Monday Jun 24, 2013

Oracle and Microsoft Expand Choice and Flexibility in Deploying Oracle Software in the Cloud

Oracle and Microsoft have entered into a new partnership that will help customers embrace cloud computing by providing greater choice and flexibility in how to deploy Oracle software. 

Here are the key elements of the partnership:

  • Effective today, our customers can run supported Oracle software on Windows Server Hyper-V and in Windows Azure
  • Effective today, Oracle provides license mobility for customers who want to run Oracle software on Windows Azure
  • Microsoft will add Infrastructure Services instances with popular configurations of Oracle software including Java, Oracle Database and Oracle WebLogic Server to the Windows Azure image gallery
  • Microsoft will offer fully licensed and supported Java in Windows Azure
  • Oracle will offer Oracle Linux, with a variety of Oracle software, as preconfigured instances on Windows Azure

Oracle’s strategy and commitment is to support multiple platforms, and Microsoft Windows has long been an important supported platform.  Oracle is now extending that support to Windows Server Hyper-V and Window Azure by providing certification and support for Oracle applications, middleware, database, Java and Oracle Linux on Windows Server Hyper-V and Windows Azure. As of today, customers can deploy Oracle software on Microsoft private clouds and Windows Azure, as well as Oracle private and public clouds and other supported cloud environments.

For information related to software licensing in Windows Azure, see Licensing Oracle Software in the Cloud Computing Environment.

Also, Oracle Support policies as they apply to Oracle software running in Windows Azure or on Windows Server Hyper-V are covered in two My Oracle Support (MOS) notes which are shown below:

MOS Note 1563794.1 Certified Software on Microsoft Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V - NEW

MOS Note 1563794.1

MOS Note 417770.1 Oracle Linux Support Policies for Virtualization and Emulation - UPDATED

MOS Note 417770.1

[Read More]

Monday Mar 25, 2013

What Are Your Sales People Doing On The Road?

When your sales team is in and around the office you’re working to make sure that your people are tracking to goal, focused on the right opportunities, and closing deals. It’s your job. It’s their job. It’s sales.

For sales reps—especially sales reps who are on the road and in front of customers—every minute counts. But a mobility gap in some Sales Force Automation (SFA) systems may create behaviors that diminish the impact of your investments at the most critical point of a sales process.

[Read More]

Friday Jan 11, 2013

HCM Innovation In The Cloud (Part 1)

The HR function is in the midst of a fundamental shift from administrative to strategic. HR leaders are expected to bring new levels of sophistication and business acumen to the executive table.

The good news? The C-Suite recognizes HR’s importance and wants HR leaders to influence strategic decisions. In fact, in a 2012 global survey by the Economist Intelligence Unit , 80 percent of CEOs and CFOs said they wanted the head of HR to be a key player in their company’s strategic planning.

The not so good news? There are some definite hurdles to clear before HR can solidify their seat at the executive table. Of those 80% of CEOs and CFOs who want HR to take part in strategic planning, only 38% report that this is currently the case. Here are some other sobering statistics:

  • 83% of HR and business executives believe that talent programs need to be improved (Source: Deloitte: Talent Edge 2020: Redrafting Talent Strategies for the Uneven Recovery, January 2012)
  • Less than 25% of organizations have access to the people insights they need (Source: HCI, 2010 Talent Intelligence Survey)
  • Only 15 percent of HR’s time is spent on strategic activities, while 71 percent is still spent on service delivery, recordkeeping, compliance and internal management (Source: HR Transformation in EMEA, Mercer 2010)

These statistics should not be reason to panic; rather they should serve as a call to action. HR leaders are well versed in handling complex situations and this should be handled like any other business challenge.

The first step is assessing your situation and understanding where your company falls on the spectrum. Is your biggest challenge standardizing global processes? Do you have processes down pat, but lack a comprehensive talent strategy? Note your immediate needs and also think about what you would want to tackle next.

The second step is looking at company goals. For example, if your company goal is to expand to new markets in the coming year, you need to ensure that HR can put a talent plan in place to support that.

