Friday Feb 15, 2013

HCM Innovation In The Cloud (Part 2)

When it comes to the cloud, it can be hard to cut through the swarm of buzz words. Everything starts to sound the same. Here are some important considerations to include in your assessment:
  • How secure will your data be and will it be handled by different vendors?
  • Will you be forced to comply with the vendor’s standard or will you have the flexibility to personalize your application--without complex coding?
  • Can the system grow and evolve with your business?
  • Can you move to the cloud at your pace or is your only option to rip and replace?
  • Do you have the option to choose between a public and private cloud?

By asking these questions, you can ensure that your cloud solution addresses both the complexity concerns HR leaders often have and the security and data privacy worries of IT.

At Oracle, we like to say that we support our customers from concrete to the cloud—from the data center to the database to middleware and the application itself. This approach means greater data security for our customers, greater speed for end users and greater ease of use for both developers and business users. Our platform services are built on industry standards, not proprietary code, and are run transparently in the cloud. We also offer other services in the cloud so should your company wish to expand your business suite or if you already run Oracle cloud applications, you won’t have to worry about complex integrations. Plus, in our cloud, your data is controlled by a single vendor: Oracle. Unlike other HCM cloud vendors who work with a variety of contractors, Oracle owns its data centers. The company has spent over $1 billion dollars in recent years building out these gen 4 data centers and we offer global coverage and 24/7 active monitoring and support. And if you prefer not to enter the public cloud at all, we can deploy a private cloud just for your company.

No two companies are alike and your HCM solution should reflect that. The problem is that many of them don’t, particularly when it comes to cloud-based solutions. Whether it comes to deployment, configuration and system upgrades, we’ve designed our solution so you’re not backed into a corner.

If you’ve decided that your company is ready for the cloud but you still want to leverage an on-premise solution or if you want to try the cloud in a certain region before rolling out globally, we can easily support you. You can move to the cloud incrementally and add new modules or regions as needed, all while co-existing with your existing solutions. This is a drastic contrast to other cloud solutions, which require an all or nothing approach.

The flexibility continues post-deployment. We understand that you may want to tailor your system processes to meet your company’s needs and that you may want to adjust the look, feel and behavior of different screens. We’ve made this easy for the HR user to do—no developers needed. In addition to screen configuration, you can add new fields, run custom reports, modify standard reports and create new process flows.

Finally, as we mentioned, you have the choice to deploy your solution in a public cloud, private cloud or a hybrid cloud that marries modules from both. This way you can have the level of control over your data and your upgrade path that works best for your company.

Oracle’s HCM cloud solutions are trusted by thousands of global companies. And our on-premise HCM solutions and other cloud solutions are trusted by thousands more. But size is not the main point here: it’s experience. The variety of organizations we’ve worked with—the different industries, the different global considerations and the different business models—has given us deep knowledge of how to overcome challenges and implement best practices. Have a thorny challenge? Tell us and there’s a good chance that we’ve dealt with it and have the blueprint to get you over the hump successfully.

Business changes and technology needs to keep pace. We get that and are constantly working to improve and develop our solutions based on industry shifts, technological advancements and feedback from our customers. Over the past two years alone, we’ve come out with 13 Oracle HCM cloud releases. We operate on a regular schedule of continued innovation and pride ourselves on providing real value with each new release, not simply coming out with minor features and fixes.

At the end of the day, Oracle’s objective is to make our customers successful. With technological advances and a greater understanding of HR’s value by the C-suite, it’s HR’s time to shine. By attracting, developing and retaining the best talent and making strategic workforce planning decisions, you can help your company get--and stay ahead--of the competition. Whether you’re looking to start with some basic improvements or you’re ready for a complete transformation, we are here with the tools, the guidance and the support to help you achieve your objectives.

For more information on Oracle’s HCM Cloud Solutions, visit http://cloud.oracle.com

Thursday Feb 14, 2013

For Customer Service, Social Isn’t the End Game – It’s a Way to Change the Game

Differentiating your business through your customer experience is paramount. For Service organizations Social brings new strategies and tactics to be mastered and tuned to your business. There's also a lot of hype around Social in-general. Keeping your existing business objectives in mind and adding Social to the mix through achievable steps and strategies will yield the best results. 

