Oracle modernization has risks, but delaying has more

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By Harvey Maddocks, Global Lead for DXC’s Oracle offerings

I work with a lot of customers looking to modernize their Oracle infrastructure, and it’s not surprising that many feel they’re facing a dilemma. They must choose between two daunting options: upgrade their environment or maintain their current platform.

Both options present significant challenges. Most customers are aware of the perils of cloud migration, such as a failed implementation, or the commercial risk of spiraling Oracle costs. And, while ‘lifting and shifting’ applications to the cloud is fine in principle, the complexities involved often spell trouble for ill-prepared companies.

I always tell those tempted to delay their Oracle modernization not to underestimate how deferring their transformation can place them at a significant competitive disadvantage. These delays mean a continued allocation of resources to legacy solutions with limited abilities to innovate and address new business opportunities.

Here’s how maintaining your legacy Oracle infrastructure can impact your competitive advantage:

  • You’re paying too much. Rising legacy maintenance and licensing costs often strain the budget, siphoning money that could be diverted to digital transformation or other strategic initiatives. Too often there is an opportunity cost of NOT leveraging these savings and investing in innovation sooner. Your company may never recover lost market share to competitors that are quicker to make that innovation investment.
  • Capital is required to maintain an aging platform. You may be using capital for new hardware or software to keep your legacy platform operational. This approach to technology infrastructure rarely pays off. Would you keep investing in a slow, outdated internet platform while internet speeds double every two years?
  • You’re tying up your team. Older platforms and custom applications often require extensive in-house support. With a modern platform, these human resources can be redirected to other projects.
  • You cannot scale to address disruptions or new business opportunities. Organizations in fast-moving industries need the ability to quickly develop, roll out, and scale new applications and systems. These fast transitions can be difficult, even impossible, with legacy infrastructure.
  • You may be impacting your mergers and acquisitions strategy. Legacy infrastructure and systems are difficult to integrate with those of other companies and business partners. In some cases, maintaining outdated platforms can negatively impact a company’s share price.
  • Security issues. Outdated software and expired support create security gaps for hackers and cybercriminals to exploit. Improved security is often considered a ‘soft benefit’ when building the business case for modernization, but a publicized outage or breach can harm a company’s reputation.
  • Limited analytics capabilities hinder decision-making. Legacy systems have limited abilities to collect and analyze data — necessary to enable timely, informed decision-making.
  • No platform for innovation. Legacy Oracle infrastructure can’t support new technologies such as IoT and AI. Modern Oracle platforms, however, can leverage game-changing solutions such as Oracle Autonomous Database — a self-driving, self-securing, and self-repairing solution which helps to eliminate manual database management and human errors.

Assessing the current environment

Creating a business case with a positive ROI is critical to gain support for Oracle modernization. That business case ‘makes it real’ for stakeholders and sponsors, and helps enlist support for what can be a lengthy and challenging digital transformation.

Many organizations struggle with gathering the information required to complete the modernization business case. In reality, though, there are only a few data points to consider:

  • What are you paying Oracle today?
  • What contracts are in place, and what are the commercial terms?
  • What applications are running on Oracle?
  • How mission-critical are those applications?
  • How old is the infrastructure? How large is it?
  • When was the environment last patched?

Capturing this information is the first and most crucial step in determining whether the current environment can be run for less money, freeing up resources for modernization.

Navigating Oracle

Many organizations have a long history with Oracle — in some cases going back decades. While Oracle has taken great strides towards improving the quality and quadrant-leading portfolio of its products, their licensing, and their commercial terms, many customers have neither the resources nor the desire to engage with Oracle directly.

Instead, those customers can look to an Oracle Managed Service Provider (MSP) like DXC to act as their advocate with Oracle and simplify the entire modernization process.

Working with an accredited MSP ensures customers they are partnering with an Oracle provider that has the necessary training, certifications, and expertise to deliver a positive Oracle modernization experience.

The key takeaway

Maintaining the current Oracle infrastructure or migrating to a modern platform both have benefits and risks. With modernization, however, the benefits outweigh the risks more often than not.

To be sure, organizations must gather the necessary information about the legacy environment, then build and validate the business case.  I always reinforce with customers that this first step is perhaps the most important in the entire modernization journey. Once completed, the business case becomes a valuable tool to communicate with sponsors and stakeholders and solicit the sponsorship necessary for a successful modernization.

What next?
Learn more about deploying an agile, modern infrastructure for no new money.


harvey-maddocks-headshotHarvey Maddocks is the global lead for DXC’s Oracle offerings, focused on developing revenue-producing relationships with decision makers and the C-suite. Recognizing the impact of cloud in the Oracle community, Harvey promotes multiple Oracle offerings to simplify blending future cloud applications with the integration and running of existing systems.

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