By Mark Hurd
When the history books are written about 2018, one of the most important inflection points will be this: 2018 was the first year where consumer IT spending outpaced business IT spending. This is a huge change from the days when consumer IT was basically a PC and a modem in the corner of someone’s bedroom. The explosion of consumer electronics and software has created huge challenges for companies trying to keep up. And those challenges are particularly difficult to overcome exactly because they were baked in, right at the dawn of the age of technology.
Forty years ago, business technology was dominated by a single company. As technology became more ubiquitous, that started to change – fast. You had companies that made microprocessors, companies that made disk drives, companies that made all sorts of software and hardware. It was the responsibility of the corporate IT department to buy all of these separate things and stitch them together, and that’s how you ended up with companies using hundreds of different types of servers and operating systems – hundreds of different configurations, heavily customized, created by people who have long since left the company.
In 2019, we’re going to see a continuation of the trend that’s been so apparent over this past decade – the move to take all this technology debt that’s evolved over the years and get it out of businesses’ IT budget. By shifting more of their IT workloads to cloud service providers like Oracle, which has an R&D budget of more than $5 billion, businesses can eliminate the complexity of legacy systems, reduce routine maintenance tasks, and most importantly, take advantage of the latest innovations to drive success. That shift is at the core of Oracle’s strategy, which is why we rewrote all of our applications for the cloud and developed the next generation of Oracle Database so that it’s a self-driving, autonomous system – just a part of the platform that our customers will use to maintain flexibility and continue to deliver innovative products and services to their customers.
The biggest misconception that people have about this shift is that this is going to disintermediate many, many jobs. In reality, most IT jobs haven’t been created yet – in fact, I predict that 60% of IT jobs that will exist in 2025 don’t exist right now. All of these new technologies will have the effect of creating good, new jobs. For example, there will be a job called chatbot manager. There will be AI-assisted health technicians and specialists in human-machine user experience. Instead of having a large group of employees dedicated to “keeping the lights on,” companies will be able to dedicate resources to higher-level functions, allowing employees to work on innovations that will increase customer satisfaction and bring new products and services to market. To prepare for this transformational change, companies need to create training and mentoring programs and adjust their organizational structures to prepare their people to perform higher-level work. If companies are serious about surviving and thriving in the years ahead, they need to start strategizing and implementing new, flexible systems and programs right now. Tomorrow will be too late.