  • Avoid the Social Silo – It’s a new channel that needs to be incorporated into your overall Service strategy
  • Social isn’t a Marketing or a Service Thing – It’s a customer experience thing and we’re all on the hook to deliver.
  • Social Will Change the Game – The pace and transparency of Social will change certain aspects of Service, but the right approach and right-sized strategies can make this a win-win for both you and the customer.
[Read More]

Wednesday Feb 13, 2013

Scenes From the First OTN Developer Day for Cloud Application Developers

Yesterday we held our first OTN Developer Day for Cloud Application Developers and what a day it was.  It was standing room only as we had a packed room of developers at this free, live event at the Oracle Conference Center in Redwood Shores. The developers who attended yesterday's event got to hear and see firsthand how Oracle Cloud Platform Services make developing and deploying enterprise-grade business applications in the cloud faster and easier than ever before.

The day included service overview presentations by Oracle Cloud product managers, but the bulk of the time was spent doing hands-on exercises with the Java Cloud Service and Database Cloud Service. All in all, it was a great event and we look forward to running more OTN Developer Days for Cloud Application Developers in the future. Stay tuned. In the meantime, here's a couple of pictures from the event...enjoy!

The presentations from the event are all available for downloaded here. To learn more about Oracle Cloud, go to oracle.com/cloud. If you want to take Oracle Cloud Platform Services for a spin on your own, go to cloud.oracle.com and sign up for a 30-day free trial. 

Tuesday Feb 12, 2013

Editor's Notebook: Profit at Oracle CloudWorld

Two weeks ago Aaron Lazenby, editor-in-chief of Profit--Oracle's quarterly journal of business and IT strategy--traveled to Los Angeles, CA for the US launch of the Oracle CloudWorld event series. Here are his thoughts on what he learned and the role Oracle Cloud solutions will play in the magazine this year. 

Wednesday Jan 30, 2013

Social, Customer Experience, and the Cloud

Oracle held its second CloudWorld event in Los Angeles yesterday. Social permeated throughout sessions the entire day touching on customer experience (CX), sales performance, and service and support optimization.[Read More]

Friday Jan 25, 2013

What’s driving the Cloud for Developers? IaaS or PaaS?

Cloud computing providers offer their services according to three fundamental models: infrastructure as a service (IaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), and software as a service (SaaS) where IaaS is the most basic and each higher model abstracts from the details of the lower models. Here is a nice visual representation that I got from the Wikipedia entry for IaaS.

Reference: Wikipedia entry for IaaS http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infrastructure_as_a_service#Infrastructure_as_a_service_.28IaaS.29

As part of Oracle Cloud, Oracle has built cloud services for its own PaaS and SaaS offerings on top of the core IaaS layer that includes components like compute, identity, storage, messaging, amongst many others. Thus it is evident that Oracle is consuming core IaaS functionality within their public cloud offerings already. 

Oracle will be progressively releasing components of its core IaaS layer to external customers and partners for direct consumption versus just consuming it via its PaaS and SaaS offerings. For example, at Oracle OpenWorld 2012, Oracle announced preview of two of these services - Storage and Messaging - and will continue to announce more in the coming months.

But aren’t there other cloud solutions that offer the ability to deploy compute, network and storage resources with minimal effort and great flexibility, more popularly referred to as Infrastructure as a Service? So what is different? At Oracle, we believe that while this is very beneficial, from a developer’s perspective, the advantage of cloud does not stop there. In fact, greater value lies beyond provisioning of the infrastructure layer where developers devote more than 80% of their time and effort today. This is where Platform as a Service comes in with tremendous benefits for application construction, testing, deployment, and management. So, with on-demand infrastructure, automated provisioning, flexible development and runtime tools and management automation, Infrastructure and Platform cloud services are poised to have a profound impact on the developer experience.

Our cloud offering is architected in a fashion so that we can offer it not only as part of our public cloud offering but utilizing the same underlying architecture, we can deploy it in a private cloud or a hybrid cloud configuration.The core IaaS layer allows customers the flexibility and choice of deploying their workloads and driving consolidation via private, public or hybrid cloud strategies. As part of our Private Managed Cloud services, customers are able to run their workloads in a private cloud at an Oracle datacenter or at the customer datacenter, behind their firewall.

We believe that Oracle Cloud is a strategic offering within Oracle's comprehensive cloud services portfolio. Customers are adopting cloud computing in many different ways. Oracle's strategy is to offer them choice and flexibility with the broadest, most complete portfolio of cloud services and products that enable the cloud. Oracle's cloud offerings span public and private clouds and its entire product portfolio - applications, middleware, database, servers, storage, networking, and associated OS and virtualization software.

