Thursday Aug 28, 2014

‘Simple is the new cool’ in the Oracle Sales Cloud user experience

By Misha Vaughan, Oracle Applications User Experience

Oracle has pivoted quickly to embrace elegant, streamlined simplicity in its cloud user experience strategy. These user experience designs required no changes in the Oracle technology stack. The Applications User Experience (UX) team, which is responsible for the simplified user interface (UI) in the Oracle Applications Cloud, took a hard look at what Oracle already had and said, ”How do we move this into the future?”

Oracle Vice President Jeremy Ashley, who leads the Applications User Experience team, set a challenge to focus on the following:

The user experience you see in the Oracle Sales Cloud, now available in release 8, really starts to expose our team’s focus on a consistent, repeatable, light-touch experience with a guiding design philosophy that we call “Glance, Scan, Commit.”

Oracle Sales Cloud Mobile Oracle Sales Cloud Dashboard
Oracle Sales Cloud for sales reps is available on a smartphone, tablet, and laptop.

Here are some easy-to-digest, quick-hit videos that recap some of the basic use experience features in release 8. 

What are other folks saying about the user experience?

I like this perspective from Floyd Teter (@fteter), of Sierra-Cedar.  “We've all heard it: ‘simple is the new cool’," Floyd says. “It's true. We certainly see it in the UX world. Simple designs for human interaction. Tell me what I need to do, how to do it, and make it easy. If I only had a dollar for every time I heard that mantra ... and when we consider the market moving to the cloud, UX is the major differentiation -- and simple is carrying the day every day.”

ZDNet’s Natalie Gagliordi saw the direction the investment is heading, according to this post on release 8: “Oracle is upping its efforts to improve the user experience of Sales Cloud, announcing Wednesday a new release of the platform with enhancements focused on boosting sales productivity and improving the SFA mobile experience for sales reps and managers.”

J. Bruce Daley cites six key aspects that customers ought to consider when evaluating release 8, and among these is usability. “Oracle beefed up the user interface and gave the product a more consumer-like look and feel,” he said. “User adoption is an area the company is investing heavily in, to improve not only in the way the product looks but also the way it works.”

What’s next, in release 9 and beyond?

Killian Evers
Killian Evers

In July at the Oracle Headquarters Usability Labs in Redwood Shores, Calif., Killian Evers, Senior Director of the Sales Cloud User experience, hosted an Oracle Sales Cloud UX Customer Seminar called “Connecting and Innovating Together.”

The event was targeted to existing Oracle Sales Cloud customers and provided a chance to talk through Oracle’s UX strategy and roadmap, and to take feedback on the design direction. Customers got to see firsthand what Oracle's vision is and provide feedback about their user experience needs. 

Kristin Desmond Tim Dubois Greg Nerpouni

Kristin Desmond, from left, Tim Dubois, and Greg Nerpouni.

Included in the agenda was a review of the newly available UX enhancements in Oracle Sales Cloud Release 8, followed by a discussion with Kristin Desmond, Director, who talked about what’s coming next after release 8. Tim Dubois and Greg Nerpouni delivered a one-two combination with a review of newly available UX extensibility enhancements in release 8 and the forward-looking UX extensibility roadmap.  

Jake Kuramoto
Jake Kuramoto

Jake Kuramoto (@jkuramot) of the OAUX AppsLab showed upcoming UX innovations for the Oracle Sales Cloud. Also featured throughout the day were a series of one-on-one usability activities to provide feedback to the Oracle Sales Cloud UX team on novel designs.

Event Poster

Where do I find out more?

If you can’t find us on the road, you can start by checking out a few more videos. The Oracle Sales Cloud team has worked hard to put together easy-to-digest views of what the product looks and feels like.

If you want to see whether you are ready to take on the Oracle Sales Cloud, take a pass through some our Release 8 readiness documentation.

Thursday Aug 21, 2014

Attend Onsite Product Usability Testing or Tour Oracle HQ Usability Labs during Oracle OpenWorld 2014

 By Gozel Aamoth, Oracle Applications User Experience

Oracle OpenWorld  is the world’s largest business and technology event, featuring thousands of sessions, including keynotes, technical sessions, demos, and hands-on labs. Hundreds of exhibitors will be sharing what they’re bringing to Oracle technology at this year’s conference, held in downtown  San Francisco from Sept. 29-Oct. 2. If you are an Oracle customer or partner planning to attend this  annual event, there are several ways to  meet face-to-face with members of the Oracle Applications  User Experience (UX) team. We’d like  to invite you to sign up for a usability feedback session, or  hop on one of our special chartered buses  to tour Oracle HQ’s usability labs. Here’s more  information about these exclusive events.