The third step is looking at the software landscape. There are several human capital management solutions to choose from and it can be overwhelming. Before choosing your vendor, make sure that you look at their solution from all angles to ensure it meets your needs now and will continue to meet your needs as your department and company grow and develop. You want to ensure that the solution is user friendly but you also need something functional. Remember, your job isn’t simplistic so your software shouldn’t be either.

So how can Oracle help? We understand that every organization is different and every HR leader has different challenges to tackle and goals to achieve. This is why we’ve looked at human capital management from all angles and built a holistic solution that covers everything from the basics of workforce management to comprehensive talent management and analytics that provide true insight.

Our solutions aren’t just meant to help you manage today’s challenges and opportunities but also to predict and plan for tomorrow. We’ve focused on building role-based applications that are intuitive and easy to use for employees and managers but that can still meet the needs of a professional HR user. And we haven’t limited our offerings to software. We know that to truly serve our HR customers, we need to understand your world and your needs. This is why we’ve staffed our team with talented and experienced HR practitioners who have walked in your shoes and can help you with best practices and strategic planning.

We want to help elevate HR but also make your life easier. This means helping you to simplify workforce management, find, develop and retain the right talent, predict workforce changes and issues, plan according to company goals and become the strategic partner the C-suite is looking for. Now, let’s walk you through some of the ways Oracle HCM is uniquely positioned to help you achieve these objectives.

One of the most common roadblocks to freeing up time and being able to operate on a more strategic level is the disparate nature of many HR systems. Whether they’re using a variety of point solutions or a combination of manual and automated processes, we’ve learned that many HR leaders have a difficult time connecting the dots between different aspects of the employee lifecycle and accessing the critical data they need for quality talent management and workforce planning. This is why Oracle has made true end-to-end functionality a priority. By integrating core transactions with workforce and talent management and layering a powerful analytics solution on top, Oracle HCM enables the HR leader to connect and align individual processes.

Let’s look at an example of how that might work: Say you get most of your employees from a certain job board. If you looked at that statistic in a stand-alone recruiting system, you would think it’s a great channel and you might allocate additional recruiting dollars to it. But in an integrated system, you would easily be able to see that performance reviews for recruits from that job board are actually quite low. And the attrition rates are high. So rather than spending more money on that channel, you probably want to reassess whether you should use it at all.

That’s just one example of how an integrated system can help you manage your talent effectively and have real impact on your company’s bottom line. Others might include being able to tie performance directly to compensation or being able to recommend specific learning plans based on an employee’s review. When you’re able to get out of the weeds and get deep insight into your workforce, the strategic planning possibilities are endless.

When assessing your HCM cloud software options, you’ll likely hear the term “end to end” a lot. Be sure to dig deep and see what’s truly covered so you don’t wind up with gaps in your system. For example, some of the other popular HCM cloud solutions are missing key aspects such as recruiting, learning, time and labor, and predictive analytics. Remember the example we just discussed about the high volume but poor quality recruiting channel? And the one about developing learning plans tailored to performance reviews? You’d never be able to connect those dots in a system like the one shown here.

An improved user experience is one of the primary reasons companies consider the shift to the Cloud. It will also lessen the burden on HR. If you invest in an application that your employees will actually use, you can realistically make the move to more employee self-service and more manager-controlled processes. This will make your staff feel more empowered and engaged and will also relieve the pressure on HR to be involved in every single transaction. We understand that and have invested heavily in creating a modern, intuitive interface that will deliver the consumer-grade experience your employees have come to expect from software. We also understand that “clicking the easy button” may be right for end users but it’s not quite enough for HR. While the HR interface is just as slick and modern, it also takes into account that you need to get quite a bit deeper into the application than your managers and employees. So while they have just the basics, you have full access to the reports and tools you need to be successful. It’s simple—without being simplistic. Finally, we know that many employees—particularly executives—need to work on the go. So we developed a dedicated app, Fusion Tap, for mobile work. Your CEO wants to review org charts on the plane? No need to send him off with a stack of papers—he can get the information he needs in just a couple of clicks.

