Whether you are a company, an administration or a union, how do you get on the wave of digitization? For what purposes? And how to choose your provider, among the countless companies present in this market? Should we favor a foreign giant, a Swiss service provider, or work with both? And the location of that data? It was in an attempt to answer these dizzying questions that Le Temps hosted a webinar on May 10th with the support of Oracle. Nathalie Lorien, Business Development Manager for Finance and Operations at Oracle, Marc Boudriot, director of Swiss cloud service provider SyselCloud and Daniel Bühler, head of Unia’s central services department – this union has just signed a cloud contract with Oracle. For an hour, these three guests answered questions from netizens and “Time”. The entire video is available above, and here’s a written summary.
Daniel Bühler, why did you choose Oracle’s cloud services?
Daniel Buhler: We had been working partially in the cloud since 2007, with a private cloud, but it was time to change several of our applications. Microsoft told us that we were nearing the end of the cycle, that we no longer had the ability to make certain updates, so we started to wonder what we were going to do. It was time to fully migrate to the cloud, with the requirement to adequately protect our data, both that of Unia members and our employees. Respecting Swiss law, of course. We opted for Oracle’s cloud services, but we continue to work with other providers, such as Microsoft, because our needs are so broad.
Marc Boudriot, how important is it for your customers to have their data in Switzerland?
Marc Boudriot: The new version of the Data Protection Act, which is due to come into force in September 2023, does not require everyone to store data in Switzerland. And having them in Switzerland does not guarantee that they are protected. The important thing is to know who manages the data, our main target is customers who want to have their data in Switzerland, managed by a Swiss company. With the new law, some companies will have to opt for a private cloud or opt for a Swiss provider.
Oracle recently had a data center in Switzerland, what does that change for your customers?
Nathalie Lorien: We now have data centers in twenty countries and when certain companies are subject to specific rules, we offer tailor-made solutions. This could be in our data centers, but also by installing a private cloud at our customers’ premises. This is, for example, the case of the University Hospitals of Geneva recently.
Would Unia have preferred to work with a Swiss service provider?
Daniel Buhler: This is what we normally prefer, but given our needs it was clear that we would be working with a foreign service provider. Oracle turned out to be the better choice, even though the data is stored elsewhere in Europe. We have studied these issues with our lawyers and outside experts and will comply with the law.
Migrating to the cloud, is it complicated to ask a user?
Nathalie Lorien: We have integrators of all types to make migrations easier. But the idea is never to reproduce what was done in previous systems. We embrace the cloud for all the new features it brings. The cloud is changing the way we work, it’s a revolution for every line of business.
Marc Boudriot: It all depends on what we do. Take current apps and put them in the cloud, the user doesn’t see the difference and it’s easy and fast. The problem is if we change the apps. It’s like working on the road. There is a construction site that involves disturbances. Once we change the way people work, it can be quite complicated. But ultimately, it brings significant benefits.
At Unia, you are at the beginning of this process, do you hope that everything will not be so easy?
Daniel Buhler: Internally, we have users at very different levels. Therefore, it is an important issue to ensure that everyone uses the new tools available. And to migrate data to the cloud is a lot of work, because it has to be structured. But it will be worth it.
Nathalie Lorien: With what is called software as a service (SAAS), we offer another way to manage a project. We propose an application that offers several functionalities, with new implementation possibilities, agility and solutions for all employees.
A question from a netizen: how can you be sure that IT specialists working for Oracle or SyselCloud don’t have access to the data?
Marc Boudriot: If we deliver a service infrastructure, we deliver the equivalent of servers and customers have access rights and can encrypt the information. And so we don’t have access to the information. But if we have rights that allow us to have access to the data, we obviously do so in accordance with our customers.
Nathalie Lorien: Trust is paramount, we offer various levels of security and our customers are completely satisfied.
More specifically, what new services can the cloud offer?
Nathalie Lorien: A large English distributor chose our solution and developed a mobile part for human resources. Your employees access the mobile app to take time off talking on the phone. This distributor has created an app to manage overtime automatically: everything is done instantly with just a few clicks. It’s easy to create conversation assistants (chatbots). For example in finance: you want to know the account balance, you can ask the chatbot, there is no more need to browse through the tools to access this information. Ditto for reports, entity managers can consult their results by simple voice command. We completely changed the way of working and the user experience. These algorithms will handle large volumes and speed up processes.
Daniel Buhler: To answer some frequently asked questions about unemployment benefits, we are in the process of creating a chatbot. It will be important to train our members and collaborators in these tools that make life easier. At the same time, allowing information to be obtained over the phone or by visiting our offices.
Marc Boudriot: For infrastructure-related issues, the cloud has major advantages: it allows for near-instant recovery operations. We can restore an image of your machine from two days, five days, two months ago very quickly. This is critical to the security of our customers’ data. One of the main problems faced by companies is ransomware attack and file sharing. Restoring this data is therefore an essential point and the cloud allows this.
So is security a big advantage of the cloud?
Nathalie Lorien: It is an accelerator to go to the cloud, whereas before, some feared for their data migrating to the cloud. It is a certainty: companies do not have the same level of security in their own infrastructures
Marc Boudriot, so being in the cloud doesn’t stop you from being attacked by ransomware?
Marc Boudriot: In fact, despite all the security measures you’ve put in place. But the cloud allows you to quickly restore your data. And that’s key.
Daniel Buhler: This doesn’t avoid having to permanently train your employees, call them in for surveillance, protect their computers and their phones. And all these measures also come at a cost.
Another question from a netizen, after choosing a cloud service provider, is it easy to leave?
Nathalie Lorien: Absolutely, there are reversibility clauses, it’s okay to transfer your data to another provider.
Is the cloud the near end of installing software on employee computers?
Marc Boudriot: I believe it is inevitable. This allows for significant economies of scale for customers as it is the cloud providers that invest centrally, which benefits everyone. To set up our cloud infrastructure, we have invested over 10 million francs and we are investing another 1.5 million per year… This gives an idea for an on-premises cloud service provider. Not to mention energy efficiency, because by pooling resources, the cloud requires significantly less energy than if all customers had their own servers at home.
Webinar organized by The weather with the support of Oracle.