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Future State

Converting Leavers into Buyers using Exit Intent Messaging

Author : Jack Westwood, Principal Consultant, Strategic Services Oracle Consulting | Kim Barlow, Director of Strategic & Analytical Services, Oracle Consulting In the current climate where competition outstrips demand it’s never been more important to convert every single customer. Once a user lands on your site it is imperative that you use every tactic possible to see them through to purchase. One of these tricks is Exit Intent Messaging (EIM).  Its main function is to prevent the users that you’ve worked so hard to acquire, from leaving the site and to encourage them to complete a purchase. So what does EIM look like? AB and MVT testing to date suggests that the most effective method of messaging is to display a lightbox or overlay that is presented either when a user moves their cursor towards the top of the screen, suggesting they’re going to close the page/change tabs, or after the user has been idle on the page for a short period of time.  Our tests have shown 15 seconds to be the optimal idle time so as not to annoy users and create a pain point. The main objective is to grab the users’ attention. When you have it, focus it on one or two exceptional reasons for them to purchase and provide users with that final reason they need to take the leap of faith. Where do you place your Messaging? The placement of your EIM is a particularly important consideration because the content needs to be targeted according to how far each user is along their purchase journey. A user who is new to the site and has only been on one product page is likely to be in a very different mind-set to a regular visitor who has three products in their basket and has just entered the checkout so it’s vital that you tailor your content accordingly. Consider also where the users are in their psychological purchase journey. For example, users who are in a research phase need to be convinced that the product is right for them. Whereas users who know what they want just need to be convinced to buy from you rather than a competitor. With this in mind, the Basket page is the perfect place to start as all users on this page will have exerted a similar time/effort and are only a couple of steps away from purchase. Other EIM to improve CR and User Experience Here’s a few example of EIM that can be used not only to improve conversion rates but to improve user experience:     Ask a simple question   Include a progress bar   Provide an offer   Urgency messaging   Cross sell   Live chat     Learn more at: oracle.com/marketingcloud 

Author : Jack Westwood, Principal Consultant, Strategic Services Oracle Consulting |Kim Barlow, Director of Strategic & Analytical Services, Oracle Consulting In the current climate where competition...

