Is it too soon to talk about preparing for the economic recovery? While many companies are still focused on cutting costs and increasing efficiencies, at the same time smart IT leaders are looking at ways they can make sure they’re ready to move ahead when the economy starts to turn around. As Oracle Senior Vice President Sonny Singh noted at this year’s Oracle CFO Forum, every downturn produces winners and losers—companies are twice as likely to change their industry rankings during a recession. In times of rapid change, successful companies are going to be the ones that figure out precisely what role technology can play in their businesses and how they can get rapid returns from very targeted technology implementations—for example, by optimizing their supply chains to lower the cost of the goods they produce, or by implementing customer relationship management capabilities that increase customer responsiveness.
But how does innovation fit in? Is it a luxury that can be pursued only when times are good? This summer and fall, Oracle’s Innovation Showcase is focusing on innovation and the impact that our innovative products have on our customers. We believe that product-focused innovation is critical to our company’s success, and that success would not be possible if we weren’t powering the success of our customers. Retaining innovative employees, acquiring innovative technologies and products, and spending billions of dollars on research and development are all ways that we’re powering innovation at Oracle. For the Oracle Innovation Showcase, we’re highlighting the most-innovative aspects of our products, talking about Oracle’s history with people who were at the company in the beginning, and interviewing innovators from every part of Oracle, all over the world, to find out what they’re doing to drive innovation for our customers. I hope you’ll check out the site at oracle.com/innovation.
Margaret Terry Lindquist is editor in chief of Profit magazine.