Nobody is spending enough money on innovation

Written by Sudhir Chowdhary | Updated: Nov 11 2013, 07:20am hrs
The technology industry is undergoing a massive disruption that is threatening traditional revenue streams and business models. The combined forces of big data, social, mobile and cloud technologies are changing how people and businesses purchase and consume IT and market IT respectively, says Adrian Jones, general manager and senior vice-president of Oracle Asia Pacific. He is responsible for managing Oracles operations across the region, including leading the sales of Oracles technology, systems, middleware, and applications business. Prior to this appointment, Jones was senior vice-president for hardware sales for Oracle Asia Pacific and Oracle Japan, overseeing the planning, strategy, and execution of the companys hardware sales and revenue growth across the region. In a recent interaction with Sudhir Chowdhary, he talks about Oracles transformation story and the growing acceptance of social, mobile and cloud technologies among enterprises. Excerpts:

Big data, social, mobile and cloud technologies are changing how people and businesses purchase and consume IT and market IT respectively. Where do you see these technologies headed two years from now

The four trends that you just mentioned are very prevalent in the industry and we are looking at how we play our strategies into all of these four trends. We design our technology around social networking products, around big datawe have our own big data appliance technology and as such, a whole suite of technology is being developed in a cloud based environmentso we are doing a lot more work around that.

In the next two-three years, I see that really continuing and growing at a faster rate. But I do think that people are going to look as to how they innovate more around those technologiesparticularly around big data, the uses of big data, what does that really look like I think that we will also see the demand for storage, that will also continue to increase. The great news for us is that we can innovate around storage and sort of use some of our technologies around compression ratios etc. to reduce the cost of storage.

Mobility will also be a major trend. We certainly believe that every form of billing systems, payment systems, ease of use around mobility will become a bigger deal, so we are going to buy technologies that compliment the hardware and software pieces of those technologies.

What can enterprises do to modernise, innovate and stay ahead

The biggest thing that we see when I talk to CIOs, CFOs and CEOs is that everybody talks about cost. But the issue for them is that the whole industry in the last 10 years has seen massive different technologies. People buy different operating systems from one company, service from another company, storage from another company, software from people like us or others. And then there is this huge labour cost that is involved in bringing these technologies for their customers. So we have seen this clash of different point products over the last ten years.

What we are saying is or what we are seeing is that most of the budgets that the company management spends today is on maintaining a legacy technology. The problem we have in this industry today is nobody is spending enough money on innovation. What Oracle is trying to do is turn that innovation around. That is, how to get customers to spend 60% on innovating to actually get to saving for the next 2 to 5 to 10 years in costs and infrastructure. We are looking at how we design technology to help them innovate, help them become more productive and help drive better business value.

Where does your firms innovation approach and strategy come into play

We are a $40 billion company today roughly in revenue. We spend about $5 billion a year in R&D; specifically here in India for example we have 31,000 people today. We have eight R&D sites in India alone, helping us develop new software and hardware technologies. So we are looking to spend more and more money on R&D to drive that innovation technology.

We have done a lot of work around buying new companies in marketing, recruitment, HR, software etc. We bought another cloud company recently which is again around marketing campaigns, central type management solutions to help people go out and run their business, market their business differently.

How has Oracle transformed its business beyond being a database provider

Over the last three years, we have worked around innovating hardware and software strategy. We also acquired Sun Microsystems three and a half years ago and in that time we decided that people needed more choices; as I mentioned earlier, there is a mismatch around different technologies and products that everyone has to bring together. We believe that we can solve that problem by designing software and hardware working together.

When we look at the enterprise business today, we believe that if people are running hardware they should also be tuned to the software to run their operations efficiently and be more productive. So Oracle is transforming the business around bringing these engineered systems more like appliance based technologies to help customers benefit from that in terms of their business and innovation.

Oracle has acquired many (90) companies with deep industry expertise in various areas of cloud, social, mobile etc. How has the integration of all these IP assets worked for you and your customers

Very well. The great beauty of Oracle is that we have an umbrella of suite of technologies that we are making sure that they all talk to each other and they all work seamlessly with each other.

What is the reality of cloud adoption among Indias private and public sector companies

If you asked me this two-three years ago, I would probably say we are not sure about it. But the cloud is moving quickly and people are adopting cloud and SaaS models very quickly. If I look at India today in past 6-10 months, we are getting huge demand and we get to talk to customers and they talk to us about SaaS cloud type scenarios and what we can do to help them. India is going to be a fast adopter for cloud and SaaS solutions.