LEAP of faith: IFFCO moves lock, stock and barrel to Oracle Cloud

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Cloud has become a springboard for faster, sustainable and cost-effective innovation in the new year. Industry analysts echo this sentiment, given how Covid-19 compelled businesses to accelerate cloud adoption. “The pandemic has forced organisations to leapfrog to a digital business model almost overnight. In addition to cost and other complexities, the need to actualise this model has led organisations to pursue cloud that offers the much-needed agility and supports enterprise-grade workloads”, says Sanchit Vir Gogia, chief analyst, founder & CEO, Greyhound Research.

Buoyed by consistent demand growth, cloud infrastructure providers are increasing capacity to address customer requirements. For example, Oracle recently announced further expansion of its cloud presence in India, via a partnership with Airtel Nxtra. “Hundreds of organisations in India are turning to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) to accelerate innovation, improve business efficiencies and lower costs”, says Kapil Makhija, head – Technology Cloud, Oracle India.

Fertiliser major IFFCO, which serves over 36,000 cooperatives and 55 million farmers across India, is one such organisation which has put technology modernisation plans into top gear. It has turned to modern technologies to come up with game-changing agri-innovations like nano urea. Nano urea is expected to substantially reduce farmers’ expenditure, besides prevent soil erosion and also save fuel via reduced usage of coal and natural gas in manufacturing, as well as more efficient logistics, as it can be packed and shipped in small bottles instead of large bags. As per IFFCO, one small bottle of nano urea can replace a large 45 kg bag of conventional urea.

Cloud thrustIFFCO is speeding up innovation with cloud. After shutting on-premise data centres of five manufacturing plants, it is migrating its on-premise corporate data centre to OCI. “We wanted to shorten our innovation cycles, but were inhibited by a fairly rigid on-premise IT setup. Our agility too was hampered. Also, my in-house IT team needed to spend a lot of time and effort (plus cost overheads) to maintain a legacy IT setup. Therefore, we decided on a 100% move to the cloud,” says AK Gupta, senior executive director – IT Services, IFFCO. “We have about 95 applications (across our five manufacturing plants) running on OCI. From day one, we are running our nano factory production applications on OCI.”

By moving to OCI, IFFCO says it has acquired the ability to quickly and easily migrate critical enterprise applications. The organisation has also gained access to OCI’s autonomous services, making it far easier to improve and maintain higher levels of security, performance and scalability. More importantly, IFFCO has improved the pace at which it drives innovation, according to Gupta. “Application performance has improved by a factor of 30%, enabling our teams to do more in less time. For instance, my team is able to generate time-bound reports significantly faster than before. We anticipate 30% cost savings over the next three years.”

Innovation roadmapIFFCO aims to shape the future of the Indian agriculture industry with a technology-first approach. It plans to use drones along with affordable and energy efficient technology. It is also looking to expand two other digital initiatives: IFFCO BAZAR— an e-commerce and communication portal, and IFFCOYuva—a skill development and employment venture.

Rise of ‘Cloud Smart CIOs’ in 2022“CIOs are prioritising speed—because faster, intelligent innovation has emerged as the critical growth factor in the new year. Progressive CIOs understand that only cloud can help them leapfrog innovation cycles,” asserts Makhija. Agrees Gupta, citing constant pressure on IT teams to innovate faster and help introduce new products/services quicker to consumers. “Cloud-Smart CIOs will certainly be better placed to help their organisations stay agile and constantly be in sync with market dynamics and customer preferences,” signs off Gupta.