Oracle’s launched a rolling-thunder roadshow called Oracle CloudWorld, which was just kicked off in front of more than 2,000 attendees in Dubai. The next stop on the Oracle CloudWorld tour will be Jan 29 in Los Angeles, where the keynote will be shared by Oracle executive vice-president and product-development head Thomas Kurian and social and business-strategy guru Charlene Li of Altimeter Group.

Every Oracle CloudWorld event features tracks for the cloud can be used in Sales, Customer Service and Support, Finance and Operations, HR, and Applications Development. You can find the full schedule here, with stops in Los Angeles, Sydney, Mumbai, New York City, Singapore, Tokyo, Mexico City, Frankfurt, and London.

We hope you’ll be able to attend one of the Oracle CloudWorld events. As Bob Evans says in his Forbes article - after all, 10,000 cloud customers and 25 million cloud users can’t be all wrong!!!

Friday Jan 18, 2013

Oracle's CloudWorld Kicks off in Dubai

January 15th 2013 saw the first stage of Oracle’s global CloudWorld tour kick off in Jumereiah, Dubai, with the first event attracting more than 1,500 IT and business decision makers from across the Eastern Europe, Middle East and African regions to learn about and discuss the latest developments and trends in cloud computing technology.

In addition to the huge number of attendees, the event also played home to 27 tier one journalists from 13 of the regions countries and a further 23 top industry analysts.

From a press perspective things kicked off on the Monday night prior to event where Alfonso di Ianni, Oracle’s SVP for the region held a well-attended media briefing and networking evening, where the excitement for the following day’s content and news was clearly evident.

When it came to the day itself, the weather was as ever Dubai beautiful and despite the unusually strong wind, the excited streams of delegates did not mind when doors opened and they bustled in to take their seats for Oracle President, Mark Hurd’s, keynote.

Unlike a typical technology keynote, CloudWorld, Dubai saw Hurd walking around the tables, talking directly to attendees and even asking them questions as part of his interactive kick off.

The packed keynote hall was then taken trough the latest developments in Oracle’s Cloud technology and its benefits to business and public and private sector industries, as well as demystifying many of the industry jargon and trends that have been driving the Cloud industry transformation.

The hall then welcomed Hemant Julka, MITand Hussain Shaikh, Vice President of Human Resources, Emirates Group to the stage, where people saw the power of the Oracle Cloud in full swing and how Emirates has transformed its business across the region.

A change of pace and subject matter followed as Charlene Li, Founder, Altimeter Group and the author of the New York Times bestseller, Open Leadership, (for slides mail) took the mike to discuss the importance of social in today’s hyper-connected world and the event hashtag #cloudworld went into over drive.

In fact during the day we saw almost 800 tweets from key Oracle feeds and more importantly from between the presenters and attendees.

As the morning agenda progressed, the attending press were whisked away for a 45 minute exclusive briefing with Mark Hurd, where they got to put their own regions specific questions to him as well as being granted a embargoed, but sneak peak of Oracle’s Infrastructure as a Service with Capacity on Demand (Oracle IaaS) that launched later that day.

Whilst Mark was face to face with the press, Steve Miranda, senior vice president of Fusion application development, Oracle, took to the main stage to showcase Oracle Fusion Applications and showcase some of the highlight’s Oracle 25 million users who rely on Oracle Cloud every day are having.

It was then time to take all that information and ideas from the morning and hit the network area with colleagues and newly made contacts over the break with some fine food and drinks before the host of targeted track sessions kicked off in the afternoon giving a deep dive into Apps development, Finance, HR, Sales and Customer Experience.

The day draw to a close with an elegant evening of networking over cocktails and light entertainment in the form of a Latino Band people had the chance to review and debate how the cloud will change their business and judging from the many comments on #cloudworld and the discussions that were taking place, people left feeling more ready than every transforming their business in the age of ‘collaboration and advocacy’

Monday Jan 14, 2013

Moving to the Cloud – Join us at CloudWorld to Discover Why and How

Under pressure to change your business processes and not sure where to start? Is your enterprise resource planning (ERP) delivering on its promise to streamline core business processes or are you saddled with lengthy upgrades, legacy customizations, and complex integrations? You might be wondering whether cloud technology is a viable option – is it able to handle your security requirements, your access rules, your business complexities, and your specific needs for cost reduction. Is it really ready?

