Oracle EMEA
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Oracle In Europe

For most enterprises, and certainly most of Oracle's customers, a drive to simplify Information Technology (IT) is becoming of ever-increasing importance. Oracle has become one of the largest technology companies in the world on the strength of its extensive portfolio of software and hardware products to facilitate this simplification. In this special feature, Europe Outlook interviews senior managers in Oracle EMEA including the Vice Presidents of Product Strategy, Product Development and Security & Identity Solutions. Plus, we take an in-depth look inside the Oracle brand, showcasing how the company sees the importance of cloud, social, mobile and critical applications in changing the way we do business today.

Writers Matt Bone & Emily Jarvis
Project Manager Donovan Smith

SOCIAL
Richard Beattie, EMEA Applications Senior Director, Marketing Cloud & Social Cloud

What's Oracles View on how Social Media is changing enterprise business?
Here's a lesson CMOs and CIOs should take to heart: yesterday's enterprise social strategy won't work today, and today's won't work tomorrow. Why? Well, let's examine a few core principles of the social environment.

Social is global. It's important to realise that at least 75% of the traffic on Facebook and Twitter comes from outside the United States. To borrow a phrase, the world is flat. It's a global marketplace, thanks in part to social networking, and brands are launching globally. No matter what type it is or where it's located, a company today needs to have a presence that scales globally.

That's where social marketing can play an important role. Social takes marketing global - but only if the capability is built in. That capability includes, for example, support for multiple languages, including idioms and slang, and for multiple social platforms, such as Renren, the Chinese version of Facebook.

Social is ubiquitous. At work, employees want to use the same tools, and have the same online experiences they have in their personal lives: content sharing, newsfeeds, messaging, etc. Similarly, customers want to interact with their vendors the same way they interact with their friends. Today's consumers don't buy products; they invest in brands. And they don't want to interact with a department; they want to do business with a peer.

In terms of enterprise strategy, social entered by way of the marketing department but is rapidly extending its reach across organisations' various divisions. For example, human resource managers have realised that they can use social capability to help retain their best employees as well as to seek out the best new prospects.

Social is real-time. Twitter upped the ante in terms of the time element involved in social networking. In the Twitter-sphere, conversations begin, explode and trail off in what seems like the blink of an eye. Unfortunately, the damage to a company's reputation incurred from a negative Twitter blast can last a very long time.

So, I ask organisations everywhere: How well have you kept up? If you created your enterprise social strategy more than a year ago, chances are you weren't factoring in at least some of these trends and capabilities. For instance, is your strategy truly global? Does it extend internally across your organisation? Is Twitter a part of that strategy? And is the lesson of Twitter - listening closely and reacting in real time - a critical element?

How is social affecting modern marketing?
If you're a marketing leader, you often need to think like an artist. Using the right tone and pitch in your Facebook messages; crafting the storyboard for your 25-second YouTube video; evoking an emotional response with one simple tweet–these things require intuition, a sense of taste, and the courage to act without precedent.

At the same time, marketing executives must understand hard science. If you're looking to derive customer insights from social data and big data, you need tools that will allow you to be uncompromisingly objective. That's why marketing technologies are increasingly appropriating methods from behavioural economics, psychology, and statistics–and eliminating unnecessary guesswork in the process.

Here are some of the social marketing related topics and questions that modern marketing leaders need to tackle:

The Science
- It's vital that marketers understand the technology of social networks, those that are here and those yet to come. What are their functions? What value proposition do they offer marketing?

- Marketers must think about ways to integrate those networks into one manageable platform for efficient publishing and facilitating a comprehensive picture of your social analytics.

- With organic reach dropping and the importance of paid social rising, how can companies work with paid social media partners to quickly leverage top performing content and extend their reach and engagement?

- Listening to the customer has become every bit as important as pushing marketing messages. Your social listening tool should alert you to the current hot topic in your space, what the public is saying about you, where the competition is messing up so you can offer better solutions, how people are responding to your campaigns, and the overall sentiment for your brand.