Onsite product usability testing: Give us your feedback!

Product usability testing is in progress at Oracle OpenWorld 2013.

The Oracle Applications User Experience team will host an onsite usability lab, where Oracle customers and partners can participate in a usability feedback session, at Oracle OpenWorld 2014. Usability experts, product managers, and user interface designers have teamed up to provide Oracle customers and partners with the opportunity to contribute to and influence application design and direction while test-driving Oracle’s next-generation applications. Your feedback will affect the existing and future usability of Oracle applications, and help us develop applications that are intuitive and easy to use.

What will we test? Participants will get a preview of proposed Oracle product designs for Oracle Human Capital Management Cloud and Oracle Sales Cloud, Oracle Fusion applications for Procurement and Supply Chain, Oracle E-Business Suite, PeopleSoft applications, Social Relationship Management, BI applications, Fusion Middleware, and more.

Who can participate*? Regardless of your current job title, we have a session that might interest you. These one-on-one feedback sessions are popular, and space is very limited, so contact us  today to learn more.

Dates: Sept. 29 – Oct. 1, 2014 
Location: InterContinental Hotel, San Francisco, CA 
Time: Advance sign-up is required for this event. RSVP now.

If you have questions about this event, please contact Angela Johnston

Take a tour of the Oracle HQ Usability Lab during OpenWorld 2014

Members of Applications UX team lead Oracle OpenWorld lab tour attendees
to the usability labs at Oracle headquarters in Redwood City, CA.

The Applications User Experience team will be offering a limited number of usability lab tours  at Oracle Headquarters in Redwood City, Calif., during Oracle OpenWorld 2014. Come take a look behind the scenes of Oracle’s research and development work on Thursday, Oct. 2, or Friday, Oct. 3. Receive an exclusive look into how Oracle tests applications designs, and see the direction that Oracle’s enterprise applications are heading, including demos of designs for devices such as the tablet and smartphone.

Round-trip transportation will be provided. Pick-up and drop-off is at the InterContinental Hotel in San Francisco, next to Moscone West. Spots are limited, so sign up today!

How to reserve your spot

To RSVP, sign up here. For additional questions, send an e-mail to Jeannette Chadwick.

To learn more about our team’s presence at Oracle OpenWorld this year, please visit our website, UsableApps.

*Participation requires that your company or organization has a Customer Participation Confidentiality Agreement (CPCA) on file. If your company or organization does not have a CPCA on file, we will start this process.

Friday Aug 15, 2014

See the latest Applications Cloud user experiences at Oracle OpenWorld 2014

By Misha Vaughan, Oracle Applications User Experience

wide shot of crowd training

Oracle Applications Cloud User Experience Strategy & Roadmap
This event is for partners, Oracle sales, and customers who are passionate about Oracle’s commitment to the ongoing user experience investment in Oracle’s Applications Cloud. If you want to see where we are going firsthand, contact the Applications UX team to attend this special event, scheduled the week before Oracle OpenWorld.

All attendees must be approved to attend and have signed Oracle’s non-disclosure agreement.

Register HERE.

Date and time:
8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2014
Location: Oracle Conference Center, Redwood City, Calif.

jeremy presenting

Oracle Applications Cloud User Experience Partner & Sales Briefing
This event is for Oracle Applications partners and Oracle sales who want to find out what’s up with release 9 user experience highlights for: Oracle Sales Cloud, Oracle HCM Cloud, cloud extensibility, and Paas4SaaS. It will be held the day before Oracle OpenWorld kicks off.

All attendees must be approved to attend.

Register HERE.

Date and time:
10:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 28, 2014
Location: Intercontinental Hotel, 888 Howard Street, San Francisco, Calif. , in the Telegraph Hill room.

george secret chamber

Oracle OpenWorld 2014 OAUX Applications Cloud Exchange.
This daylong, demo-intensive event is for Oracle customers, partners, and sales representatives who want to see what the future of Oracle’s cloud user experiences will look like. Attendees will also see what’s cooking in Oracle’s research and development kitchen – concepts that aren’t products … yet.

All attendees must be approved to attend and have signed Oracle’s non-disclosure agreement.

Register HERE.

Date and time:
  1 - 4 p.m. and 6 - 8:00 p.m. Monday, Sept. 29, 2014
Location: Intercontinental Hotel, 888 Howard Street, San Francisco, Calif., on the Spa Terrace.

