Oracle and Axiz recently held a joint partner summit which brought together executives, partners and customers to discuss local trends and strategies in cloud computing.

Oracle Public Sector Cloud Executive Ibrahim Mthombeni said that Oracle had made considerable investments in its local data centre over the past two years, and moving its on-premises workloads to the cloud was a key to reaping from these investments.

Mthombeni noted however, that skills scarcity and the war on talent continue and that skills shortages on the customer side are major challenge in South Africa. “If the customer does not have the skills to transform or move from on-premises to cloud, then that creates a huge gap,” he said.

“Digital transformation is here, and it is moving forward; we need to look at how best to help our customers transform. He added that working together with distributors and partners was paramount to achieving this. “The two-tier model we employ provides us with a very viable solution to close this gap,” he said.

Axiz Chief Digital and Marketing Officer, Andrew Moodley explained that their primary aim as a distributor was to bring together a competent channel with access to market for their partners, as well as to provide vendors with leading edge technology that will allow them to successfully build services for their end customers.

Moodley said Axiz deals with both large partners – who are relatively independent and only need access to vendors and solutions – and smaller ones who rely on them to provide the steppingstone they require to become Oracle partners. “Diversity presents exciting opportunities and allows the smaller vendors and partners access to technology and expertise they may not ordinarily have access to,“ he said.

The event also highlighted the importance of maintaining a people-centred approach to technology. “Problems are solved by people and solutions are developed by people; what technology does is augment human problem-solving ability. Along with tools, we must have people who are able to use those tools,” said Moodley.

Mthombeni said that customer-centricity was vital and should be the primary objective of any partnership.  “We need to be sure that we put together ideas that not only solve problems for the customer, but that we are engineering solutions that will help the ordinary man on the street on the street. We also have to ask how we can solve problems faced by people who have no access to technology,“ he said.

Highlighting the benefits of continually developing cloud skills and knowledge, he added that it was important to equip small and medium businesses and make them part of the solution.  “We have free learning courses on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure to increase understanding of the cloud and these are freely available for both customers and partners”, said Mthombeni.

Moodley concluded that part of Axiz’s job as the channel was to further complement this by building the capacity of the customers, which it currently does through various training and certification programmes.