Oracle's Hurd: Businesses Must Adapt to New Consumers

By Jeffrey Burt  |  Posted 2014-03-25 Print this article Print

At the Boston conference, Hurd's keynote was the only event that aimed to address all industries. The rest of the events—from keynotes to presentations to networking sessions—are dividing along six specific industries. In addition, Oracle officials at the show unveiled a number of industry-specific solutions.

In his address, Hurd stressed the importance of technology in helping drive business and the global economy. He noted that the global GDP is at more than $71 trillion, and that the IT sector is only about $2 trillion of that number. However, he noted that without that IT segment, it would be difficult to conduct business, such as buying a plane ticket.

"You really can't buy anything without that $2 trillion," he said. "Pretty much everything in the $71 trillion is enabled by the $2 trillion."

However, there has been a dramatic shift in what makes up that $2 trillion. Before, more than 80 percent came from companies. That is now shifting rapidly to consumers, which is nearing almost $1 trillion in spending, thanks to such devices as smartphones and tablets. Another problem: Most of the corporate IT spending—82 percent—is on the maintenance side, while 18 percent is used for innovation. In addition, the average age of applications being used by corporations is 20 years, making it even more difficult for businesses to address new consumers who are used to the latest technology trends.

"So I've got a lot of people innovating on the consumer side, and I've got a company side that's stuck," Hurd said.

With the continued growth of connected devices, the rapid rise in the amount of data being created and the trends toward such communications models as social networks, "the power has shifted to me, the consumer," he said. In addition, those consumers want businesses to meet their expectations, and to know and understand them. Businesses need to leverage new technologies to help them meet those demands if they are to survive.

That includes such technologies as data analytics, he said. There is a huge amount of data being created, but most of it is worthless, Hurd said. Businesses need products that can find the nuggets of data that are worthwhile, and then collect and analyze the data so that vendors can quickly make useful business decisions.

The changing consumer landscape will only continue to evolve, and if companies don't adjust, they'll fall by the wayside and be replaced, he said.

The new consumers "are going to get harder to deal with, not easier," Hurd said. "They're going to be less loyal, more mobile, more picky. … You're going to have to change how you work with them."



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