Future State

China - A Marketer's Dream

Author : Phoenix HY, Associate Consultant, Oracle Consulting According to the statistical report on internet development in China published in January 2018, as of December 2017 China had 772 million ‘netizens’ and growing. To put this into perspective, the UK population in 2016 was 65.6 million. With these numbers it is no surprise that companies are making it a priority to enter this huge market. So what do I need to consider when marketing in China? 1. The two Ws - WeChat and Weibo WeChat recorded a billion monthly users in March, that’s right a billion. WeChat has the capability for a user to do pretty much any desired action they want to online: banking, call a cab, shop, transfer money to friends, the list goes on. It’s pretty much all of our everyday apps rolled into one. With this huge user base and the various capabilities to reach the consumer in all these ways it is now absolutely essential for companies entering the Chinese market to be on WeChat. Weibo is the largest social network in China, consider it their equivalent to a Facebook and Twitter fusion, and so is a great tool for building brand awareness. The same rules apply for marketing on social media on Weibo, with the ability to target audiences with mass amounts of data about each consumer at your disposal. A differentiator for Weibo is that it allows payments, so you are able to sell online in the app and offline using QR codes, which is common online consumer behaviour in China. Brand trust is even more prominent in China, especially when it comes to ‘foreign’ companies entering the market; thus a solid profile, content, verification, and connecting with the right influencers is even more important.   2. Utilise the B.A.T mobile Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent are the 3 largest players who dominate the digital marketing space, especially on mobile. Baidu is the most used search engine in China, Alibaba dominates e-commerce, and Tencent is the most valuable company which owns WeChat. All three companies have different apps and sometimes different app stores, where their apps do not interact with each other. Despite this users commonly have apps from each company, so as consumers are on all 3 platforms, so should companies entering this market, with each managed independently.    3. KOLs – Key Opinion Leaders China is more prone to influence than the western markets when it comes to KOLs. Thus it is now one of the most recommended ‘marketing tools’ where most agencies based in china are pushing companies to utilise. It is of course vital that the KOL you choose matches your brand and appeals to your target audience. Michael Kors has done this particular well, bringing in Yang Mi as their brand ambassador who boasts a following of 90.9 million on Weibo at the time of this post. She has featured in Vogue, Grazia and Elle, matching perfectly in line with the Michael Kors brand. They have also recently released a full WeChat store featuring a bag collaborated with Yang Mi.   4. The great firewall There are more than 60 internet restrictions in China, and the control of the internet is ever growing. Due to this China has not been accustomed to using Google, Facebook or Twitter and now have their own equivalents. So on top of understanding the platforms to utilise in China, it’s important to consider the laws too. As this can easily go wrong, for example Mercedes-Benz was forced to delete the below post for quoting the Dalai Lama:     This went against the law in china of “Advertisements shall not harm the dignity or interests of China”, and despite China not allowing access of Instagram, there was still enough outcry for this post to be deleted and an apology was made on Weibo. This shows when entering this market we need to fully understand what the laws and restrictions are, before it becomes a blocker to being successful in China.   5. Understand the culture and the language Part of understanding the Chinese culture is the significant periods of the year: Lunar New Year, Qingming festival, national day the list goes on. This will inform companies on when to increase promotional activity and tailor accordingly. This leads on to Cyber Days, which in China are different to the west. The most notable one is Singles’ Day, where in 2017 on Alibaba’s e-commerce platforms alone $25 billion was spent; a substantial amount more than in the US on black Friday. Language is often overlooked when moving into new markets, this can lead into embarrassing and costly mistakes. Nike made a huge error: Alone the two words mean great things… together however it translated to “getting fat”. This illustrates the importance of having a local person translate, when it comes to any promotion, Google translate is not sufficient enough.   References WeChat hits one billion monthly users - are you one of them? Statistical Report on Internet Development in China Jan 2018 Chinese marketing trends in 2018: What Western brands need to know Marketing in China: a five-step guide SCMP Forbes   Learn more at: oracle.com/marketingcloud

Author : Phoenix HY, Associate Consultant, Oracle Consulting According to the statistical report on internet development in China published in January 2018, as of December 2017 China had 772 million...

Oracle Corporation

What's Hot In Travel?

