Jnan R. Dash can tell people why they need to pay close attention to changes in technology.

As part of a Wednesday presentation at a Utah Information Technologies Association luncheon, the Oracle Corp. executive told a short story about two men camping in the jungle.As they wake up one morning, they see a lion poised to attack. In response, one man puts on his running shoes.

The other asks, "Do you think you can outrun the lion?"

"I don't have to outrun the lion," the first man says. "I just have to outrun you."

In the world of technology, that means the company that is comfortable today could be lunch tomorrow, said Dash, vice president of advanced technology and strategy for Oracle.

Dash said the computer industry will continue to witness rapid technological shifts into the next century. Clever companies will make money off of those shifts, he said, and the others will be wiped out.

"Some of us will be gone if we're not careful," he said, adding that the emergence of the Internet has shown how rapid change can come. "In the last 30 months, we have seen a tidal wave."

In 1992, Dash joined Oracle, the world's second-largest software company, after 16 years at IBM. Oracle is based in Redwood Shores, Calif. Dash has lived through the excitement of the growth of computing, he said, but that does not mean today's companies are doing everything right.

For example, Dash said, software engineering does not have any discipline, meaning projects often come in late and cost more than their budgets. The myth that software development is a mysterious art form needs to change, he said.

Dash also said executives need to realize the importance of network computing, which can save them time and labor.

And he said they should be prepared for the growth of "e-commerce," or customer-to-business and business-to-business transactions on the World Wide Web.

"People are experimenting," he said. "That is going to grow."