Shift Has Happened
As I listened to the keynotes, the executives – both Oracle and its customers told the stories of how they now realize that IT and the “business” must collaborate, I am refreshed. Oracle is the database backbone of many companies, no doubt. But for Oracle to stay in the current game, it itself has to transform.
Being current is the natural state of being interested in transformation. Most large companies are not “interested in transformation.” I believe it’s not so much because they are stubborn or uninterested in the result. I believe that the resistance is the practical knowledge of what it takes to make meaningful transformation stick. And it takes real guts, commitment from executives and the ability to see it through to the end. And that’s what I am hearing in these stories.
Organization Change Management or “Shift” Requires Reflection
What I found most interesting in the keynote stories today was the genuine reflection of not only Oracle executives but also of their customers. They spoke of looking at what customers were saying on social networks / online and not just looking at it, but using it to inform them of what customers think about their products and services. And then using that information to make new choices and business decisions. The stories, whether they were B2B or B2C type companies, shared this trend.
They were listening to customers and taking that feedback to make change. And to create real change means that they have to have the courage to be honest with “where things are at” and be able to look into the future to see what “could be” and to work to fill in the gaps. That type of “work” is only for the courageous. I know, coming from a systems integrator background. It takes a lot of people, going in the same direction to make things happen and happen in a reasonable amount of time to be meaningful.
The Witness Factor™ or Observer Affect
It’s true in science (yes, I used to be a scientist), that something that’s called the Observer Affect refers to changes that “the act of observation” will make on something. What I witnessed over the years is, as the number of #fail ‘s from unmet customer needs were interrupting millions and billions of dollars spent on advertising and marketing campaigns, that social / digital / and what customer were saying online was starting to create permanent and long lasting change. Not sure but, perhaps it’s partially because as these digital remarks will last as or longer than cave paintings…
And The Heisenberg Principle ascribes to the uncertainty in the measurable quantities to the jolt-like disturbance triggered by the act of observation. It seems what has happened in the case of the software world, brands, companies and their relationship with their customer– is that — the digital disruption has created a jolt-like shift. The ability of social / digital networks and the conversations that are carried on offline, are triggering new behaviors and new actions.
Is It For Real?
The questions remain are things like, “Are companies really measuring the affect of how they are changing business? What’s the value of those changes? Do they know how to set-up a measurement system to capture the results? Or are they just knee-jerking? Are technology companies really understanding the need to not only change their products, but their own culture, way of doing business and relationship to their employees and their customers?
And only time will tell. Time will tell if this is a fad, a tagline or a key message. It seems though that Oracle has made interesting changes – from the acquisitions which have changed their own technology stack, but also how seriously they take the digital disruption.
I was at the event last May, where Oracle introduced the idea of shifting from an IT focus to a focus on the CMO’s as a buyer. It is interesting to see how the acquisitions Oracle has made have also changed their culture and their seriousness towards using databases in a new way. And their desire to be the company brands trust to– be the one you come to —to make all the changes you need to make -i.e., to integrate the old with the new and drive the newest trends in technology. Changes like this are not easily made. And brands need and want someone to trust.
Clearly the leadership at Oracle is committed to a change and courageous enough to put the resources behind it to make it happen. Business as usual, is no longer usual. The business has shifted… the future looks bright. Time will tell, but I believe the commitment, the desire and the conviction is there to go the distance.
VP and Principle Analyst, Covering Marketing, Sales, Customer Service and Creating Great Customer Experiences