Oracle CEO Mark Hurd Drills Down on the Emerging Challenges of Digital Disruption in OpenWorld Keynote

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“Digital disruption” driven by technology is having an impact on the decisions IT organizations are making, Mark Hurd told the audience at the Moscone Center in his first OpenWorld keynote as Oracle CEO. The confluence of cloud, exploding data volumes, social, business, consumer sophistication, and mobility are forces that are dramatically changing the world and affecting the way everyone lives and works. 

The problem, said Hurd, is that today’s applications were built before the advent of cloud, social, mobile and analytics, and 75% of those 20-year-old apps have been customized, making them less flexible and more difficult to upgrade.  And, at the same time, IT budgets are flat at best and quite often down, exacerbating the pressure on CIOs to innovate to provide end to end transparency, real-time insight, while engaging customers on their terms and integrating social data to address new challenges, said Hurd.

CIOs, he said, are being buffeted by a range of  demands from all sides, while not getting a lot more help or budget. “The CIO is getting coached, and a lot of pressure from business unit leaders, getting all kinds of incredible insights from vendors and suppliers, is under tremendous pressure from the CEO to innovate and keep up with today’s world - and all of this has to be integrated together into a cohesive strategy to change these organizations,” he observed.  “And when you get to very big companies with bigger legacies and more competitors, these problems even get harder.”

To help illustrate the issues companies are facing, Hurd assembled executives from Oracle customers, including Yael Cosset, Chief Information Officer, dunnhumby, Stephen Little, Chief Information Officer, Xerox, Jamie Miller, Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer, GE, Filippo Passerini, Group President—Global Business Services, Chief Information Officer, P&G, Kimberly S. Stevenson, Vice President, Chief Information Officer, Information Technology, Intel Corporation, and Tim Theriault, Senior Vice President, Chief Information, Innovation and Improvement Officer, Walgreen Co.

Yael Cosset from dunnhumby, a customer science company that analyzes data from more than 660 million customers worldwide, to uncover valuable insights into what customers want, where they want it, and how much they’re willing to pay for it, in order to help organizations personalize their experience and create brand loyalty, talked about how the company ingests massive amounts of complex data that must be interpreted rapidly, and has standardized on Exadata and now stores over a petabyte of data on that platform globally.

Facing a different set of challenges, Steve Little of Xerox, described the company’s significant transition from legacy printer/copier business. Four years ago, the company bought Affiliated Computer Solutions (ACS) which is in the business process outsourcing area, and as a result, Xerox is going through a transition to a services company. Even looking at the legacy printer/copier business, half that is now based on services, he said.

Xerox, which has about 145,000 employees worldwide plus about 10,000 contractors, has embarked on a global workforce initiative to address the multitude of HR and payroll system around the world in order to provide a single visibility to the workforce. The company is now putting in a global HR system to standardize on the way it manages people on a global basis.  To accomplish its goals, Xerox is going to the cloud and leveraging Oracle HCM, Taleo and Oracle ERP, said Little, who emphasized, “you can’t have IT projects, you have to have business-IT projects.”

There is a common thread with all these companies, said Hurd. They face many of the same problems but with a slightly different flavor.  The strategy and IT agenda of each company is a little different but the fundamental problems are the same, he said:  How do I transform with the backdrop of all of this secular change and all of the budget constraints?

In total, these companies together have over half a million employees, and hundreds of billions of dollars flow through them, said Hurd, emphasizing that they do not represent a small, isolated subset of what is out there in the world today.

“Our commitment to you is that we will continue to innovate and continue to drive on both best of breed solutions and a complete integrated suite," said Hurd ending his presentation. "You will also have the unique ability to have platform capablitlies to now extend those suites and develop and build applications straight out of the Oracle cloud.”