One of the big trends we follow here at Via Meadia to try to figure out what’s going on in the world is the impact of technology driven change on our institutions and our lives. An interesting article over at PandoDaily shows how even the titans of the tech world like database giant Oracle are challenged by the tsunami of innovation and the restructuring it brings.Oracle has traditionally thrived in the business application space. Larry Ellison, Oracle’s founder and Silicon Valley icon, had figured out how to lock in clients to his products and services: Big business is risk-averse when it comes to tech infrastructure, so innovation is not the driver of sales. Predictability and reliable support matter more than the latest bells and whistles, and in a lot of corporate environments nobody ever gets fired for going with dull and predictable when it comes to basic tech systems.Even the mind-boggling complexity of the products had a perverse upside in keeping these clients locked in: Training a massive staff in a new system would prove prohibitively expensive. Like QWERTY keyboards, old and clunky software platforms were protected by their very irrationality.But convenience and consistency over ease of use and quality may not be cutting it any more in enterprise. A generation of employees raised on collaborative internet tools like Facebook and Twitter—tools that are intuitive and work as advertised—are starting to demand the same kind of simple functionality from the software they use at work. PandoDaily mentions the web app Asana as an example of the kind of products that the millennials are forcing into the enterprise over the heads of their CIOs. Via Meadia and TAI, though we’re hardly enterprise-scale, have been using Asana for a few weeks now, and we’re very impressed at how well it works.But Via Meadia wouldn’t count Oracle out so soon. The culture of change is in the DNA of even the biggest firms in Silicon Valley in a way that’s just not true of older, less flexible industries. Both Microsoft and Apple made deep changes to survive; Oracle isn’t ready to give up the ghost.That’s a snapshot of America in 2012. Technology changes society, society changes technology. Via Meadia isn’t sure which is the chicken and which is the egg, but we don’t see any shortage of either chickens or eggs anytime soon. Meanwhile, we are liking Asana.
Relentless Change Threatens Tech Giants Too
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