- An enterprise work flow system means tasks can be assigned and managed and customer communications can be routed to the right person for the fastest response and resolution.

All these tools point to an ideal: the social-enabled enterprise, in which social weaves not only through marketing functions, but connects to other enterprise systems such as CRM, sales, HR, and fulfilment for the most powerful use of big data imaginable.

The Art
Tech is far from the answer to every marketing challenge. Creativity is not only still vital - it's even more door- die as content quality separates winners from losers.

- As a marketing leader, what skills should you look for in identifying creative talent?

- Brands now have to be "liked," so you can't realistically proceed with no brand voice and personality. People don't connect with entities, they connect with humans. There's an intuitive art to striking a chord with people and making them want to associate with you.

- You often hear about how effective it is to surprise and delight customers. Yes, tech can show what your audience tends to like, but creating something that truly catches them off guard and sweeps them off their feet is an art.

Social is but one part of the modern marketing ecosystem. But perhaps more than any other component, as a result of being in the trenches of day-to-day brand/ customer relationship building and nurturing, social is where you're likely to find the most even mix of art and science.

CLOUD
Richard Garsthagen, Director Cloud Business Development, and Ian Tickle, VP, EMEA SaaS Solutions

Briefly talk us through the core elements of cloud computing
Cloud computing is a model for enabling ubiquitous, convenient, on demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction. This definition from the National Institute of Standards has gained broad support from the industry.

The NIST definition of cloud computing describes essential characteristics, service models and deployment models.

Five Essential Characteristics
- On-demand self service
- Resource pooling
- Rapid elasticity (IT resources are able to scale out and in quickly and on an as-needed basis)
- Measured service, including chargeback
- Broad network access

Three Service Models
-Software as a Service (SaaS) – Applications delivered as a service to end-users typically through a web browser.

-Platform as a Service (PaaS) – An application development and deployment platform delivered as a service to developers who use the platform to build, deploy and manage applications. The platform typically includes database, middleware, development and management tools

-Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) – Compute servers, storage, and networking hardware delivered as a service. This infrastructure hardware is often virtualised, so virtualisation, operating system and management software are also part of IaaS as well.

Deployment Models
Private Clouds – For exclusive use by a single organisation and typically controlled, managed and hosted by the organisation's IT department. The hosting and operation of private clouds may also be outsourced to a third party service provider, but a private cloud remains for the exclusive use of one organisation.

Public Clouds – For use by multiple organisations (tenants) on a shared basis and hosted and managed by a third party service provider. Public clouds are a form of outsourcing. The degree of resource sharing varies – shared resources can include some or all of facilities, network, storage, computing servers, databases, middleware and applications.

Hybrid Clouds – When a single organisation adopts both private and public clouds for single and/or multiple applications in order to take advantage of the benefits of both.

Modern cloud computing technology can help organisations see new business opportunities and innovate faster, because less it reduces risk and speeds up provision of resources. Whereas with traditional IT, organisations have to invest up front in resources to build the solution, not knowing if it will be successful. With most forms of cloud computing, this upfront investment is replaced by a "pay as you go" model which allows organisations to grow or scale down their IT as needed. This is how Oracle Cloud Solutions – the most complete and integrated cloud offerings in the industry – are helping people at all levels of their organisations succeed in modern business:

- Oracle Cloud - Oracle's broad portfolio of software as a service applications, platform as a service, and social capabilities, all on a subscription basis.

- Oracle Private Cloud Products - Oracle's comprehensive portfolio of best-in-class, integrated applications, platform, and infrastructure products and solutions.

- Oracle Managed Cloud Services - Oracle's enterprise-grade, end-to-end managed cloud services across its broad portfolio of business applications, middleware, database, and hardware technologies.

