the upgrades, customizations, and integrations across the on-premises instances. The most compelling part of Soar's proposition is the aggressive timelines that Oracle is ready to commit to when customers opt for the fixed scope automated program – 20 weeks for EBS and 12 weeks for Hyperion customers to migrate their applications to the cloud. Oracle claims that in this timeframe it can migrate applications (and their integrations, customizations, and data) to the cloud, train users on the systems, and have everything up and running seamlessly. Oracle offers a tailored program for clients that need something outside the fixed scope, automated program, and the timelines and costs are adjusted according to client requirements.
This is a major effort by Oracle to encourage its installed base to move to the Oracle cloud. Its current focus is on customers that have been on Oracle platforms (specifically EBS, PeopleSoft, and Hyperion) for 10 years or more and that have not upgraded their applications for a while. By offering a fixed price, fixed timeline to become cloud enabled, and claiming to bring about a 30% reduction in migration costs and time, Oracle is offering a significant incentive to get its customers into its cloud. Oracle consulting is marketed as a "flight plan" that takes the customer to the cloud, using a dedicated launch team that guides clients through the migration process by taking a week-by-week, task-by-task, role-by-role look at what needs to be done to successfully migrate workloads and data. The 12-or 20-week flight plan also includes a role-based training program for all personnel involved in running and using the platform, and Oracle also bundles in a year's worth of support to ensure that the upgrade is successful and runs smoothly.
Oracle is looking to add momentum to its cloud revenues and to make up for the eventual decline in license revenues that will occur as cloud-based models grow. At the same time, it is also providing customers with an alternative to systems integrators (SIs), managed services providers, and other partners that enterprises rely on to provide the skills, support, and services around cloud migrations. However, Oracle still has to substantiate its assertions that Soar is the speediest, least risky, and most cost-effective way for its customers to move to the cloud or update their hybrid IT environment. Oracle's 12- and 20-week commitments to migrate Hyperion and EBS customers to the cloud will put pressure on SIs and partners to ensure that their own migration programs deliver similar time and cost benefits, especially to larger customers that may want to use their migration to cloud to consolidate their enterprise applications and abstract them away from the underlying infrastructure layer, be it public cloud, private cloud, or on-premises data centers – that is, not tied to Oracle. Oracle must also ensure that it brings its partners on board for those customers that rely on trusted partners to manage their IT needs. Oracle still needs to provide evidence that its professional services teams have the scale to handle higher than anticipated demand and articulate its plans to use partners to deliver Soar. Customer feedback will be critical to the success of this program, and it will be interesting to see how Oracle modifies its partner program to share some of its best practices for others to follow.
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Hansa Iyengar, Senior Analyst, Advanced Digital Services