The volatility of the tech industry shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone.
History has taught us time and time again: technology has the power to transform economies and lives. And amid rising inflation and the threat of a global recession, businesses need to adapt to environmental changes. But over the years, the speed of this change has been unparalleled.
It’s over 57% technology companies believe that they will not be in financial trouble for a long time. This view makes the tech industry as both the perpetrator and the victim. Ideas affect organizations and affect people and their work.
People can embrace technology in their travel, but technology organizations – and large business buyers – don’t have the same freedom. Factors such as customer expectations and market competition drive innovation and technology adoption by companies, often faster than they can achieve their plans. But as they say, change is inevitable.
The technology industry is constantly pushing to improve, and businesses often struggle to keep up. This creates a challenge and pace that is often fun—and often difficult.
Oracle is the 12th largest technology company in the world, with a market capitalization of over $300 billion. When I joined the company in 1998, I wasn’t ready to look at technical issues. But after more than two decades in this industry, it’s safe to say that I’ve seen both the transformative power of technology and its dangers.
Join me as I walk through the insights I’ve found on my journey.
What you will learn in this article:
- Ways to succeed in your role when managing foreign business changes
- The skills needed to be relevant in an informal, often unchanging industry
- How to create a relationship between a strategy and a strategy
- Where the tech industry is going and how to prepare for a secure future
1. Position yourself for opportunities
In the mid to late 1990s, into the late 2000s, it was very important for technology, especially for Oracle. The company made significant changes in expanding its offerings and strengthening its presence in a highly competitive arena. From being recognized as a long-standing player in the leading edge technology market, Oracle has moved into the application category, which supports business users and the consumer experience.
At the beginning of my tenure, Oracle had the goal of having a strong and efficient business (think sales, marketing, HR, finance, supply chain) and how it interacts with its customers. This change aims to equip sales teams to demonstrate customer satisfaction and measurable value. I was among the few people, mostly from the management’s advice, hired to make this happen.
After setting up and running Oracle’s business consulting practice for six years, I was asked to take on a new role in 2004. I didn’t plan for it, but I was in the right place at the right time and with the right skills.
I never had a career plan. I focused on efficiency, creativity, and applying technology in new ways to what I was doing at the time.
The new project was to lead the development of customer service (CX) skill is to encourage customers about Oracle. Since my previous role was to put customers first, this seemed like a good fit for me. The transition was smooth as I stepped into the role and knew how to use customer feedback and deliver tangible results to their business.
2. Strategy vs. strategy: How to be relevant
The brief for my new job was clear. This service was instrumental in customer loyalty and retention. But it was up to me to do the best way with the results. Although the work had to evolve, the actual expectations and actions were, in many ways, set by acquisition of PeopleSoftOracle’s biggest acquisition to date.
PeopleSoft, known for its enterprise technology, gave Oracle an opportunity to expand beyond its existing software business and acquire new customers (and create a better environment with existing customers). Oracle was well aware that losing PeopleSoft customers would add to the growing buzz and confusion that comes with a large, complex acquisition.
If PeopleSoft’s customers jump on board, it could cast doubt on Oracle’s ability and integrity — and possibly lower its stock price. So Oracle was determined to make every effort to retain every last PeopleSoft customer. The challenge was nothing less than dealing with customers, communities, employees, regulators, and Wall Street’s expectations all at once.
My new position required a new team, and the first order of business for the newly assembled team was to identify the priorities: who we should work with and how to do it. We knew the “what” and the “why” but not the “how”.
The good news was that we had the freedom to think for ourselves. The bad news was that the work was critical to supporting teams across the company, and the teams were sure they didn’t need any help. This was the problem of managing book changes at a large organization.
You can’t push for positive change without finding the freedom to do so—and the only way to do that is to figure out how to help those who don’t honestly believe they need your help.
The key was aligning our professional goals with the right strategies to help achieve business goals. This means helping to close a deal, helping to solve a customer problem, or helping with a large print ad. It took us a while to figure this out, and when I look back, I could have solved the problem sooner. But we got there.
3. Having a vision: Your whole story
Larry Ellison’s vision inspired a company culture play the long game and try to dominate like GE in the markets you want. Although Oracle has grown from a database company to include software and hardware, and then to a software company, it has remained true to its original vision. It was difficult. There wasn’t always a straight line from point A to B, but the company learned and adapted. My team did too.
What is the story of your group, organization, or company? You need to be able to tell the story of what you do and why you do it.
Over the years, the team grew into the CEO’s office and was able to do more in all aspects of the client. As much as possible, we crossed traditional boundaries and worked in every area of the larger Oracle organization.
The goal was to constantly change to meet the needs of the day but to do so with innovation and a constant focus. You can—and should—do both: look to the horizon and focus on the next ten steps.
The last thing you want to do in a highly flexible environment is to update yourself every day, week, month, quarter, or year. When you do this, even if you want to “do whatever you want,” your team and stakeholders will forget how and why you matter. You will never establish a solid foundation to build on. So tell me yours story early and often.
4. Everyone must sell, trade, or build
One thing I learned quickly was the importance of developing sales and marketing skills. We’ve all met the corporate person who is a “strategist.” There is absolutely nothing wrong with a strong strategy. And I have no problem with philosophy and preaching. But a little of it goes a long way.
It is also important for you to find your own unique way of helping sales, marketing, or engineering. If some part of your work does not match the goals of the company of the quarter, you can have a target drawn on your shirt, hat, bag, bean bag, or suit.
The line between the front and back offices is getting better during the day. Everyone has a “front office” role. We are all responsible for building, selling, or selling.
Even in finance, where customer-facing things may not feel like the norm, you can still be creative and create opportunities to support sales and marketing. Clients from finance or operations may prefer to have a motivational or motivational conversation with a finance or ops person.
5. Leading change; don’t follow it
I doubt you will go an hour today without reading, hearing, or speaking generative AI. Whatever it is cloud computing, personal productivity, the metaverse, or green technology, choose something that makes you a future person. Going on a ride together is great, but if you want to succeed rather than survive, get involved in route management.
When I work with clients, I try to introduce them to the latest technology relevant to my application. This is part of being positive and important.
Here are my top tips for a successful career in technology:
- Make your own luck. Forget the 5-year career plan. Change what you’re doing today, and you’ll be better prepared for tomorrow.
- Alignment is a strategy. Learn how to do the work so that you have the freedom to think wisely.
- Have a story to tell. Learn, adapt, adapt, and contribute in new ways, but always be able to put it into perspective.
- Assist in sales, marketing, and infrastructure development. If you can’t, you’re at risk.
- Be the future. Technology is at the heart of almost everything we do. Be an early adopter and bring others.
Navigating the challenges of an unsustainable industry is difficult and unpredictable – but by keeping these things in mind, you can put yourself in a safer position for the future.
This is part of G2’s Corporate Facts list. The views and opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of G2 or its employees.