Monday Aug 11, 2014

Oracle Extends Investment in Cloud User Experiences with Oracle Voice for Sales Cloud

By Vinay Dwivedi, and Anna Wichansky, Oracle Applications User Experience

Oracle Voice for the Oracle Sales Cloud, officially called “Fusion Voice Cloud Service for the Oracle Sales Cloud,” is available now on the Apple App Store. This first release is intended for Oracle customers using the Oracle Sales Cloud, and is specifically designed for sales reps.

The home screen of Fusion Voice Cloud Service for the Oracle Sales Cloud is designed for sales reps.

Unless people record new information they learn, (e.g. write it down, repeat it aloud), they forget a high proportion of it in the first 20 minutes. The Oracle Applications User Experience team has learned through its research that when sales reps leave a customer meeting with insights that can move a deal forward, it’s critical to capture important details before they are forgotten. We designed Oracle Voice so that the app allows sales reps to quickly enter notes and activities on their smartphones right after meetings, no matter where they are.

Instead of relying on slow typing on a mobile device, sales reps can enter information three times faster by speaking to the Oracle Sales Cloud through Voice. Voice takes a user through a dialog similar to a natural spoken conversation to accomplish this goal. Since key details are captured precisely and follow-ups are quicker, deals are closed faster and more efficiently. 

Oracle Voice is also multi-modal, so sales reps can switch to touch-and-type interactions for situations where speech interaction is less than ideal.

Oracle sales reps tried it first, to see if we were getting it right
We recruited a large group of sales reps in the Oracle North America organization to test an early version of Oracle Voice in 2012. All had iPhones and spoke American English; their predominant activity was field sales calls to customers. Users had minimal orientation to Oracle Voice and no training. We were able to observe their online conversion and usage patterns through automated testing and analytics at Oracle, through phone interviews, and through speech usage logs from Nuance, which is partnering with Oracle on Oracle Voice. 

Users were interviewed after one week in the trial; over 80% said the product exceeded their expectations. Members of the Oracle User Experience team working on this project gained valuable insights into how and where sales reps were using Oracle Voice, which we used as requirements for features and functions. 

For example, we learned that Oracle Voice needed to recognize product- and industry-specific vocabulary, such as “Exadata” and “Exalytics,” and we requested a vocabulary enhancement tool from Nuance that has significantly improved the speech recognition accuracy. We also learned that connectivity needed to persist as users traveled between public and private networks, and that users needed easy volume control and alternatives to speech in public environments. 
We’ve held subsequent trials, with more features and functions enabled, to support the 10 workflows in the product today. Many sales reps in the trials have said they are anxious to get the full version and start using it every day.
“I was surprised to find that it can understand names like PNC and Alcoa,” said Marco Silva, Regional Manager, Oracle Infrastructure Sales, after participating in the September 2012 trial.
“It understands me better than Siri does,” said Andrew Dunleavy, Sales Representative, Oracle Fusion Middleware, who also participated in the same trial.

This demo shows Oracle Voice in action.

What can a sales rep do with Oracle Voice?
Oracle Voice allows sales reps to efficiently retrieve and capture sales information before and after meetings. With Oracle Voice, sales reps can: 

Prepare for meetings
View relevant notes to see what happened during previous meetings.
See important activities by viewing previous tasks and appointments. 
Brush up on opportunities and check on revenue, close date and sales stage.

Wrap up meetings
Capture notes and activities quickly so they don’t forget any key details.
Create contacts easily so they can remember the important new people they meet.
Update opportunities so they can make progress. 

These screenshots show how to create tasks and appointments using Oracle Voice.

Our research showed that sales reps entered more sales information into the CRM system when they enjoyed using Oracle Voice, which makes Oracle Voice even more useful because more information is available to access when the same sales reps are on the go. With increased usage, the entire sales organization benefits from access to more current sales data, improved visibility on sales activities, and better sales decisions. Customers benefit too -- from the faster response time sales reps can provide.

Oracle’s ongoing investment in User Experience

Oracle gets the idea that cloud applications must be easy to use. The Oracle Applications User Experience team has developed an approach to user experience that focuses on simplicity, mobility, and extensibility, and these themes drive our investment strategy. The result is key products that refine particular user experiences, like we’ve delivered with Oracle Voice. 

Oracle Voice is one of the most recent products to embrace our developer design philosophy for the cloud of “Glance, Scan, & Commit.” Oracle Voice allows sales reps to complete many tasks at what we call glance and scan levels, which means keeping interactions lightweight, or small and quick.

Are you an Oracle Sales Cloud customer? 

