Oracle's Hurd, AT&T's Donovan on their massive cloud migration deal

In this Q&A, the CEOs of AT&T Communications and Oracle talk about working together to move thousands of databases to the cloud

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 Hurd: When you blend the AT&T and Oracle teams it’s one team, no one’s got a badge that says Oracle or AT&T. It’s one team with a common mission to migrate and modernize all of this infrastructure. For us, every time we do one we’re gonna get better at the second, then better at the third, better at the fourth and we’re gonna do nothing but get better and better. We’re gonna have incredible expertise built as we do this. I think the fact of John’s point about the lunatic fringe and trying new things that scale speaks to the heart of this. We have a customer on the lunatic fringe of scale that’s simultaneously trying new things at that scale. I don’t know what percent of data in this country is in big corporations -- a very very high percentage (is) in the Oracle database. The competencies built out of just this project alone, at scale, isn’t just gonna benefit AT&T, isn’t gonna just benefit Oracle, it’s gonna benefit all of those customers in the market and so when you look down the road three, four, five, six seven years, there’s gonna be a slew of engineers that have come out of this project working across all of corporate America.

IDG: John, what differences will your end customers see from this?

 Donovan: Take workforce management for our dispatch function. We have 70,000 truck we dispatch every day – one of the largest fleets in America – and administratively it takes thousands of people to get those delivered effectively to customers. So on the efficiency side of it, if we’re rapid and nimble, we can change dispatch strategies tonight and have it implemented tomorrow. We can start to think about not only what did we learn yesterday and how can we get smarter, we can bring in third-party data that allows you to do things like look at weather and neighborhood construction instead of using an average time to complete a job. And so now all of a sudden your precision gets better and better and our truck rolls become more efficient and the company saves money but the other side of that formula is what’s it mean for customers. Our hope is that we’re gonna move from four- hour appointment windows to one-hour appointment windows and that’s a huge impact because the most common call center call related to this is, “Where’s my technician?” When you have an 800 number, that’s a call center, and they do lookups so you start to absorb a lot of cost. So it’s one of those rare virtuous cycles: it’s better for the technicians, it’s better for the customer. It isn’t just that the database moves. It’s that we’re using the database and the application, adding to it machine learning and artificial intelligence so what we learned yesterday we can apply today and have that effected in a very large scale organization.

 IDG: Is the ability to get smarter from data is that the fundamental driver for this or is it just the overall efficiency for the organization?

Donovan: There are three things. One is the liberation of the data, just getting it to be usable by more people. The second is that speed issue; we believe that we should be able to innovate faster but in order to manifest that you really have to materially speed up. And the third thing is that we want to use data as a product, we want to move from -- the way we think of it -- data-generating to data-powered. It’s subtle but I think its an important difference.

Copyright © 2017 IDG Communications, Inc.

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