Yes, it is… Oracle Cloud offers a broad portfolio of software as a service applications, platform as a service, and social capabilities, all on a subscription basis. It delivers instant value and productivity for IT administrators and developers as well as end users through functionally rich, integrated, enterprise cloud services. With Oracle Cloud, you get enterprise-grade application and platform services based on best-in-class business applications and the industry's leading database and application server.

FACT:  Did you know that more than 25 million users rely on Oracle Cloud every day!!

Learn about the world’s most complete cloud for the enterprise at Oracle CloudWorld and in ONE DAY find out how Oracle can transform your organization! Don’t miss out, register for this FREE event today! 

Friday Jan 11, 2013

Oracle Cloud for Developers at Oracle CloudWorld

Oracle's Cloud mission is to bring its leading enterprise technology and business applications software to customers, anywhere in the world, through the internet. Oracle Cloud is a broad set of industry-standards based, integrated services that provide customers with subscription-based access to Oracle Platform Services, Application Services, and Social Services, all completely managed, hosted and supported by Oracle.

With predictable subscription pricing, Oracle Cloud delivers instant value and productivity for business users, developers and administrators.

As part of Platform Services, Oracle offers a complete and comprehensive set cloud services that allow developers to build rich applications and business users to harness the platform. I will specifically talk about 3 of them here.

·         -Oracle Database Cloud Service to manage data and build database applications

·         -Oracle Java Cloud Service to develop, deploy and manage Java EE applications

·         -Oracle Developer Cloud Service to simplify development with an automatically provisioned, scalable development platform supporting the complete development lifecycle

Mobile, social, and cloud are redefining how business gets done. Immediate access to the latest technologies is essential to be able to innovate and thrive. Discover your next steps at Oracle CloudWorld, a premier executive event series hosted by Oracle and strategic partners in select cities around the world. At CloudWorld, you’ll learn from thought leaders from Oracle and other leading organizations share how best to leverage disruptive technologies to drive transformational change. It is a great opportunity to experience insightful keynotes, real-world case studies, hands-on demos, face-to-face networking, and in-depth tracks.

The Application Developers track focuses on transforming the Developer Experience with a Powerful and Flexible Platform. You can accelerate innovation, simplify deployments, reduce complexity, and lower development costs. If this sounds like a winning combination—and you're interested in building and rapidly scaling Java, database, social, and mobile applications—you'll want to attend and learn more about Oracle Cloud's enterprise-grade platform services. Click here to lean more about the sessions in this track.

To register for Oracle CloudWorld, go to http://www.oracle.com/cloudworld

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

Thursday Jan 10, 2013

NBC Sports Chooses Oracle Cloud for Social Relationship Management

NBC Sports wanted to engage fans, grow their audience, and give their advertising customers more value. They wanted to use social media to accomplish this.

NBC Sports recognized that sports in inherently social. When you watch a game at the stadium or at home, you’re chatting with the people around you, commenting on plays, and celebrating together after each score. NBC Sports wanted to deliver this same social experience via social media channels.

NBC Sports used Oracle Cloud's Social Relationship Management (SRM) to create an online sporting community on Facebook. Fans can watch sporting events live on NBC television while participating in fan commentary about the event on Facebook. The online fan community is extremely engaged – much like fans in a sporting stadium would be during a game. NBC Sports also pose sporting questions, provide sporting news, and tie-in special promotions with their advertisers to their fans via Facebook.

Since implementing their social strategy, NBC Sports has seen their fans become more engaged, their television audience grow, and their advertisers happier with new social offerings.

To see how Oracle Social Relationship Management can help create better customer experiences for your company, contact Oracle here.


Watch NBC Sports Video: Mark Lazarus, Chairman, NBC Sports Group, describes how Oracle Cloud’s SRM tools helped the broadcaster engage with their fans on social media channels.

Watch Thomas Kurian Keynote: Thomas Kurian, Executive Vice President of Product Development, Oracle, describes Oracle’s Cloud platform and application strategy, how it is transforming business management, and delivering great customer experiences here.

Wednesday Jan 09, 2013

Sell More, Do More, and Grow More with Mobile

Now that the holiday season is over, I could not help noticing tablets as a top holiday gift, more than smartphones or PCs. From Apple’s two iPad models to the new Kindle Fire HD as well as the Galaxy Note Tab 10.1, tablets are becoming increasingly a household item.

