Advice and Information for Finance Professionals

Mark Hurd: Innovation is the Only Way Forward for the American Economy

Joyce Boland
Vice President, Applications Global Marketing

The American economy has long been powered by great innovators. Successful iterations on existing products such as Henry Ford’s Model T and Steve Jobs’ iPhone have created new opportunities and found new customers through increased accessibility and performance. Economists widely agree innovation is critical in sustaining long-term economic growth, especially within the technology sector. Innovation creates highly skilled jobs that come with higher wages, provide a competitive edge over other nations’ products, and increase the drive to educate citizens.

Innovation within the workplace is not a new concept. Despite increasing fears about automation, machine learning, and robotics replacing human workers, our current situation is simply the latest step on a continual path of advancement. Technology has already taken over 90% of the jobs that humans used to do; some jobs now leverage machinery and automation to allow fewer humans to accomplish more, such as in the farming and shipping industries. Other industries have evolved to create new jobs entirely, no longer supplying spoked wheels for horse-drawn carriages but software for driverless vehicles.

Oracle CEO Mark Hurd sees this continuous drive toward innovation and automation as a beneficial opportunity that will free up workers from an endless cycle of menial tasks and create new highly skilled jobs, particularly within the technology industry. At Oracle OpenWorld 2018, Hurd predicted, “Roughly 60% of the IT jobs that will exist in 2025 haven’t even been invented yet.” He cited Oracle Autonomous Database as an example, noting that freeing database administrators from the continual work of database patching and tuning will allow for more focus on competitive insights and more attention on customer applications.

“We should not get scared about innovation. It makes us more efficient and frees up capital for our customers to reinvest in other things.” — Mark Hurd, CEO, Oracle
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Most importantly, innovation within the technology industry is inevitable. Mark Hurd has said, “I believe the technology industry is on an irreversible course to change itself… there’s no stopping this technological progress. In this business, as in all industries, innovation beats the status quo every time.”

Not only is technological innovation irreversible, but for many companies, the competitive advantage presented by having the latest and greatest software is invaluable. Companies with access to the latest artificial intelligence features built into Oracle ERP Cloud can make better use of their existing data to accomplish tasks such as optimizing supplier payment terms or finding best-fit suppliers to stay ahead of competitors — just one use case where innovation is impacting the bottom line.

There may be an inevitable trend toward innovative progress, but maintaining that progress requires the best and brightest minds. Although the United States currently hosts 16 of the top 20 colleges and universities, their unsustainable tuition requirements are threatening America’s capability to compete globally by constraining student opportunities. Mark Hurd has discussed the need for a new business model in higher education, suggesting that applying automation and AI to financial aid can help students “graduate on time and with the least amount of debt,” while focusing on faculty and attracting top talent to increase alumni engagement. The students of today will power the AI revolution of tomorrow, and America’s investment in the future begins with supporting education to build forward-facing skill sets — even for the 60% of IT jobs that don’t exist yet.

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