Kevin Attard, Oracle: talk about digital transformation, not about cloud

“CFOs are expanding across the whole business,” according to Kevin Attard, Country Leader South Africa for multinational computer technology corporation Oracle. After an impressive career in his home country Malta, Austria and the United Kingdom, Attard has recently arrived in South Africa and the energy he has brought to the Oracle office in Woodmead is palpable. Our CEO Melle Eijckelhoff and I spoke to Attard last week.

Right at the start of the conversation Attard reflected on the important role the CFO South Africa plays in bringing Finance leaders together. Often CFOs are exactly the people Oracle wants to talk to, he revealed. "The CFO is the glue in the business - and the next in command after the CEO. Interaction should not be limited to talking about Finance tools, because things like attrition rate, churn, all end up in the CFO's office as well."

Oracle's book year ended in June and Attard happily admitted that the company has had "a fantastic year" and is aiming to become the number one cloud player globally this year. With 130,000 people on the payroll worldwide, the South African team of 350 is small but not insignificant.

"Innovation, speed and acceleration should be key words in the vocabulary of CFOs."

"In South Africa there is still resistance against cloud," Attard has observed. "People say that 'it is different here' but it is not. South Africa should be avant garde. The country deserves much better and cannot stay at 1.5 percent growth for long."

The electricity issues in South Africa are actually reason to speed up the transformation towards the cloud, says Attard. "But we should actually not be talking about the cloud, because this is just another way of deploying solutions. We need to talk about digital transformation. Innovation, speed and acceleration should be key words in the vocabulary of CFOs and other executives."

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