Music to Oracle’s Ears

Story By: Neil Cotiaux
Photos By: Jesse Nogales

Alexis Langagne, vice president of operations for North America, believes communications, analytical and change-agent skills are critical

Alexis Langagne, vice president of operations for North America, believes communications, analytical and change-agent skills are critical


Growing up in Mexico City, Alexis Langagne had his feet on the ground and his head in the clouds.

The son of an architect father and psychologist mother, Langagne seemed smart from the start. At the same time, he felt compelled to listen to his musical muse.

So Langagne took up the drums at age 6 while attending a Montessori-style school. “I used to practice with, you know, wastebaskets and whatever tool was available at home,” he remembers. And practice made perfect.

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As he breezed through academics, graduating from high school at 16, his parents acquiesced to their son’s creative urge and arranged to have him study with internationally renowned drummer Al Lopez. “But I had to practice between six and eight hours a day,” Langagne says. “And then I had a rock band.”

But a “left brain, right brain” dichotomy eventually saw him drifting away from music to pursue a physics-engineering degree at the Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana.

“I was completely passionate,” he says, just as he was with music. “I was very curious to learn about the corporate world, and that’s how I started my career in the information technology industry,” he explains. Over the past quarter-century, Langagne, now 49, has moved among companies (IBM, Hewlett-Packard, and Oracle); regions (Latin America, Asia-Pacific and North America); and disciplines (sales, marketing, operations and strategic planning) and earned an MBA along the way.

He’s convinced that his years as a musician instilled in him a greater power of concentration while his immersion in the sciences allowed him to deal with technological change more readily – two qualities that helped him succeed in a series of assignments culminating in his current role as Vice President of Operations for North America at Oracle.

About 18 months ago, Langagne says, he realized that he wanted to work for a company committed to innovation “where the cloud and all the digital transformation trends are going, and I thought Oracle was a fantastic company,” he says. His transition to Oracle was helped along by a former boss at Hewlett-Packard who was already on board.

“The cloud basically eliminates, pretty much, barriers for any type of technology to be offered in the market,” Langagne says, and Oracle’s global business units enable the company to provide industry- specific applications for running a core business on-premises or in the cloud.

The tech giant enjoys strong partnerships with more than two dozen industries, helping clients innovate faster, increase productivity, lower costs, and benefit from enhanced security features.

It continues to roll out product enhancements. Oracle Autonomous Database, for example, enables clients to run the company’s technology in the cloud, at client data centers for on-premises workloads, or both.

Langagne believes artificial intelligence and machine learning will play an ever-larger role in Oracle’s offerings.

“Basically, think about it as being surrounded by all types of devices, wired or wireless devices that can capture any information that passes through them and then you can leverage that information to build intelligence inside and outside of our brains,” he says.

“Less than 15% of our on-premise applications customers have begun to migrate their applications to the cloud. We have a huge opportunity in front of us,” CEO Mark Hurd said in announcing Fiscal 2018 Q3 revenues, up 6% from a year earlier, with total cloud revenues up 32 percent.

On March 22, Oracle officially opened its latest hub for cloud sales in Austin, Texas. With myriad amenities on the 560,000-square-foot campus and company-owned housing across the street, “It’s designed for inspiring, supporting, and attracting the top talent,” Langagne says.

“I think with the next generation it’s going to be a tremendous challenge,” he says candidly. “Because on the one hand, yes, they want to be virtual and they like to be virtual but … you also have to have human interaction and you have to have knowledge-sharing capabilities not just based on technologies,” the North American operations chief believes.

With change as a constant, “There are things that you control, there are things that you don’t control. Just embrace the change, do your best, and it’s going to be good at the end of the road, I think,” is Langagne’s optimistic message to those who follow in his footsteps.