- Oracle Services provides services across the lifecycle to help you plan your path to cloud and stay optimised.

What are the main trends in Europe around cloud computing?
Cloud computing is transforming the way businesses operate, streamlining processes and creating greater cost efficiencies. Demand for cloud is exploding. Of the 150 executives interviewed in UK, France and Germany for recent research for the Financial Times, 87% say their firm is already using cloud computing. (82% UK, 84% France, 94% Germany).

What's driving cloud implementation? Cost is the overwhelming driving force behind corporate cloud implementation. When surveyed, 30% of respondents say that lower operating cost is the key driver. Reinforcing this point, a further 30% say that infrastructure costs are the major factor.

Businesses clearly recognise the transformational effect that cloud can have on corporate balance sheets. By shifting services onto the cloud, the costs associated with traditional IT, such as servers, software, staffing and maintenance, are considerably reduced. This has an impact on both capital and operational expenditure. "By implementing cloud, we end up paying a low, predictable, flat-rate monthly fee per user for the software that we use, which means that we can scale up or down as our business needs demand," explains one UK-based CIO. "When we take on more staff, we can switch on new licences immediately, and similarly turn off the tap if we scale down."

Improved resource allocation is also seen as important by respondents, with 19% highlighting a more efficient use of people and processes as their main reason for adopting cloud. For IT departments, this implies a transition to new value-added roles. "The IT workload is reduced because of cloud and the team is able to focus on improving the company by bringing new ideas that could enhance our processes," says a France-based CIO.

Geographical Differences
While there are significant areas of commonality between France, Germany and the UK, there are differences among respondents regarding the drivers underpinning cloud implementation. This is clearly seen with lower infrastructure costs: while 40% of French respondents point to this as the most important factor, only 20% of German respondents do so. In part, these national variations can be accounted for by differences in maturity levels. Businesses in Germany are ahead of their counterparts in France and the UK in terms of cloud adoption, with 94% of German firms in the survey already using cloud. Based on our research, it seems that organisations tend to de-emphasise the importance of lower infrastructure costs once they start using cloud, with firms shifting focus to new areas of differentiation.

Where do firms deploy cloud? Cloud is seldom implemented across an entire organisation as a single project. Instead, most organisations adopt a bespoke approach to cloud adoption. Sales/CRM represents the single-most prominent department for cloud deployment, with 30% of firms implementing cloud solutions in this area. Marketing is the second most popular, with an average of 19% of organisations introducing cloud, followed by operations and logistics (15%) and product development (13%). Research, human resources and accounting amount to less than 10% each.

Where is cloud computing headed what's next?
When it comes to the cloud, businesses are going to have one immediate responsibility: understanding which applications are going to increase productivity while making the business more efficient. This will involve deploying cloud solutions that will add value to the whole organisation including marketing, HR, the supply chain, customer engagement and sales, amongst others.

Concurrently, the Chief Information Officer will continue to evolve into the 'Chief Innovation Officer' – a role that feeds directly into the business goals of the organisation. The CIO will increasingly work much more closely to the CFO and the CEO to drive business growth through cloud applications and infrastructure. All three will become much more tech-savvy.

The Future of the Cloud also lies in Openness
Customers want choice, and this will drive the development of interoperable cloud technologies that they can mix at will. Businesses will use both public cloud services and private cloud services in tandem across a unified infrastructure. Importantly, these services will be accessible via a range of devices, many of which will be employee owned. These services will also be 'socialised', making them easy to use and helping to increase collaborative working.

Another key issue, related to openness, is integration. It is essential, in a future, hybrid-cloud world, that cloud-based and on premises applications can talk to each other to ensure an accurate and complete view of an organisation's key data. As Larry Ellison himself put it, in a joint announcement with salesforce.com: "When you move to the cloud, companies don't expect a multi hundred million dollar project to make their CRM from salesforce work with ERP from Oracle. We have to make that implementation work out of the box." This announcement was the first in a series of announcements of cloud connector capabilities from Oracle, all of which go to underline the importance of integration across a hybrid cloud environment for businesses as they plan their future in the cloud.

