Following his appointment to a new role in France, Alain Nohra, who is now the director of sales for telco, utilities, media & region and white spaces at Oracle France spoke to Telecom Review about his new role and the shift from the Middle East region of which he was responsible for the past 15 years.
During the interview, Alain Nohra explained why he decided to make this transition and how he will leverage his large experience to promote the telco, utilities, media & region and white spaces sector at Oracle France.
In addition, he highlighted that his and Oracle’s efforts fall within a prime vision that focuses on the client as the center of everything.
First of all, who is Alain Nohra?
I’m an experienced professional in the B2B industry known for my skills at the international level and my ability to establish new organizations/departments or transform the existing ones in order to optimize their growth. This is something I’m passionate about.
What does your new role at Oracle France entail?
I’m currently in charge of the technologies division for the sector of telecoms, utilities, media and regions, and white space at Oracle France. This division encompasses a great number of our cloud innovations, such as our 2nd generation OCI infrastructure, our ERP Cloud and many other offerings in blockchain, chatbots, artificial intelligence, IoT, etc. Those innovations allow our clients to achieve their digital transformation and take immediate action through real time data usage.
My mission is to supervise our consultants and commercial teams tasked with accompanying our clients in their different digital transformation projects. The teams also make sure that the solutions we offer to our clients are perfectly adapted to their needs and resources and can address their challenges.
We will focus on helping our clients change their service models through these technologies to realize a great impact and not merely adopt the technologies. I will leverage my experience in the world of business which I’ve gained before entering the IT industry, to steer our teams towards that direction.
What are the major roles that you assumed at Oracle ME? What drove you to make this shift to Oracle France?
I have assumed several strategic positions at Oracle Middle East. In fact, I put forth our offering dedicated to industries such as finance, oil and gas and even telecoms, at a time when Oracle focused on the market in a rather cross-sectional way. I also launched several task forces in charge of directly handling our clients’ challenging situations whether organizational, functional, relational, etc.
I was charged with growing our market share for both the SMEs and mid-tier firms and the large enterprises in the Levant region. Then, I was promoted to director general of Oracle in Lebanon – a market that I was able to grow in a dynamic and exponential way. Many clients in all sectors trust Oracle today and have chosen us as their main information system vendor.
As for my appointment at Oracle France, it was really a return to the roots. In fact, I was born in France and undertook most of my studies there. Then I went to the United States to continue my academic studies, before starting my professional career there which then led to joining Oracle in the Middle East.
You are positioned today in a whole new environment and a new market. How do you see yourself contributing to this company with your 15 years of experience?
The telecoms market in France is very mature but also constantly transforming whether at the level of the digital transformation of enterprises or the technological evolution of the market with the advent of 5G for example.
This maturity requires French operators to step back and redefine the status quo. Given my experience in markets that are less mature but were able to define their business model, I aim to create a true partnership between Oracle and our clients ; one that has an impact on the business model.
In your opinion, what are the most important challenges that the telecoms sector has to face, notably in France, and how can Oracle address such challenges?
One of the greatest challenges today in the telecoms sector is to be redefined and find a new identity. Hence, operators have to decide with which industry they should be associated. With 5G, the biggest part of the revenues will be generated by services provided to sectorial industries, which requires perfect knowledge of them. In short, an operator has to decide today whether it wishes to turn towards bank activities, goods manufacturers, retailers, etc.
We believe that Oracle is best suited to operate this crucial transformation which I even think will radically reform the industry because we’re very involved in all the industrial sectors – whether in the information system’s management problematic of all organizations (via infrastructures of software of professional management: finance, HR, purchases …), or via sectorial solutions specific to one market.
What are the services that Oracle offers in France? Why does the company focus on white space accounts in this particular market?
Oracle is a cloud provider that has the largest and most complete offering in the market. In fact, we offer enterprises SaaS (Software as a Service), IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service), PaaS (Platform as a Service) and even DBaaS (Database as a Service), which is a major innovation we launched last year. Oracle Autonomous is an autonomous database which auto-operates, is auto secured and autonomously repairs itself thanks to artificial intelligence and machine learning.
Our main goal is to allow our clients to solely focus on innovation through the exploitation of their data, by liberating them from administrative and managerial information system tasks. The same applies to our ERP Cloud that considerably reinforces organizations’ productivity. In addition, artificial intelligence is directly embedded in our applications to automate certain tasks. We also offer digital assistants, blockchain as a service, etc. Our technological portfolio is plethoric!
Moreover, similarly to what we offer with Autonomous that ensures the availability of data 99,995%, we also give great attention to security that is at the heart of our offering. The same applies to our 2nd generation cloud infrastructure, OCI (Oracle Cloud Infrastructure), which was announced several months ago and that allows the isolation of our clients’ cloud environments in data centers. In summary, we offer reliable and secure information systems that can accelerate decision making.
As for the white space accounts, we can usher the digital transformation of this market segment through the different innovative offerings I’ve mentioned earlier – they’re enterprises with multiple IT environments that can profit further from Oracle’s innovations with which they are not necessarily familiar. We are first and foremost known since more than 40 years for our databases, however, today, we are a cloud provider that can offer as well Blockchain as a service offers in addition to artificial intelligence and machine learning that are embedded in our applications and even in our technological portfolio.
You’re well known for your creativity and innovative spirit. How are you going to use those assets during your new professional journey?
Innovation is an integral part of everyone at Oracle. It’s in our DNA. For me, creativity results from the capacity to link several aspects which are different by nature to create a new value. Anyway, do we have a choice of being other than creative, especially at the era of digital transformation which is leading to constant change and permanent reassessment? We should always reinvent ourselves and be proactive and this is exactly what we offer to our clients through our solutions. Examples range from real time data analysis to help in decision making through data which is considered “the black gold” of every enterprise. In addition to technological solutions, we should shed light on those who create and implement them. I’m aiming to leverage my multicultural experience and multidimensional personality to create sustainable value between Oracle and its clients.
How can France benefit from your experience in the Middle East? Are there any common elements between the two markets?
In the Middle East, the trend is for generalist professionals, while in France or the United States, we focus on specialists. During my career, I was able to experience these two different approaches. In a French market where specialization is the trend, my experience allows me to benefit from the best of both worlds and adapt to my counterparts: at times generalist when needed, while specialist at others. What matters is to have the right tone and discourse.
When it comes to telecoms markets, they have different levels of maturity but are similar in terms of the need to transform. Operators in the Middle East are rather new (mostly established decades ago) and were able to create their own business models in parallel with digital transformation and 5G. In France, mature and existing business models face a redefining phase that has to take into account new challenges. The change we have seen with operators in the Middle East is now becoming very pertinent for operators in the French market.
What philosophy will you adopt at Oracle France?