Author : Ele Kefala-Paraschou, Senior Consultant, Oracle Consulting The travel sector is one of the largest industries in the world accounting for the 10.2% of the global GDP (Deloitte, 2018). The recent surge in unforeseen geopolitical events such as terrorism, Brexit and the U.S. travel ban inadvertently impact the travel sector leading more and more travel brands to acknowledge the importance of a customer-centric approach. On top of that, the travel industry saw drastic technological advances driven by sharing economy and Blockchain – each decentralising highly regulated industries, putting the users at the heart of the business.  Therefore this article will focus on trends mostly driven by the customer in the travel sector. “A bigger role for the travel brands - Creating memorable experiences for your customers consolidating data and technologies”   One stop shop experience The majority of big travel brands has already expanded their services beyond their core business to offer a full experience to their customers. Just offering flights is not enough anymore. Vendors now offer the travel to the airport, airport lounge passes, event tickets, hotel rooms, tours and activities etc. Therefore, using experiences to unleash customers’ full revenue potential. Some travel brands have already started positioning themselves as the one stop shop that travellers would ever need on every stage of their travel journey – from planning, packing, en-route or on location. For example, KML Royal Dutch Airlines offers accommodation, tours and activities, transportation to airport, the online retail shops and online destination guides.               (Source: KML Royal Dutch Airlines)    Singapore Airlines’ native app provides customers with anything they might need - from digital magazines and entertainment system to booking a ride to the airport.   Also, in the pursuit of providing leisure travelers with a true and unique experience, it emerged what is known as “experience economy”.  It is one of the fastest growing and probably one of the most promising trends in 2018.  Airbnb launched the experience service in 2016, which according to Airbnb CEO Brian Chesk it is growing 13 times faster than home business and generates 1.5 million bookings annually (Fortune, 2017). American Express offers the “Travel Insider” service where customers can choose a travel expert who shares similar interests and travel preferences with them and design together a trip tailored to their needs.   Mobile-First Experience A seamless experience at the end of your thumb Nowadays, consumers expect a seamless and tailored to their needs experience at the end of their thumb. They also expect the travel companies to anticipate and fulfil their needs before they realised them. A staggering 83% of Millennials would allow travel brands track their digital patterns if this would provide them with a more personalized experience (American Express Survey) while over one in three travelers would even pay more for a personalised service (ThinkwithGoogle, 2018). The mobile experiences along with technologies such as Voice, machine learning and Artificial Intelligence entirely changed the customers’ expectations and in turn, the opportunities for the travel brands which could be divided into the following three areas Consolidating everything that the traveler might need in one place: Many travelers rely solely on their mobile to manage their trip - access their boarding pass, keep updated on flights changes and checked baggage and navigate to a new city. When your flight is delayed how stressful it is to reschedule your transportation, inform the hotel, cancel your restaurant reservation and reschedule everything you scheduled for that day. Now imagine one app that would be able to orchestrate all your mobile functionalities and update everything for you. Extended touchpoints The average person in the UK travels abroad around 2 times per year (Statista, 2017) which also represents the number of times that a travel company might have the opportunity to communicate with its customers. On the other hand, people are using everyday social media apps, social messaging or even voice search. We will see more and more travel companies going where their customers are, instead of waiting for customers to download their app, or book on their site. KLM mobile channels fully integrate with WeChat and Messenger where customers can search for flights, book their flights, issue their boarding pass and check the flight status. By 2020, it is projected that 50% of all searches will be voice searches (comScore research). Many travel companies continue to invest heavily in voice search. Just to name a few, Heathrow Airport, American Airlines and Easyjet use Alexa Skill through which customers can track their flight status, search for destinations etc. Frictionless travel journey Although technology made the booking process less strenuous, people still perceive some travel-related tasks as very stressful and time consuming. Every traveler has faced long queues at the airport, issues with online check-in, excess baggage fees, flight delays, long queues for the hotel check-in etc. The travel sector is heavily investing in creating a frictionless travel journey which consist of two parts:  automating daunting tasks and offering what travelers need at each step of the journey in real time. Concepts that focus on automating tasks as automated check-in, flight check-in with smartphone’s facial recognition, digital hotel keys is fast becoming mainstream in the industry. The challenge lies in of using customer data to identify potential issues and offer what customers need at the time they need it.   Travel Journey example:       The first company that is able to offer a real time, frictionless and unique experience to its customers by consolidating the user data and technologies to an end to end solution would win big.   Source: 1) https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/consumer-insights/meetingconsumerexpectations/ 2) https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/marketing-resources/new-consumer-travel-assistance/ 3) Statista, 2017 https://www.statista.com/statistics/480184/average-number-of-abroad-holidays-per-person-in-the-uk/             Learn more at: oracle.com/marketingcloud

Author : Ele Kefala-Paraschou, Senior Consultant, Oracle Consulting The travel sector is one of the largest industries in the world accounting for the 10.2% of the global GDP (Deloitte, 2018)....

Oracle Corporation

What if e-mail died?