A common complaint we hear from HR leaders is that they can’t access the data they need to make good decisions. Data is often stored in several different systems and doesn’t always match up so trying to complete a simple task such as assessing labor costs in a certain market or comparing the attrition rates of different lines of business becomes a Herculean effort. In addition to being a complete, integrated solution that serves as a single source of truth for your workforce data, Oracle’s HCM solution has the embedded analytics you need to easily access workforce statistics, without cumbersome spreadsheets or help from IT. You’ll hear the same about many cloud solutions. However we’ve taken business intelligence much further by also including predictive analytics and what-if modeling. Our predictive analytics model serves as your early warning system, allowing you to forecast workforce performance and identify talent risks while there’s still time to take corrective action. To calculate predicted employee flight risk, we used the model of why people leave from PWC and the Saratoga Institute, incorporating approximately 100 fields of data. We even tested our predictive model on historical Oracle data to ensure its accuracy (on first go, had 80%success rate). And the predictive data is just the first step. Once you see predictions, you can then test out different scenarios using the what-if modeling tool. Say one of your top sales reps is at risk for leaving. You can test out what would happen if you gave her a raise or promotion. You would see the effect that would have on her flight risk and you would also see how those actions would affect the flight risk of her peers. This is all presented in clear, graphic dashboards. It’s sophisticated technology but it’s tailored for a business user, not a numbers whiz.

If you run a global company or you plan to expand into international markets, you need to ensure that your HCM solution is globally equipped. Some HCM cloud solutions stop at translation, currency and time zone support but as a global company, we understand that surface support is not enough. In addition to a global core that can be used to streamline standard processes across all offices, the solution includes a local layer that supports tens of countries with data fields, regulatory forms, business rules and country specific reports. We have specific teams focused on regulations in all of the countries we support to help ensure our customers stay in compliance. Our person and employment model enables you to support multiple person types and employees with multiple legal employers, multiple assignments or individual contractual agreements. With a configurable international layer, you can support additional countries or make additional localizations. We’ve found that many companies moved to local personalization and subsequently experienced issues with messy procedures and data and compliance gaps. By moving to the opposite extreme—centralization—they made local offices unhappy. Our configurable international layer gives you the flexibility to find the right balance for your organization.

Our mission at Oracle is to provide best-in-class applications to enable HR leaders to solve their most vexing challenges and provide true value to their executive teams and organizations. And who better to help us accomplish that mission than an expert team of former HR practitioners? Our business transformation team is assembled of former senior executives in all aspects of HR. They understand your pains because they’ve lived through each one of them. And having reached the top of their profession, they have both the experience and the strategic insight to help our customers excel. Not only can our team assist with your HR systems strategy and best practices, but they also serve as valuable advisors to our product team, ensuring that our applications are built for practical use and maximum effectiveness.  (Contributing Authors: Stephanie Lepow, Aaron Green, and Scott Ewart)

Coming up in HCM Innovation In The Cloud Part 2, we’ll talk about considerations to include your assessment of moving to the cloud. For more information on Oracle’s HCM Cloud Solutions, visit http://cloud.oracle.com

Friday Jan 04, 2013

Larry Ellison Doesn't Get the Cloud: The Dumbest Idea of 2013 by Bob Evans, Senior Vice-President, Communications

Excerpts Reprinted from Forbes OracleVoice Channel

I don’t know if you’ve heard, but the talk among the chattering classes is that neither Oracle, nor company founder and CEO Larry Ellison, gets the cloud.Oracle CEO Larry Ellison (Wikipedia)

Yes, I know, that seems preposterous—regardless of how fervently some competitors want to believe it and no matter how many ways the cognoscenti try to spin it.

Their bizarre theory goes something like this: Oracle’s cloud products aren’t all available yet, most of Oracle’s current revenue comes from non-cloud products, Ellison has criticized the term “cloud computing” in the past, and–here’s their killer argument–all of Oracle’s competitors (and especially the most vulnerable ones) insist that Oracle doesn’t get the cloud.

“Larry Ellison doesn’t get the cloud”: will it become the great lie of 2012 in the tech business? Will it be the foolish and permanent legacy of those who repeat it? Or will history–not to mention marketplace realities–somehow reveal that Ellison “doesn’t get” an industry segment he helped to create and in which he’s been immersed for 14 years?