MOBILE
Alan Hartwell, Vice President Security & Identity Solutions, EMEA

How is Oracle making the mobilisation of business applications more secure?
The emergence of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is technological trend which is set to have a massive impact on people's business lives. From the business perspective, the savings alone in procurement and network costs can mean that BYOD more than pays for itself - and that's before you take into account its other advantages, such as increased employee productivity, reduced hardware costs for IT and an improved ability to attract the best of today's young talent. And for people at work, BYOD offers clear advantages of familiarity and flexibility in getting to grips with the job at hand. So why, might you ask, are businesses not universally embracing such a clearly advantageous trend? It would seem that worries about security means that many companies across Europe are hanging back. Nearly half of businesses (44%) dislike BYOD or only allow it in exceptional circumstances. Security, be it of device or of information, is the main concern expressed by the vast majority of respondents, but that 44% of "BYOD Deniers" are even more concerned, as well they might be, since around two-thirds of them are permitting unmanaged and/or unencrypted business data on employees' personal devices.

And it needn't be so. As Alan Hartwell, Oracle EMEA's VP of Security and Identity Solutions says, "Technologies such as containerisation, end-to-end encryption and device and application management integrated with a unified enterprise identity store can secure BYOD environments. These are all capabilities available today within Oracle's mobile portfolio and deployed by Global Fortune 100 customers. It is vital that stakeholders within the BYOD ecosystem make this clear to their businesses. This should result in a major increase in the number of European organisations gaining the benefits offered by BYOD."

Oracle itself has a compelling offering here – the Oracle Mobile Security Suite, which can securely extend identity services and policies to mobile devices through authentication, policy enforcement, and single sign-on between applications. It provides a trusted and independent mobile workspace for enterprise applications, email, and data; securely extends all identity services and policies of the enterprise user to their personal mobile device; and delivers centralised management for auditing and enforcement, reducing the cost of complex mobile environments. Technology is set to have an increasingly significant impact on our business and personal lives. And these two research projects really underline and bring to life how IT is set to change our businesses and improve our lives.

JAVA
Henrik Stahl, Vice President, Product Development

With Java being used by Smartphone developers, how is Oracle pushing Java's use in other communication mediums?
One of the biggest technology trends in 2014 will be one that remains essentially invisible to the vast majority of people on the planet, even though its eventual impact on humankind will be dramatic. The Internet of Things (IoT) - also known as the Industrial Internet, the Internet of Everything, and the Internet of Nouns - will finally become a reality in 2014, principally due to the rapidly falling cost of manufacturing power-efficient wireless chipsets capable of sending and receiving WiFi and Bluetooth low-energy signals. The future will be significantly influenced by Machine-to-Machine (M2M) communication. And Java has a key role to play in the development of the offerings.

The cost of adding connectivity to a device has now fallen to less than US$5.00, and these processors, with their built-in radios, can work for more than a year on batteries. Ultimately, these chips may even be able to "sip" energy harvested from their ambient environment, including stray electromagnetic radiation, thermal gradients, or even the rustle of a breeze. This will make them ubiquitous in machines, devices, transportation, and even individuals. While the most ubiquitous IoT device, the smartphone - which already incorporates sensors such as accelerometer, compass, and GPS - exists in hundreds of millions of pockets, 2014 will see cheap, ubiquitous, wireless sensors invade the physical environment. Smartphones will become wireless hubs for these low-energy devices, enabling consumers and infrastructure to become hyper-connected to each other, to their environment, and potentially to any other resource on the Internet.

The first applications of the Internet of Things will be in business processes such as the remote maintenance of industrial machinery, supply-chain optimisation and security, and infrastructure management.