Author : Michael Harris, Principal Consultant, Strategic Services, OMC EMEA I would assume we would all like to live in a world where we deal with less emails. However, there is no denying how integral and embedded email is to our daily lives. So, what would happen to our lives if email suddenly disappeared from existence. What would the immediate effects be and what would the future without email look like. Understanding a world without email could help us understand how to use email more efficiently and more effectively now.    First of all, let’s paint a picture of the current situation regarding email. By 2019 we can expect to see 2.9 billion worldwide email users (over one third of the global population). In 2017 269 billion emails were sent and received each day, with a forecast figure to reach 320 billion daily emails in 2021. In 2018 124.5 billion business emails and 111.1 billion consumer emails are sent and received each day. The average office worker received 121 emails per day. The world of business couldn’t run without email and the economy would stop but, how many of those daily emails received are necessary, useful, relevant and even read? The types of emails sent and received include but not limited to, confirmation, newsletters, tickets, correspondence, spam/junk, deals, events, invitations, auto reply/out of office. Email has meant people can work and communicate from anywhere in the world where there is an internet connection, resulting in an always on mentality, that has resulted increased pressures and extended working hours. An abundance of emails, working out prioritisation and being unable to manage the intake can have an overwhelming impact on the productivity of the typical office worker and can result in increased levels of anxiety and an emotionally disconnected work force. When used correctly email can be an effective tool, however, in work we often fall into the email tree trap, where an excessive amount of emails are sent between a number of people just to make 1 decision. In summary, we receive an unnecessary high amount of emails a day. So, what if email just disappeared? What would the communication of 269+ billion daily emails be immediately converted to. We’d have to look at how we worked before email became so dominant. Hand written letters and the postal service, fax machines, face to face conversation, telephone, dictation. All vary on efficiency and effectiveness when compared to email, especially losing the ability to send files immediately but also hand-written letters being significantly slower for communication to be received to the desired recipient, and face to face or telephone conversation relying on the needed person being available and on the recipient’s memory and note taking ability for detail. However, with these negatives, there are also positives with writing a letter or taking the time to talk to someone face to face giving communication a personal feel, with face to face enabling the reading of body language, giving context and overall confirmation over what is being discussed on the spot. After the initial panic, confusion, stress on postal service and broken economy, due to a lack of communication in varying levels of detail from business to business, people and businesses would start to look to mobile first solutions. With 5 billion people worldwide with a mobile phone, and with many considering the mobile phone an extension of themselves, mobile would be the way to go for future communication, through SMS (Short Message Service), RCS (Rich Communication Service) or Apps. Apps needed for booking confirmations and tickets, updates on information and anything in between a customer would have with a business. The potential and application for RCS is huge with and without this scenario. A key takeaway is that people would look for ways communicate more efficiently and only to receive messages that are relevant to them as they would essentially be the ones searching for information rather than being the ones receiving it. Taking into consideration what could happen if email died it is significant to acknowledge that currently as important as it is, how we currently abuse and over use email in such a way it starts to feel useless. The annoying habits used and mass generation of emails sent to everyone’s inbox, email becomes annoying and demoralising at times. The future of email will aim to add more value for all by becoming more personalised, accordingly formatted, more visual and interactive and give users more control. With the amount of email noise, emails are lost when not essential – what is the value of a meaningful interaction? Imagine a paid model. The currency of access. Imagine you only receive emails from those on an approved list of senders. Anyone else must pay you to access your inbox. Reducing useless spam/junk and emails you didn’t need and increasing personalised messaging. Making companies and people really consider who do we really need to target and ultimately increasing returns. With the current state of emails, many may feel email needs to die but, it is a perfect opportunity to rethink email strategy and provide real value in all aspects of email. Mass email is dead, but the value in email is very much alive. Related topics:  Why is organization culture important? It is never boring to work at Oracle Consulting Do this to keep challenging yourself

Author : Michael Harris, Principal Consultant, Strategic Services, OMC EMEA I would assume we would all like to live in a world where we deal with less emails. However, there is no denying how...

