Innovation and large-scale IT, with Mark Sunday, CIO, Oracle

Mark Sunday, Oracle CIO, discusses how the rise of digital technologies are creating opportunities for CIOs to assert new importance in the enterprise.

1 2 3 Page 2
Page 2 of 3

(17:03) Or another one at the time was called our on-demand services, or another one might have been functioned, but I had these kind of sizeable silos and I felt like I was the chairman of a holding company for each one of these... And it seemed that as an organization this put us in the position of having multiple doors, and if you didn’t like the answer somewhere you go somewhere else. But also we looked like multiple organizations.

(17:44) So we did a fundamental transformation going to the organization that I had touched on a few moments ago where we were aligned by embedding folks into our key stakeholders, and then trading everything as services across the various capabilities that we delivered to the enterprise.

(18:09) So for example, marketing certainly has huge demands relative to everything that we are doing both on live and on demand video infrastructure, but also our lines of business whether it’s the folks that are supporting all of our hardware products and to help people around the world. Well they want to be able to on demand instantly be able to get content right to the person at the point of me to instruct them how to place the power supply if so needed.

(18:45) So my point is that there is a lot of organizations that have different, but in many cases similar and overlapping needs for service such as video. And what we then do is engineer how to provide a roadmap that meets the needs, and drives the most value for the entire enterprise and spending all of these services. So once again, got rid of the silos within my organization and really put more of an end-to-end surface structure that allows us to not only be fast, but also deliver a higher quality services.

Michael:         (19:23) Mark in your opening comments you mentioned digital transformation, the impact of cloud, social and mobile, so maybe can you share with us your view on what exactly is digital transformation and what’s the impact of it on IT?

Mark:              (19:50) So what’s happening is the total IT spend is about $2 trillion, and if you look at it a trillion of it is enterprises, and that’s remaining fairly flat. But relatively recently we’ve gone from where businesses were the largest spenders in technology, to now its consumers. And that is growing very rapidly, and so the expectations around consumerization is certainly having a big impact on what the opportunity is and what people are looking for in terms of how they engage with everyone that they do business with.

(20:34) So what digital transformation has done, the pulling together of info sitting on top of cloud platforms, but leveraging social and business insights via big data, and certainly the mobile has changed everything. And I think that’s just the beginning now that we are seeing an ever increasing use of Internet of everything. That IT as organizations, just as I pointed out earlier, can’t be marked down into integrate and operate, and really need to sit on top of and leverage these technologies.

(21:17) Because what’s happening, as business models it’s never been more challenging to head up a business because you now are being disrupted on so many different vantage points. Various countries have all been eliminated in many industries, and so businesseses need to be able to respond at the speed of opportunity, and now because technology is at the core of every business, IT has to be right there with them.

(21:46) So digital transformation for me, is a series of technologies that are fundamentally changing how you drive value, and IT has to embrace that as a delivery platform for them to offer value to their business and ultimately their customers at a pace that’s unparalleled to anything that we have ever seen in the past.

Vala:               (22:09) Mark what are some of your business related metrics you use to evaluate IT success?

Mark:              (22:18) Number one, entering in the game for us is we have to do everything we do better, faster, cheaper than we did this previous year. I mean that’s just the expectations going in at Oracle.

(22:30) So, one thing a little bit different that I really like at Oracle is that I go in and negotiate a budget for my organization and essentially with Mark Hurd and (?unclear on the name) at the beginning of the fiscal year, which we are at day five of today. And I don’t go around with a tin can to various lines of business functions and other stakeholders. I go in and I’ve got a sizeable amount, and so my job is then to see that we most effectively deploy those financial resources and then correspond on our human capital resources, to deliver as much value as we possibly can.

(23:16) So with that we then focus on where those opportunities are that we can drive that value, reduce the re-occurring operational maintenance things, and really put as much towards innovation and creating new value and enabling our businesses to drive effectiveness. Also, I personally put a great deal of focus on each individual employee, what can we do to improve their life from first being recruited to certainly on boarding all the way through their whole career at Oracle.

Michael:         (23:59) And you mentioned earlier that some of the metrics that you have and the expectations obviously aligned with that relate to the type of relationship that you have with your internal customers, external customers to ensure that they are actually getting the business value that they expect from IT.

Mark:              (24:22) Absolutely, so like I said, when you’re entering the game you are just doing everything better, faster, cheaper but then what is really important to my lines of business is what are we doing to help them drive more value, and that’s really what I insist we measure with each of our teams that are engaged with our stakeholders. What are we doing to drive more value for them?

(24:45) And so that starts off on a number of fronts. First of all, everything that we do has to work well, and by working well that’s not only on how it works but it’s providing performance and access, and perhaps even more importantly its ease of use, and that’s really what drives adoption and helps people be more effective.

(25:09) And so whether it be metrics that are at the entire business or function level, but also things looking down at the individual employee level, what are we doing to improve their overall productivity. And, it’s always in terms of in the business value, what the business end game is. You know, no one cares about my reporting on availability, reliability, and a number of incidents what have you. They want to hear it in terms of, what are we doing for their lines of business or the employees that work within them. And then even more importantly and expanding out and what are we doing to drive value for our customers.