The resultant streams of data, emerging in real or near real-time, will be a boon to networking, storage, analytics, and visualisation companies. The amount of data forecast from "things" is poised to dwarf that from humans. Providing actionable intelligence from these large, noisy, incomplete, and potentially conflicting streams of data will keep statisticians, analysts, and user interface/experience designers busy for decades. Indeed, one of the biggest challenges of the IoT will be turning the data into engaging "nudges" that modify human behaviour in sustainable or habit-forming ways. (Of course, for consumer companies, habit-forming may include stoking an addiction to buying their particular product or service!)

There are many reasons why Oracle's Java Embedded technologies are ideal for smart devices in M2M architectures. Java offers comprehensive functionality for resource-constrained devices, with the highest level of functionality, security, connectivity and scalability in the industry – all delivered through a massive ecosystem of more than nine million Java developers worldwide.

And, as a standards-based language, Java provides code portability in M2M environments, accelerating time to market as new generations of sensor technology emerge. In addition, secure, in-market device software updates extend product lifecycles and allow new services to be provisioned remotely.

BIG DATA
Paul Sonderegger, Oracle's Big Data Strategist

How should organisations incorporate big data into a competitive strategy?
The twin forces of digitisation and datafication seem to bring big data disruption to every industry. Long-standing music, news, and television giants are reeling. Uber has taxi companies running scared across the globe. And Google's might compelled two of the world's leading advertising agencies to attempt an ultimately unsuccessful merger.

But digitisation and datafication are not specific technologies owned by one firm. They're methods open to all. But getting disrupted by these methods depends not on whether you're an incumbent or an upstart. It depends on your big data strategy.

Strategy, according to Michael Porter, the world's foremost authority on the topic, is choosing to create a unique value in a unique way. It's not enough to offer a product or service customers can get only from you. You also have to create and deliver those products and services in ways your competition can't easily copy. Because every activity in a company both uses and produces information, data can make new products and services, and new ways of delivering them, possible.

But how do you incorporate big data into your competitive strategy? Here are the four critical steps:

1. DATAFY MORE ACTIVITIES
Data comes from digitising activities. Putting vibration sensors on calibrated manufacturing equipment, providing mobile diagnostic apps to patients with chronic medical conditions, even automating additional human resource processes adds potential value to your stock of data.

2. CREATE PROPRIETARY DATA ASSETS
Think of interactions with customers and suppliers as territory to claim before the competition does. If you can get a mobile app into their hands first, you alone capture the data from using it. When tapping third party data like twitter feeds and Facebook posts which may be equally accessible to rivals, combine it with customer or transaction data only you have. Like pouring milk into a cup of coffee, a dollop of private data mixed with public data makes the whole concoction unique.

3 USE DATA TO MAKE DATA The very act of using data creates additional data for further use. A financial services firm checks person-to-person mobile payments for fraud with machinelearning algorithms. The data produced by scoring each of the transactions then becomes input to make the algorithm more effective. This big data flywheel effect is a key part of the most successful online consumer services like Google, Amazon, and Uber.

4 FIND YOUR INNER PLATFORM Technology competition tends to revolve around platforms with winner-take-all network effects. This happened with PCs, and is happening again with Smartphones. As digitisation and datafication spread into more industries, platform competition follows. For many companies, this may require some bold thinking. For example, a large bank in Spain started a mobile ad-delivery service that helps retailers tailor offers to consumers based on combinations of banking and social media data, plus geographic data from ATM use. Inviting other banks to participate in this already innovative service could transform it into a true platform whose increased value would more than make up for having to give pieces of the pie to other banks.

Never send to know for whom the big data bell tolls; it tolls for thee. But an effective big data strategy can turn digitisation and datafication to your advantage.