Oracle Corporation

Oracle Marketing Cloud Creative Services Team Wins 3 W3 Awards

The Oracle Marketing Cloud Creative trophy case just got a lot shinier. Our Creative Services team scored a hat-trick at the W3 Awards, taking home one Gold award and two Silver awards. The W3 Awards celebrates digital excellence by honoring outstanding Websites, Web Marketing, Video, Mobile Sites/Apps, and Social content created by some of the best interactive agencies, designers, and creators worldwide. Here’s what we won at the W3 Awards—be sure to check out the prize-winning work and the talented teams who developed it: Xfinity Watchathon 2018: Gold Winner, General Marketing Categories—Email Marketing  Background This year, Xfinity’s annual Watchathon event returned for another week of binge-watching bliss! To ensure Xfinity TV and Internet customers knew they could enjoy unlimited access to all their favorite shows and movies, the teams at Comcast and Oracle Marketing Cloud created a series of emails that guided customers toward the ultimate experience before, during, and after the event. Solution Combined with optimization and testing, these emails successfully generated buzz, boosted customer engagement, and solidified the Watchathon brand as a lifestyle staple. By showcasing more content, live polling, and shorter, more simplified messaging, the 2018 Watchathon stunt saw a 24% lift in engagement compared to 2017, with some audiences seeing as high as a 22% increase in unique open rates. Even better, the 2018 pre-event emails saw a whopping 208% lift in engagement over 2017’s pre-event emails. Whether you’re obsessed with email metrics or “Game of Thrones” (or both), you can chalk this year’s Watchathon Week up as a win. View the work and the team Xfinity Welcome Series: Silver Winner, General Marketing Categories—Email Marketing Background As part of our ongoing work with Comcast Xfinity, the Oracle Marketing Cloud Consulting Services team was tasked with revamping Xfinity’s Welcome Series. Among the earliest email communications new Xfinity customers receive, the Welcome Series poses an exciting opportunity to carry customers from their installation through enjoying their new services. It also sets the tone for future communications, establishing Xfinity emails as a place where customers can find the information they need. In collaboration with the Xfinity team, we noticed that the existing creative was busy with lots of visual elements and copy. As a result, we mapped out a plan for re-organizing each of the two email touches with personalized, engaging messaging catered to the customer. We also aimed to ensure that customers were fully educated on the full functionality of their services, and that they felt empowered to troubleshoot any issues themselves through Xfinity’s Digital Welcome Guide and “digital first” solutions. Lastly, we wanted to prepare customers for the initial influx of email messages coming their way in the first few weeks of their service, generating excitement while quelling inbox fatigue. Solution Our team developed two customized emails designed to guide customers from their initial signup all the way through getting to know how to use their new services. With a lighter, airy feel and more intuitive design, the series increased engagement and enlightened customers to key Xfinity features they may not have known about otherwise. View the work and the team Xfinity 2018 FIFA World Cup: Silver Winner, General Marketing Categories—Email Marketing  Background The FIFA World Cup™ only comes around every four years, and the teams at Xfinity and Oracle Marketing Cloud sought to share the premier sporting event’s enthusiasm and action through eye-catching emails.  Solution By employing full-width images, a live countdown, and an English-to-Spanish toggle, the email campaign generated excitement among soccer’s biggest fans and kept the buzz going with targeted follow-up messages based on the reader’s response to a live poll—because cheering on your team should be easy and awesome. View the work and the team Want to learn more about what Oracle Marketing Cloud Creative Services does for our clients? Click here to explore some of their favorite recent projects.

The Oracle Marketing Cloud Creative trophy case just got a lot shinier. Our Creative Services team scored a hat-trick at the W3 Awards, taking home one Gold award and two Silver awards. The W3...

Future State

Oracle Consulting Supports Diversity and Inclusion at the Human Rights Campaign 2018 Gala Celebration in Boston

Oracle was a VIP sponsor for the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) thirty-seventh annual Gala Dinner in Boston on November 17th. The HRC is the largest national LGBTQ civil rights organization. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ people are ensured of their basic equal rights, and can be open, honest and safe at home, at work and in the community.   Miriam Gallardo, Oracle Consulting Sales Executive, was a co-chair of this event, which drew an impressive crowd of 1,300 people. Miriam provided an impactful, authentic and heartfelt introduction of Patricia Velasquez, who utilized her fame to lay the foundation of an unprecedented support system that highlights the importance of encouraging others to live authentic lives. Patricia is the first Latina Supermodel in the 90s, an actress in The Mummy / The Mummy Returns and has appeared on many popular TV shows. The night was filled with remarkable speakers & honorees including Elizabeth Warren (U.S. Senator), Maura Healey (MA Attorney-General), Marty Walsh (Mayor of Boston), Sarah McBride (HRC National Press Secretary), Patricia Velasquez (Global Human Rights Advocate, Actress and Model), Teddy Quinlivan (Transgender Advocate, Model), Dana Goldberg (Comedian) and Brian Puccini (Restauranteur & LGBTQ Advocate/Employer). Aaron Millstone, Senior Vice President of Oracle Consulting, not only attended the event, but also ensured that Oracle secured the VIP sponsorship. Aaron states, “Oracle Consulting’s leadership team has set an objective of creating the best place to work across all of Oracle. A key aspect of building a best place culture is creating an inclusive and diverse environment, where people can be their authentic selves and have a full sense of belonging at work. By sponsoring, attending and supporting the HRC gala event in Boston, we were able to show through our actions that this is so much more than a phrase or program that we dutifully point to as a corporation.” Thank you to Kristine Lessard for her leadership engaging the Oracle Pride Employee Network (OPEN), John Marshall, Oracle Consulting Sales Executive, and the Oracle Diversity and Inclusion team for fostering an environment at Oracle that is inclusive of all employees. For more information on Oracle’s Diversity and Inclusion visit: https://www.oracle.com/corporate/careers/diversity/  