Vala:               (25:53) Mark, some of your Forbes posts are great so I encourage our audience to Google Mark Sunday Forbes and read your incredible thought leadership posts. You gave some advice, you said, always keep your eye on the big picture, for opportunity and to hire people that are smarter than you. So be forward looking and surround yourself with smart people and knock on opportunities’ door.

So when we talk about digital transformation what is the impact for digital transformation on IT and what do we actually need to know to follow your advice in terms of not just being opportunistic, but smart and forward looking in order to really deal with the avalanche and the velocity of innovation that’s in enterprise today. So can you talk a little bit about advice regarding digital transformation and IT readiness?

Mark:              (26:47) So one of the things that I’ve pointed out multiple times is that I’ve been doing this gig a long long time. And I can remember the era, long before your time Vala, but I can remember the era of our looking in our crystal ball and anticipation the future, and the whole thing of having five or 10 year IT plans.

(27:16) So, a couple of years ago, I think it might have been Gartner that had coined that we need to move IT strategy and budgets from anticipate to respond. And that really resonated with me because that’s exactly what I’m seeing at Oracle. You know, we’ve gone through a lot of change as we’ve continued to dramatically expand our business, whether it be in during my 10 years, into the verticals, going up and down the stack going all the way into the hardware, and then you know the tremendous push we have in cloud.

(27:54) Well with all the things that we do, we’re not going to be able within the IT organization to anticipate everything that’s happening and that’s only at Oracle. Then you extend it onto our customer base and our consumers of our technology.

(28:09) So in this whole model of moving from anticipate to respond, well how can you respond? Well, what you do is the only way you can respond is futureproof everything that you’re doing. It’s the futureproofing. It starts off with the overall IT strategy. How are we going to have a strategy that enables us to be nimble?

You know agility is perhaps the most important thing that we do in order to serve business. But then once you have your strategy, well then how do you organize for that? …and then you extend, well what are your processes that enable you to respond. And then you ultimately you want a technology platform that is flexible, that’s agile and can be continuously evolved.

(29:01) So all of these things are core to enable us to ride the opportunity that digital transformation’s offering our company and our employees.

Michael:         (29:15) Do you see digital transformation and along with it shadow IT and along with it the growth of technology sophistication and software sophistication in lines with business and functional departments – all this together. Do you see this as a driver of making IT less relevant or a driver as making IT more relevant because I’ve seen it argued in both directions?

Mark:              (29:46) Okay, so first of all in my almost 40-year career I looked at companies that have been nothing but high technology companies. So in every case and now at Oracle there’s 140,000 people who know how to do my job better than I do.

(30:03) So, I've never looked at that as a challenge, I actually looked at it as an opportunity, because they understand the complexities, and you’re not having to pull them along, they are wanting to help pull you along. But then we mentioned the word shadow IT and I really like what (Ref Larkin?) came up with when he was at (Korax?), and he didn’t use the word shadow IT. He used the word ‘shallow’ IT. And what that is, is really taking advantage of the resources, financial, capital, and human that exists out in the various organizations, and figure out what role corporate IT plays.

(30:52) And there are some very very important roles when you embed yourself and partner. In fact if they have resources, they also demand expertise, how do we drive as much value for our company? So don’t resist it but actually you know embrace it.

(31:08) And this whole concept is to figure out what IT – corporate IT dollars, does well and look at where you should participate. So for example, you know if things have scaled. You know I’m one of the few organizations in Oracle that has people in 50 countries and then we extend out our infrastructure it’s nearly 100 countries. We have all the processes and practices around security, but then you extend on into other things like even contract, and large-scale program management.

(31:44) So what we want to do is embrace, for example our marketing organization, who has done some incredibly creative things and then add value whether it’s the things that they are doing in terms of customer experience where we’re leveraging technology to really tremendously enrich the relationship that we have with our customers and nurture them along the way and not you know engage our sales organizations at the appropriate time. But also provide people with the right content, at the right you know kind of pace that is personalized for them.

(32:22) Well that’s great stuff and figure out where it makes sense for us to fit in. Another place once again talking about marketing, but then extending across the whole organization, is one area that we are tackling now -- media management.

(32:38) We have found that under a number of organizations around Oracle had approached this either internally or leveraged externally, but had various strategies for managing the ever increasing amount of media content that we have. But organizations must be thinking God, there’s got to be synergy and value by us putting a lot more eggs in one basket and really watching that basket. So that’s an area where we’re coming in with centralized services so we can uplift everyone’s capabilities.

(33:21) So, I know it’s one of the things that’s high on your list and that’s talking about innovation, and one of the key drivers for enabling innovation at Oracle is the ability to centralize the resources around the mission, and have them do it on a multiline of business, multifunctional, and multigeography point of view.

Vala:               (33:49) Mark, as a CMR I just want to say it’s just beautiful to hear you talk about your collaboration with marketing, and to hear a CIO talk about segmentation and precision marketing and buyer journey and all of that. So kudos to you because that clearly is evidence that one of your best friends must be the CMR of Oracle and that’s just awesome and we did talk about innovation in before the show. We talked about you know a software upgrade to Tesla where you can reduce the 0 to 60 time by a second plus and how amazing that was.

1 2 3 Page 2
Page 2 of 3
The 10 most powerful companies in enterprise networking 2022