ENGINEERED SYSTEMS
John Abel, Senior Director, Business Development

What's the business value of Oracle's "Engineered Systems" approach?
The basic integration of hardware, virtualisation and management software into factory-assembled products has been happening for several years, largely driven by the desire to help the owners and operators of data centres to do more with less cost and risk. Oracle has taken a unique approach that reached further up the technology stack to include, and optimise, the application software that lies at the heart of the enterprise.

For most enterprises, and certainly most of Oracle's customers, it is the applications (and their enabling middleware and database software) that matter most. Oracle has become one of the largest technology companies in the world on the strength of our extensive portfolio of software products, and our strategy with Oracle Engineered Systems has therefore been to develop infrastructure that is both easier for data center operators to deploy and operate and which delivers unique optimisations which enhance the performance, reliability, manageability, efficiency to the owners of the applications and software that are essential to the business and are driving the lions share of overall IT investment. Simply put, Oracle's Engineered Systems are more than reference architectures or pre-integrated hardware infrastructure building blocks. Oracle's Engineered Systems are each designed to support specific high-value, mission critical software workloads, from industry-specific applications and ERP to database, middleware, big data and analytics.

Oracle's unique position as the only vendor offering a complete portfolio of applications, database, middleware, storage, compute platforms, networking, virtualisation, operating systems and management has given us a huge advantage over our competitors which we are augmenting at an already rapid and accelerating pace.

The benefits of Oracle's Engineered Systems are not at all hard to characterise and are, at some level, common to all of the products in our Engineered systems portfolio:

- Shorter implementation time

- Better reliability and reduced downtime

- Better performance and resource efficiency

- Lower software license and ongoing costs and higher software ROI

- Better investment protection and business continuity

Oracle customers all over Europe are making the decision to take steps now, in the right direction. Here is just a sample of the customers in Europe who have gained major business benefit from adopting Oracle Engineered Systems:

- Banca Transilvania
- Atos IT Solutions
- Deutsche Telekom
- Raiffeisen
- Swiss Re
- Immonet GmbH
- dunnhumby
- DB Schenker Rail
- Centrica
- CaixaBank
- Kabel Deutschland

HUMAN RESOURCES
Andy Campbell, HCM Cloud Sales Evangelist

How can forward-looking HR professionals gain advantage using analytical tools?
The traditional business analysis tools available to most HR executives often limit their ability to shape company strategy, and provide little more than the ability to scrutinise backward looking efficiency metrics to gauge success. When one compares a business' payroll costs to its overall expenses however, it becomes evident that its people are, as the saying goes, its most valuable assets. With this in mind, it becomes critical to provide HR directors with a set of comprehensive analytical tools that simplify the synthesis of relevant data and promote the realisation of valuable business intelligence.

The more complete a business's data is, the more thorough its analytics will be. By embedding the availability of HR data into their workforce's business processes, organisations can promote a steady flow of relevant information. This ultimately means that people have access to the right information when and where they need it, and can therefore perform their jobs more easily and more effectively. In addition, keeping the data channel open to employees even when they are mobile will ensure that this exchange remains active at all times. Therefore, an ideal HR analytics tool should also be pervasive, and allow businesses to share relevant information with their employees quickly and in high-quality, no matter what device they are viewing it on.

Given that the complexity of HR data increases as a business expands its offerings, a tool that quickly consolidates this data to help perform a holistic HR investigation becomes an indispensable analytics asset. When HR data is combined with additional company data, the operational divides that traditionally exist within a business are broken down. With the power to overcome this silo effect in a whole new way, companies can convert what were once discrete sets of static information into powerful business intelligence. For example, a retail store manager who collects HR information relating to employee income, and studies these in light of broader sales, profit, and customer footfall data, will gain unique insight into his or her staff's performance that will in turn enable better workforce management.

The ability to anticipate changes in workforce behaviour and performance is extremely constructive, and gives businesses an unprecedented head-start in developing and retaining their top talent. Predictive HR analytics provide businesses with the insight they need to make more proactive personnel decisions. This enables HR executives to develop forward-thinking strategies aimed at ensuring that their present and future hires make the most positive long-term impact on their business.

CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE
Brian Curran, VP, Product Strategy

How does an organisation become the brand of choice?
The unifying thread between the brands consistently voted the world's "best" is a high level of brand equity. These companies consistently strike a visceral and highly emotional chord with consumers.

To build exceptional brand equity, businesses must first establish what their brand stands for explicitly. Brand equity is built on emotion, and ultimately customers' perceptions of a company will impact how it defines its brand image. As such, the extent to which businesses can gain insight into this sentiment determines in large part how well their brand is received.

To tap into customers' emotions, businesses need to anticipate their needs and intentions and engage with them proactively based on their learnings.

For this approach to succeed, companies must ensure that every aspect of their business is geared towards delivering on their brand's promises. To achieve this, they first need to fully map peoples' customer journey, including how they inform themselves, how they interact with their products, and how their relationship with a brand evolves over time.

Customers today are motivated by two drivers: the desire for control and the desire for ease. People today expect 24/7 access to the brands they interact with, including immediate response via the social media channels that have become so central to peoples' lives.

In addition, they expect all communications with a brand to be seamless and efficient, especially as the shopping experience now crosses multiple platforms – online, mobile, in store – in the course of one purchase.

The Role of Emotion in Brand Equity
The way that customers think about brands is essentially through a series of associations made up of feelings, sounds, images and understandings. Every one of these has an impact on how the brand is perceived, its equity and ultimately whether a purchase is made or not. As such, brand equity is built through eliciting positive emotional responses from customers; the goal of the business should be to shape brand associations so that positive associations come to mind easily and, in turn, predispose consumers to their brands.

If businesses can provide control and ease of engagement to customers then this emotional need is largely met. If customers are able to contact the brand however they want and get through immediately to have their needs met with minimal fuss boosts satisfaction and the brand's equity increases accordingly.

How can companies be successful by meeting customers' needs?
Traditional means of boosting customer engagement are no longer enough, as people today have become more discerning than ever and have begun to impose their own terms on how the brand experience is delivered to them.

Businesses now need to connect with customers on an emotional level – a task that has become very difficult to achieve in today's fast-shifting market.

Established companies have struggled with the scale of change required to adapt in-full, and have instead opted for a half-way house. As a result, many of them are failing to make the wholesale transformation required to prosper in today's consumer-driven environment.

To overcome the limitations that legacy systems place on their evolution, businesses need to turn to the customer (CX) specialists in their company, and empower them by tapping into their "intrapreneurial" spirit.

To lighten the load, what's required is nothing less than a fundamental change in how businesses think and work. The rule book needs to be torn up and organisations need to look afresh at what the customer journey looks like today – how customers engage with brands and how they fulfil their needs in a meaningful way. Based on what they find they then need to rebuild their entire organisation around the new customer-centric reality. In practice this requires something very special.

Intrapreneurs bring an entrepreneurial flair to the business. They are disruptors that take on the critical task of forcing-through much needed internal innovation by legacy burdened companies.

A major challenge for businesses today is to align their internal structure with how their brand is perceived by consumers. People do not see the silos – marketing, sales, service and so on – that have historically divided companies. What they see and interact with is one consistent brand and image.

Intrapreneurs realise every department across a business must come together for it to start considering strategy in simpler, more unified terms, and fulfil the needs of modern customers.

Put plainly, those businesses that still operate in siloes will fail. They will be supplanted by organisations that are tightly-woven, with processes and methodologies specifically designed to get the organisation working as one to deliver the very best customer experiences. The key for organisations now is to ensure they have the right intrapreneurial talent in place to help instigate and drive this disruptive transformation before legacy-free competitors win the race for market share. For customer experience professionals the onus is on them to grab the challenge by the horns and see what they can do to change how their business understands and engages with its customers. They must transform themselves into intrapreneurs before they can transform the company.

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