In the enterprise world, businesses are also realizing the importance of leveraging mobile devices to increase productivity and efficiency. According to a Nucleus Research survey, Social CRM and Mobile Capabilities Boost Productivity by a total of 26.4 percent (14.6 and 11.8 percent respectively).

.

More specifically, CRM decision makers found that organizations can significantly increase returns on their CRM investments by adding mobile and social capabilities, particularly for salespeople. Nucleus surveyed 223 CRM decision makers and found an average productivity gain of 14.6 percent from mobile capabilities and 11.8 percent from social CRM.

“Given the relatively low price point of many mobile CRM applications and the fact that most social capabilities are bundled into CRM at no additional per-user price, organizations that do not explore mobile and social strategies are likely to lose competitive advantage in 2012 to those competitors that do embrace these technologies,” said Rebecca Wettemann, Vice President of Research, Nucleus Research.

To learn more about it, join us at the Mobile Sales session at Oracle Cloud World, a global series of events designed to help customers realize the benefits of various cloud solutions. Through a combination of best practices, unique insights and customized content, the events will help businesses leverage the cloud to drive their current and future success.

To register, please visit Oracle's CloudWorld page to find the CloudWorld event nearest to you.

For more information on Oracle’s Cloud Customer Service and Support solutions, please visit our website or contact us at (866) 630-7669. You can also see an overview of Oracle Cloud Service and Support on YouTube.

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.

Wednesday Jan 02, 2013

Great Customer Experiences Begin with Great Customer Service

Rapidly evolving technologies have changed customers’ behavior and raised their service expectations. Now, 89% of them will stop doing business with you after one bad service experience. And 26% will post negative comments on social sites to share their complaints with others. Bad customer service experiences cost companies, on average, 21% of their annual revenue.

Oracle Cloud Customer Experience Service & Support

On the flip side, organizations that consistently deliver great customer service across touchpoints—web, mobile, social, chat—profit from being able to charge a premium. That extra margin leads to sustainable growth and profits as customers are willing to pay 25% more for a better experience. And they’ll stay with you and refer others, lowering your acquisition costs and improving your bottom line.

So how do you equip your organization to deliver great customer service anywhere, anytime, and from any device? By building a Customer Experience (CX) Enterprise that understands its customers, empowers its employees, and adapts its business with nimble, cloud-based customer service and support solutions.

Come to Oracle CloudWorld and learn how our SaaS solutions can help you deliver exceptional customer service experiences. Presentations you will hear include:

The Customer Experience Imperative

Learn what it takes to deliver a great customer experience and why it matters to your business.

Leverage Social Insights to Deliver a More Comprehensive and Insightful Customer Experience

Explore how to engage on social channels to glean insights and build stronger customer relationships.

Deliver The Next Generation of Web Experiences

Discover ways to deliver Web experiences that provide meaningful service engagements for business growth.

Maintain a Single Dialogue with Your Customers Throughout Their Journey

Hear approaches for providing a consistent, reliable experience across all channels and devices.

Developing a Foundational Knowledge Strategy

Learn how to deploy an agile, robust knowledge base for delivering great customer service.

To register, please visit Oracle's CloudWorld page to find the CloudWorld event nearest to you.

For more information on Oracle’s Cloud Customer Service and Support solutions, please visit our website or contact us at (866) 630-7669. You can also see an overview of Oracle Cloud Service and Support on YouTube.

Monday Dec 17, 2012

The APEX of Business Value… or: the Business Value of APEX? Cloud takes Oracle APEX to new heights!

This blog entry has been re-posted with permission from the author, Lucas Jellema.

The attraction of APEX has increased tremendously with the recent launch of the Oracle Cloud. APEX already supported departmental development and deployment of business applications with minimal involvement from the IT department (only a database needed be made available). Positioned as the ideal replacement for MS Access, APEX probably has managed better to capture the eye of developers and was used for enterprise application development at least as much as for the kind of tactical applications that Oracle strategically positioned it for.

With APEX as PaaS & DevaaS from the Oracle Cloud, a leap is made to a much higher level of business value. Now the IT department is not even needed to make infrastructure available with a database running  on it. All the business needs is a credit card. And the business application that is developed, managed and used from the cloud through a standard browser can now just as easily be accessed by users from around the world as by users from the business department itself. As a bonus – the development of the APEX application is also done in the cloud – with no special demands on the location or the enterprise access privileges of the developers.

