The volatility of the tech industry is not surprising given its history of reshaping economies and lives. With the rise in inflation and the risk of a global recession, businesses must adapt to rapid environmental changes. However, the pace of these changes has become unprecedented, with over 57% of tech companies fearing they won’t survive a prolonged recession. This mindset affects organizations and impacts individuals and their jobs. While individuals can embrace technology at their own pace, tech organizations and big businesses that consume tech do not have the same freedom. Factors such as customer expectations and market competition drive innovation and tech adoption for companies, often faster than their plans can handle. The tech industry is constantly pushing to exceed expectations, creating complexity and pace that can be exhilarating but also challenging.
Oracle, as the 12th biggest technology company worldwide, has a market cap of over $30 billion. Having joined the company in 1998, I have witnessed the transformative power of technology and its hazards throughout my two-decade-long career. In this article, I will share insights gained from my experience and provide guidance on how to excel in a role while navigating shifts in the external business environment. I will discuss the skills needed to become indispensable in a volatile industry and how to strike a balance between strategy and tactics. Additionally, I will share where the tech industry is headed and how to prepare for a secure future.
1. Position yourself for opportunities: During the mid to late 1990s, Oracle underwent a significant transition to expand its offerings and solidify its presence in a highly competitive market. This shift required a stronger business and functional orientation, and I was among a handful of people hired to bring this to fruition. By embracing the opportunity and leveraging my skills, I was able to contribute to Oracle’s growth and success.
2. Strategies vs. tactics: To be indispensable in a rapidly changing industry, it is essential to understand the overall objectives of your role while also executing the best possible approach. When Oracle acquired PeopleSoft, my role was to enable customer loyalty and retention. This required figuring out the right tactics to help meet closer-in business goals while balancing strategic objectives.
3. Having a vision: It is crucial to have a clear vision and be able to tell the story of what you do and why you do it. By adapting to fulfill the needs of the day while maintaining a throughline of capabilities and consistent focus, my team became an extension of the CEO’s office and engaged in all aspects of the customer experience.
4. Everyone needs to sell, market, or build: Developing personal marketing and sales skills is important in a highly dynamic industry. Regardless of your role, everyone has a front-office responsibility to build, market, or sell. Finding ways to contribute to sales, marketing, or engineering aligns your job with the company’s objectives.
5. Embrace continuous learning and adaptability: In a rapidly evolving industry, it is crucial to stay updated on the latest trends and technologies. Embrace a mindset of continuous learning and adaptability to remain valuable and relevant.
In conclusion, excelling in the tech industry requires positioning yourself for opportunities, understanding the balance between strategy and tactics, having a clear vision, embracing personal marketing and sales skills, and staying adaptable through continuous learning. By following these principles, you can navigate the volatility of the tech industry and prepare for a secure future.