Oracle was a VIP sponsor for the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) thirty-seventh annual Gala Dinner in Boston on November 17th. The HRC is the largest national LGBTQ civil rights organization. HRC...

Oracle Corporation

Landing on the Cloud - what are the Benefits? - Part 3

Author: Stina Gamst, HCM Manager at Oracle Consulting So you landed on the “Cloud” – what are the benefits that you observe? It’s now simpler to create systems and processes with nicer looking user interfaces, which are even more reliable and fast than before which is crucial for HR systems. Once your digital Cloud transformation has been completed successfully, you will be able to see that your HR systems can be used in a smarter and easier way and thus you can easier create a more competitive and productive organization. Taking the advantage of the economy and scalability of the Cloud within HR will truly also connect you more to the other teams in your company, let alone minimize your risks when working with data that impact people and people processes. Security in Cloud systems are very robust and stable and so the Cloud transformation is a short, quick road to many benefits. The nice part is that after all the preparations, you can expand your Cloud solutions to not only cover HR but also include e.g. ERP, CRM, analytics and others. The process of going to the Cloud can at times be hectic and busy, but it’s a good opportunity of getting all your old and archived data cleaned up, and have experts work for and with you to reach your business goals. The relationship with your chosen Cloud provider will give you a strong, lasting relationship – also after you have landed on the Cloud, and the better your provider knows you, the more they will be able to help. They will know your culture! Do you want to go to the next level with your HR team? go Cloud! But don’t underestimate the preparations that it takes and know that preparing in the right, thorough way will yield a more resilient and unique solution after you have landed there. The groundwork matter and it can accelerate the desirable outcome and minimize useless complexities. To learn more and to hear the interesting experiences that the Swedish company Nynas went through, please come join us at the upcoming, free breakfast meeting and get all the insights from Sandra Skoglund Henriksson. Register here An article by Sandra Skoglund Henriksson, HR Service Center Director at Nynas and Stina Gamst on Cloud thoughts and tips.   If you want to read earlier articles in the series: Choosing your Cloud Services Vendor - Part 2 Things you must know to get a successful Cloud Journey - Part 1

Author: Stina Gamst, HCM Manager at Oracle Consulting So you landed on the “Cloud” – what are the benefits that you observe? It’s now simpler to create systems and processes with nicer looking user...

Oracle Corporation

Want to Get Smarter on the Cloud? Download Oracle Applications Consulting’s OpenWorld 2018 Presentations