To sum it up: APEX from Oracle Cloud Database Service

  • get the development environment up and running in minutes
  • no involvement from the internal IT department required (no for infrastructure, not for platform and not for development)
  • superior availability and scalability is offered by Oracle
  • users from anywhere in the world can be invited to access the application
  • developers from anywhere in the world can participate in creating and maintaining the application

In addition: because the Oracle Cloud platform is the same as the on-premise platform, you can still decide to move the APEX application between the cloud and the local environment – and back again.

image

The REST-ful services that are available through APEX allow programmatic interaction with the database under the APEX application. That means that this database can be synchronized with on premise databases or data stores in (other) clouds. Through the Oracle Cloud Messaging Service, the APEX application can easily enter into asynchronous conversations with other APEX applications, Fusion Middleware applications (ADF, SOA, BPM) and any other type of REST-enabled application.

In my opinion, now, for the first time perhaps, APEX offers the attraction to the business that has been suggested before: because of the cloud, all the business needs is  a credit card (a budget of $175 per month), an internet-connection and a browser. Not like before, with a PC hidden under a desk or a database running somewhere in the data center. No matter how unattended: equipment is needed, power is consumed, the database needs to be kept running and if Oracle Database XE does not suffice, software licenses are required as well. And this set up always has a security challenge associated with it. The cloud fee for the Oracle Cloud Database Service includes infrastructure, power, licenses, availability, platform upgrades, a collection of reusable application components and the development and runtime environments containing the APEX platform.

image

Of course this means that only business departments can move quickly without having to convince their IT colleagues to move along – it also means that small organizations that do no even have IT colleagues can do the same. Getting tailored applications or applications up and running to get in touch with users and customers all over the world is now within easy reach for small outfits – without any investment.

My misunderstanding

For a long time, I was under the impression that the essence of APEX was that the business could create applications themselves – meaning that business ‘people’ would actually go into APEX to create the application. And to me APEX was for too much of a developers’ tool to see that happen – apart from the odd business analyst who missed her calling as an IT developer. Having looked at various other cloud based development offerings – including Force.com, Mendix, WaveMaker, WorkXpress, OrangeScape, Caspio and Cordys- I have come to realize my mistake. All these platforms are positioned for ‘the business’ but require a fair amount of coding and technical expertise. However, they make the business happy nevertheless, because they allow the  business to completely circumvent the IT department. That is the essence. Not having to go through the red tape, not having to wait for IT staff who (justifiably) need weeks or months to provide an environment, not having to deal with administrators (again, justifiably) refusing to take on that ‘strange environment. Being able to think of a some initiative and turn into action right away. The business does not have to build the application – it can easily hire some external developers or even that nerdy boy next doors. They can get started, get an application up and running and invite users in – especially external users such as customers.

They will worry later about upgrades and life cycle management and integration. To get applications up and running quickly and start turning ideas into action and results rightaway. That is the key selling point for all these cloud offerings, including APEX from the Cloud. And it is a compelling story. For APEX probably even more so than for the others. While I consider APEX a somewhat proprietary framework compared with ‘regular’ Java/JEE web development (or even .NET and PHP  development), it is still far more open than most cloud environments. APEX is SQL and PL/SQL based – nothing special about those languages – and can run just as easily on site as in the cloud. It has been around since 2004 (that is not including several predecessors that fed straight into APEX) so it can be considered pretty mature. Oracle as a company seems pretty stable – so investments in its technology are bound to last for some time to come.

By the way: neither APEX nor the other Cloud DevaaS offerings are targeted at creating applications with enormous life times. They fit into a trend of agile development and rapid life cycle management, with fairly light weight user interfaces that quickly adapt to taste, technology trends and functional requirements and that are easily replaced.image

APEX and ADF – a match made in heaven?! (or at least in the sky)

Note that using APEX only for cloud based database with REST-ful Services is also a perfectly viable scenario: any UI – mobile or browser based – capable of consuming REST-ful services can be created against such a business tier. Creating an ADF Mobile application for example that runs aginst REST-ful services is a best practice for mobile development. Such REST-ful services can be consumed from any service provider – including the Cloud based APEX powered REST-ful services running against the Oracle Cloud Database Service!

The ADF Mobile architecture overview can easily be morphed to fit the APEX services in – allowing for a cloud based mobile app:

image

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