Bob Evans has taken on a newly created role at Oracle — articulating the software giant's strategy and business value to more than 100,000 customers around the globe. He reports directly to CEO Larry Ellison as senior vice president of communications. The job is one for which Evans is well prepared, having spent more than 30 years as a technology journalist — most recently as editor of InformationWeek's Global CIO — covering the hot issues in enterprise IT.
Evans is a translator of sorts, helping businesses understand how technology can be a strategic advantage. He evangelizes ways of communicating with customers — not only to address the new non-IT decision makers and the accelerated pace of decision making — but also to engage them in a dialogue that accelerates product development and time to benefit.
He will discuss strategies for moving at the speed of the customer in his keynote address at the Fall 2012 Channel Partners Conference & Expo. Channel Partners Editor-in-Chief Khali Henderson interviewed Evans for this preview of his remarks. What follows is an edited transcript.
Channel Partners: What excites you most about the direction of the IT/communications industry?
Bob Evans: Endless innovation and opportunity improves quality of life and standard of living for hundreds of millions of people across the globe. ... The power of the competitive market has forced better ideas to the top, more choices for consumers. All these consumer-oriented benefits are made possible by the business community that has harnessed technology, new ideas, new approaches, hard work [and] innovation to create these new sorts of goods and services that are improving the standard of living around the world, created jobs, sparked ideas for new companies [and] entrepreneurship.
CP: Conversely, what keeps you up at night?
BE: Intervention/regulation of the tech industry by governments and other bureaucrats. ... Some government oversight is helpful, but there is a point at which it begins to blunt innovation. I think it becomes busybodies that want to get involved in things. [For example, there are proposals that] the United Nations should take over the Internet because it's a global good, it's a global entity that private enterprise shouldn't have control of. It's those sorts of things that I worry about. ... I think what we want to do is create an era where the government does what it should do and gets the hell out of the way, so that entrepreneurs and business people with the best ideas and the best work ethic and creativity succeed.
What are the top three messages you hope to communicate in your keynote address?