Here’s an example. Let me share with you a few excerpts from a recent Mercurynews.com column under a headline that begins, “With Oracle Vulnerable,….” The columnist never comes close to proving that Oracle is indeed “vulnerable,” but like the atheist in the foxhole he covers all his bets at the end with this line: “Oracle as underdog? Probably not.” You see, the game is not to prove that Oracle is “vulnerable” or that Ellison truly doesn’t understand cloud computing; rather, the game is to generate a lot of traffic and scuttlebutt with a provocative–and by his own admission, dubious–headline.

That’s just something you might want to chew on as you ponder whether Larry Ellison really gets the cloud.

So let’s consider what we know, not only because that’s the right approach but also because I would contend that most of the previous attempts at answering the question, “Does Larry Ellison get the cloud?” were entirely devoid of even a token gesture at mulling over some basic facts, including these:

  1. Oracle’s annual SaaS revenue is approaching $1 billion. That figure doesn’t include any cloud-related revenue other than SaaS. Seems like a pretty big number for a company that doesn’t get the cloud.
  2. Oracle began developing its Fusion applications for use on-premise or in the cloud almost 8 years ago. Now, granted, the term “cloud computing” didn’t exist back in 2004, but in spite of that Oracle was writing Fusion apps that could be used on-premise or over the Internet via software as a service more than 7 years ago. Maybe that was just dumb luck. Or, maybe Larry Ellison was seeing the big cloud picture 7 years ago.
  3. Oracle began developing its forthcoming database product, which will be optimized for the cloud, 5 years ago. It can be used on public clouds, private clouds, and hybrids. It has taken 5 years to complete because no other database in the world has such capabilities and Oracle wanted to get it completely right before its release. Maybe more dumb luck. Or, maybe Larry Ellison knows a thing or two about how cloud computing will benefit immeasurably from a cloud-optimized database.
  4. Oracle is the only tech company on Earth that has a full product line at all levels of the cloud: Software as a Service, Platform as a Service, and Infrastructure as a Service. Oracle’s new Platform as a Service suite is completely integrated with its SaaS suite for optimal security, performance, time to value, and ease of use. And for Infrastructure as a Service, Oracle’s Exalogic Cloud Machine can run any manner of cloud configurations the customer wants: an Oracle Cloud owned, managed, and operated by Oracle within Oracle’s data centers; a private cloud that Oracle owns, manages, and operates within the customer’s data center; or some combination. “Some of the biggest and best-known companies in the world are turning to the Oracle Cloud, and many are picking us for all levels of the cloud stack,” Oracle senior vice-president Abhay Parasnis told a room full of financial analysts, industry analysts, and media. “All levels of the cloud stack”—is any other tech company playing across those spaces? The answer is no.
  5. Oracle is the only provider of SaaS-based enterprise applications with social capabilities fully integrated into every app at the platform level. Oracle’s Social Relationship Management capabilities “bring social into everything” and can “light up our core LOB applications with social capabilities,” Parasnis said. No other cloud or SaaS company has attempted to do that—is that unique strategy a sign that Larry Ellison doesn’t get the cloud, or an indication that Oracle’s going to force all cloud vendors to try to deliver the huge customer value that social-everywhere represents?
  6. Oracle’s long-term commitment to the cloud has allowed it to incorporate modern features, such as social, plus new and essential capabilities, such as BI tools that LOB heads are demanding as they gain greater control over IT budgets and decision-making. Oracle executive vice-president Thomas Kurian told the analysts, “Ten years ago, the new E-commerce function necessitated a transformation of core IT systems, and today, social is exactly the same” in how it triggers sweeping changes in business processes, information flows, and IT architecture. “We’ve seen this movement to SaaS/cloud over a very long time, and have adapted accordingly,” Kurian said. Once again, is that a sign that Oracle’s clueless about the cloud? Or that it’s in a very enviable position with regard to the hottest trend in enterprise computing today?

For more details about Oracle’s approach, please check out the full story about “Oracle Cloud: Social. Mobile. Complete.”

On top of those facts mentioned above, here are some comments from Ellison himself, and perhaps they’ll help you judge whether he has a clue about the cloud.