Oracle Voice is available now on the Apple App Store for Oracle customers using the Oracle Sales Cloud. It’s the smarter sales automation solution that helps you sell more, know more, and grow more. 

Will you be at Oracle OpenWorld 2014? So will we! Stay tuned to the VoX blog for when and where you can find us. And don’t forget to drop by and check out Oracle Voice at the Smartphone and Nuance demo stations located at the CX@Sales Central demo area on the second floor of Moscone West. 

Monday Aug 04, 2014

Applications User Experience Beacons Developer Challenge Promotes Innovation, Collaboration

By DJ Ursal, Oracle Applications User Experience

The entrepreneurial spirit came alive during the Oracle Applications User Experience (Apps UX) Beacons Developer Challenge recently. There was a true sense of collaboration, not only at the participant level but at an organizational level too. We saw a lot of creativity and pushed the boundaries of what’s possible with emerging technologies.

As host of the event, it was a wonderful opportunity to network with best-of-the-best minds within Oracle. We believe beacons are a game-changer in connectivity and the next big technology of the future. This functionality leverages Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology, allowing you to add geofencing capabilities to your application design. Instead of using satellite-based signals to track your users’ locations, highly localized BLE signals from a variety of signal emitters provide a more granular level of interaction with applications.

The Beacons Developer Challange was a 60-hour mobile app-building contest, held in July at Oracle headquarters in Redwood Shores, Calif..The purpose of the Challenge was to give developers, designers, and internal entrepreneurs the chance to work together to build apps, bring awareness to “the Internet of things”, as well as to promote collaboration across Oracle. Participating organizations included: Fusion Technical Architecture, BlueKai Development, Siebel development,Oracle Internet of Things (IoT) Organization, North America Sales consulting group, Fusion HCM Development, Apps Usability and the Oracle Product Development College Hire Program.

North America Applications Sales Consulting team as they set out to conquer the developer challenge. 

Oracle Product Development College Hire team takes time out for brainstorming.

The challenge was focused on location-aware enterprise business scenarios, and teams chose their own platform on which to develop a mobile app. We limited this competition to one beacon platform, using iBeacons from Estimote, however others are available such as Gimbal and Raspberry Pi. We wanted to make sure that single-member teams had a fighting chance too, so there was no restriction on the size of the team. To ensure a level playing field, all participants were provided with the same set of sample data to be used for creating their mobile app. Each application was evaluated by judges based on the following criteria:
  • Execution of Entry: How fully developed and implemented the entry is. Does it use the data provided and beacons?
  • Business Value: How useful would the entry be in a business context?
  • User Experience: To what degree does the entry demonstrate new and innovative uses of beacons and Oracle data? Is it a pleasure to use?

Judges included Jeremy Ashley (@jrwashley), second from left, the vice president of the Oracle Applications User Experience team, Jayant Sharma, Director product management, and Mark Vilrokx (@mvolrokx). Not in the picture, Ed Jones, John Hsieh, Dj Ursal and Laurie Pattison.

After two and half days of hard work and coding, nine projects were demoed to our panel of judges at the end of the week. Great ideas were showcased, and choosing the top three proved to be difficult.

Awards and Certificates. 

The first place award went to a solo entry, team Swift, that showcased the power of a framework that was location-aware, using iBeacons. In second place, The AppsLab (@appslab) team implemented a location-aware, social application for the enterprise that connected local employees together to better manage their interactions in the workplace by sharing information, such as location. Team OCH1 came in third with their app that utilizes beacons to change the way we look for resources in the office.

The Apps UX Beacon Developer Challenge was sponsored by the Oracle Product Development College Hire Program, Oracle Facilities and Oracle Spatial and Graph. A big thank-you goes to our fantastic on-site support staff, which included people from across different organizations within Oracle.

The Apps UX Beacon Developer Challenge event staff.

At the end of the day, it was not about the prizes, but building passion for creating new ideas and concepts, new experiences, in a fun and engaging manner, and promoting an innovative social network that allows one to connect with like-minded people, crossing organizational boundaries.

The Oracle Apps UX developer challenge mission is to fuel innovation and promote collaboration by connecting people, ideas, and technologies from various organizations across Oracle. By collaborating in the developers challenge and working together, the employees got a chance to contribute  their best skills while learning from the other members of the team. Team members learnt from each other by sharing information, discussing options, debating the best solution, and by actively using skills on developer challenge project.


Check here for news and upcoming events from Oracle's Applications User Experience team on the Oracle Applications Cloud and more.

People in Spheres
Misha Vaughan, Editor & Senior Director, Applications User Experience
@mishavaughan on Twitter

Learn more about us at
Usable Apps


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