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TaylorMade Golf takes a shot with Oracle cloud database

TaylorMade Golf's move to Oracle's cloud data warehouse has produced major performance improvements, but other important Oracle workloads will remain on premises for now.

Golf equipment manufacturer TaylorMade is shooting under par with its migration to Oracle's cloud database.

TaylorMade Golf Company's IT team had some decisions to make in 2017, when parent company Adidas sold it to a private equity firm. For one thing, the company had piggybacked on Oracle technology licenses held by Adidas.

Last year, TaylorMade negotiated a deal with Oracle for both on-premises database licenses and credits for Oracle's Autonomous Cloud Database, where it moved its data warehouse from on-premises Oracle systems, said Tom Collard, VP of IT at TaylorMade, which is based in Carlsbad, Calif. That workload migration to the Oracle cloud database took just a few days, and from there a proof of concept (POC) went quickly. "Based on that, we said, 'This feels like a no-brainer,'" he said.

Some reports run 40 times faster on the managed cloud service; exactly how this was achieved is unclear, Collard said. The increase is likely because the Oracle cloud database runs on up-to-date Exadata, compared to TaylorMade's on-premises servers, which were about five years old.

Beyond speed improvements, the Oracle cloud database automatically tunes itself, applies updates and patches and recovers from failures, which it says frees up database administrators for other duties. TaylorMade's database lead confirmed this during the POC, and the system has performed capably in production, Collard said.

TaylorMade's decision to move its data warehouse to Oracle's cloud also freed up space on the company's on-premises hardware for other Oracle-dependent apps, including its E-Business Suite (EBS) ERP system. Collard and his team already felt uneasy that the infrastructure in place would not handle those workloads, and they anticipated growth after TaylorMade's divestiture from Adidas would tax those core applications even more, he said.

An assessment showed that the data warehouse took up 40% of TaylorMade's on-premises capacity, Collard said. Hence, the move onto Oracle's cloud database both freed up plenty of space on premises, and averted the need for a large capital expenditure for more gear.

The business we're in, we can't be bleeding edge. ... We have an investment in resources that are Oracle-literate.
Tom CollardVP of IT, TaylorMade

TaylorMade's data warehouse mainly pulls data from ERP processes to generate reports several times per day for the company's sales and marketing teams, who analyze sales, inventory, operational data and distribution of TaylorMade's products, Collard said. TaylorMade is a multichannel business that sells both direct to consumers via its e-commerce site and to wholesalers, which presents extra challenges with reporting and business intelligence, Collard said. "We have to take that data and normalize it," he said. In addition, the near-real-time insights TaylorMade gets from its e-commerce channel helps it make better decisions with its wholesale strategy, he added.

TaylorMade also uses Oracle's cloud for disaster recovery. Previously, it tapped AWS for this purpose, and still has some business with AWS for older projects and apps, Collard said. The company also works with Microsoft Office 365 and Dynamics CRM.

While rivals such as AWS offer database migration services away from Oracle's platform and onto their own, that was never a consideration for TaylorMade. "The business we're in, we can't be bleeding edge like that," he said. "We have an investment in resources that are Oracle-literate."

Nor does TaylorMade have current plans to move its Oracle ERP to the cloud. Oracle has had more commercial success with SaaS than with IaaS or PaaS, and last year rolled out a program called Soar to help enterprises rapidly implement enterprise apps on its cloud.

Complexities in TaylorMade's ERP environment, mainly in the order-to-cash process, stand in the way of an imminent move to the cloud. However, it has adopted some peripheral Oracle cloud apps to help it close quarters and consolidate financials, Collard said.

"SaaS one day could replace our EBS environment, but we've got a little time to manage that," he said.

Cloud database migration is key to Oracle's future

Oracle wants more customers like TaylorMade to migrate database workloads to its cloud. While Oracle remains the market share leader in databases by a healthy margin, it is mindful of competitive risks from cloud-based alternatives --particularly those offered by the likes of AWS -- as customers weigh whether to commit to Oracle long term or seek greener pastures.

Oracle has had the most cloud success to date in SaaS applications, while it lags far behind AWS, Azure and Google in IaaS market share. But Oracle's long-term prospects still revolve around a successful transition of its on-premises database customers to the cloud. That's because no matter the mode of deployment, databases are sticky by nature since they underpin so many crucial enterprise applications.

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