In response to a question that began with the contention that until recently Oracle didn’t get the cloud, Ellison interrupted and said,Oracle CloudWorld “I founded the first cloud company—NetSuite—but I didn’t call it ‘cloud’ because nobody was using that term back then. I founded NetSuite, I own it—I’m not just an investor,” Ellison said, later adding that “I haven’t sold any of my [NetSuite] stock.”

“Then six months later Marc Benioff came to me and said, ‘If you’re gonna do accounting on the internet, I’d like to do salesforce-automation on the internet, and I supported him, and we did that—we just didn’t know at that time that it was going to be called ‘the cloud,’ ” Ellison said.

“What I objected to was when the recent and very charismatic term ‘cloud’ was retroactively applied to NetSuite and others—and what I ridiculed was this silly notion that everything is cloud.”

Ellison also mentioned his idea of the Network Computer and his launch of a company by that name many years ago to tap into the nascent world of interconnected devices: “we just didn’t know it was the cloud,” he said.

“So this idea that I didn’t get or don’t get cloud computing is . . . interesting.”

As for “interesting,” there’s an old proverb that says, “May you live in interesting times.” And I think that for cloud-computing companies competing with Larry Ellison and Oracle, life is about to get much more interesting than they would have liked.

Oracle is hosting CloudWorld events around the globe in 2013. To register for a CloudWorld event near you, please visit our website.

Tuesday Oct 02, 2012

Oracle Cloud Applications: The Right Ingredients Baked In

Oracle Cloud Applications: The Right Ingredients Baked In

Eggs, flour, milk, and sugar. The magic happens when you mix these ingredients together. The same goes for the hottest technologies fast changing how IT impacts our organizations today: cloud, social, mobile, and big data. By themselves they’re pretty good; combining them with a great recipe is what unlocks real transformation power.

Choosing the right cloud can be very similar to choosing the right cake. First consider comparing the core ingredients that go into baking a cake and the core design principles in building a cloud-based application. For instance, if flour is the base ingredient of a cake, then rich functionality that spans complete business processes is the base of an enterprise-grade cloud.

Cloud computing is more than just consuming an "application as service", and having someone else manage it for you. Rather, the value of cloud is about making your business more agile in the marketplace, and shortening the time it takes to deliver and adopt new innovation. It’s also about improving not only the efficiency at which we communicate but the actual quality of the information shared as well. Data from different systems, like ingredients in a cake, must also be blended together effectively and evaluated through a consolidated lens. When this doesn’t happen, for instance when data in your sales cloud doesn't seamlessly connect with your order management and other “back office” applications, the speed and quality of information can decrease drastically. It’s like mixing ingredients in a strainer with a straw – you just can’t bring it all together without losing something.

Mixing ingredients is similar to bringing clouds together, and co-existing cloud applications with traditional on premise applications. This is where a shared services  platform built on open standards and Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) is critical. It’s essentially a cloud recipe that calls for not only great ingredients, but also ingredients you can get locally or most likely already have in your kitchen (or IT shop.)

Open standards is the best way to deliver a cost effective, durable application integration strategy – regardless of where your apps are deployed. It’s also the best way to build your own cloud applications, or extend the ones you consume from a third party. Just like using standard ingredients and tools you already have in your kitchen, a standards based cloud enables your IT resources to ensure a cloud works easily with other systems. Your IT staff can also make changes using tools they are already familiar with. Or even more ideal, enable business users to actually tailor their experience without having to call upon IT for help at all. This frees IT resources to focus more on developing new innovative services for the organization vs. run and maintain.

Carrying the cake analogy forward, you need to add all the ingredients in before you bake it. The same is true with a modern cloud. To harness the full power of cloud, you can’t leave out some of the most important ingredients and just layer them on top later. This is what a lot of our niche competitors have done when it comes to social, mobile, big data and analytics, and other key technologies impacting the way we do business. The transformational power of these technology trends comes from having a strategy from the get-go that combines them into a winning recipe, and delivers them in a unified way.

In looking at ways Oracle’s cloud is different from other clouds – not only is breadth of functionality rich across functional pillars like CRM, HCM, ERP, etc. but it embeds social, mobile, and rich intelligence capabilities where they make the most sense across business processes. This strategy enables the Oracle Cloud to uniquely deliver on all three of these dimensions to help our customers unlock the full power of these transformational technologies.

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