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October 1, 2014

Engineering a Bright, New Future

Posted by Ravi Kumar S. (View Profile | View All Posts) at 2:34 AM

Vishal Sikka's keynote address highlights from Oracle OpenWorld [Source: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xxGi7dzqf7w]

Of all the enlightening experiences I've had so far at Oracle OpenWorld, perhaps the most interesting is that voice they keep playing in the central courtyard between all the exhibition halls. The man essentially says: We're not in the smart phone age. We're not in the tablet age. We're not in the mainframe age or the Cloud age. Then he pauses and says: We're in the Information Age.

They keep that soundtrack on a loop. So whenever I'm outside, walking between the vast convention halls, I keep hearing that voice. I've been pondering the distinctions the man (perhaps it's a voiceover by Larry Ellison himself) keeps making about what defines this age. Information. Notice how our era isn't defined by a piece of hardware. It's what is stored and is amplified on all that hardware.

One of the biggest themes this week at Oracle OpenWorld is Engineered Systems. It's how the industry describes the way in which hardware and software is coming together. It took a long time to do so, didn't it? Well, not really. Most enterprises in the technology world were symbiotic. They focused on their core competencies and everything worked well for decades. Software companies wrote software and hardware companies manufactured the hardware that ran the software.

To be sure, there remain Apple devotees and Microsoft fans. But what was once a rivalry between certain software and hardware companies (for what they believed was the future of the industry) sure has simmered down. In fact, Intel's CEO, Renée James, told the opening night crowd at Oracle OpenWorld that going forward, software-defined architecture will dominate the business. That's a huge affirmation of the potential inherent in Engineered Systems.

When Dr. Sikka, said yesterday during his executive keynote that learning doesn't stop when you've graduated from college, he meant that Infosys is going to continue to recruit the best and brightest in the industry. And that this newly revitalized enterprise will foster a culture of learning throughout its many businesses. Dr. Sikka also said that we won't just be learning by working with Fortune 500 companies but also by partnering with innovative start-ups. One thing's for certain: There's going to be a lot of learning going on at Infosys.

That's because we understand that no longer do vast corporations dictate products and services to consumers. It's the other way around - we learn from them. "There are sensors everywhere," said Dr. Sikka. "But with those sensors come tremendous opportunities." He was talking about the revolution in the retail industry. Yet all companies are now driven by the information they cull from their consumers and they're learning how to better adapt to the constantly changing marketplace.

There's a reason, I think, that Dr. Sikka ended his executive keynote address to Oracle OpenWorld with images of a beautiful flower garden. The company under his direction is blossoming anew. It's building on an impressive, illustrious past. We're focusing on building great industry apps for everyone in as many industries as you can think of. And in front of this huge initiative stands the digital consumer. We know it and our partners know it.

As I walked to the Infosys booth at Oracle OpenWorld and sat down for a few moments to discuss with potential partners the exciting opportunities ahead of them, I realized that we are indeed living in an age defined by information. It's the ideal moniker for an era in which we all have a lot more to learn from each other. That voice in the courtyard is right. And getting there will be half the fun.

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