Oracle Applications Consulting soared to the cloud at Oracle OpenWorld 2018. If you weren’t able to take the first-class journey with us October 22-25 in San Francisco, we have good news: our breakout session presentations are now available to download. You can access all seven presentations here, or explore them individually. Get up to speed on what you can download: It’s a Whole New World: How Cloud Confident Are You?  How confident are you about your journey to the cloud? Are you moving fast enough to keep up with your competitors, your clients, and your people? Learn from one of Oracle’s most innovative clients on how moving to the cloud can catapult success. Oracle Consulting transformed delivery to the cloud to produce rapid results through vigor, discipline, accountability, and differentiated assets. The on-time and under-budget implementation provided differentiated capabilities producing real results to the bottom line from day one. Discover how Oracle help you deliver and operate differently in the cloud. Soar to the Cloud: It’s the Last Upgrade You’ll Ever Do What’s keeping you from the cloud? Fear of a long, expensive migration process? Worries over internal resource requirements? Difficulty making a business case? Did you know that you can upgrade to the cloud in 20 weeks and reduce costs by up to 30 percent? It’s a whole new world with Oracle Consulting. Learn how you can reduce costs, increase efficiency, and boost revenue with Soar, Oracle’s automated cloud upgrade offering. Let us focus on the technology so you can focus on your business and join some of the world’s biggest and best organizations in the cloud. Textron Inc: An Advanced Technologies Conglomerate Integrates Oracle ERP Cloud Textron Inc. is one of the world’s best-known multi-industry companies, recognized for its powerful brands such as Bell, Cessna, Beechcraft, E-Z-GO, Jacobsen, and many more. In January 2018, Textron successfully implemented Oracle ERP Cloud, replacing the legacy system. The project, which spanned 13 weeks, was delivered on time and on budget, and the scope included financials and integration with external systems using Oracle Integration Cloud Service. This success story highlights the best practices adopted and delivers insights for similar organizations embarking on their cloud journey. Guidewire: Oracle ERP Cloud Helps an Insurance Software Provider Streamline Operations Guidewire, a global insurance software provider with operations in more than 19 countries, needed a scalable financial cloud platform to support its M&A growth while streamlining operations. Learn how Guidewire was able to consolidate multiple software products into a single global Oracle ERP Cloud with integrations between Coupa, Concur, Financial Force, SalesForce CPQ, and Workday. Oracle Consulting provided a strong value proposition and implementation experience that leveraged Oracle’s integration life-cycle management to deliver the project on time and under budget. How Oracle Business Intelligence Publisher Transforms Cloud ERP Reports  Ever wondered how to format Oracle standard reports to meet your requirements? With Oracle ERP it’s simple, and this presentation shows you how. Learn how to use Oracle Business Intelligence Publisher to extend the output of standard reports to flat Excel templates, so you can do Excel-based analysis on ERP data. Learn how to make your format the default output format or output both standard and the extended format. Explore the subledger account analysis report and the fixed-asset reserve ledger report as use cases and discover how to format the output. This capability improves productivity and empowers the end user to focus on analyzing the data instead of formatting it. Banking on the Cloud  Bank integration is one of the key project activities in any ERP implementation. From bank connectivity to payment formats, each bank integration aspect has its unique challenges. This presentation walks through a hypothetical timeline for the key tasks and deliverables while keeping in mind the constraints of the bank and other parties. Discover the five major U.S. bank documents (check, ACH, ePayables, ISO 20022, and BAI2) and see how Oracle Cloud provides a head start for these activities and helps you streamline processes. Implement SOX Certifications Within Weeks Using Oracle ERP Cloud  Learn how to deploy and implement SOX section 302/404 certification workflows within weeks, either from scratch or leveraging your current processes using Oracle ERP Cloud’s risk management functionality. What's Next? Oracle Applications Consulting is already developing new, insightful presentations for our signature spring events, which will take place March 19-21, 2019 at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas. Limitless presented by Oracle combines Modern Finance Experience, Oracle HCM World, and Modern Supply Chain Experience into a single event for career-enhancing knowledge and networking. At Modern Customer Experience, you'll learn the latest strategies and best practices in marketing, service, sales, and commerce to deliver legendary experiences your customers will rave about, and your competitors will envy. Be sure to register early to receive the best rate. We hope to see you there!

Oracle Applications Consulting soared to the cloud at Oracle OpenWorld 2018. If you weren’t able to take the first-class journey with us October 22-25 in San Francisco, we have good news: our...

Oracle Corporation

Delivering Information Security with ISO 27001 Certification

Oracle North America Applications Consulting places the utmost value on earning our customers’ trust. Critical to that effort is assuring customers that their data is secure with us. We recently reached a significant milestone in delivering information security to our customers when our India Global Services Delivery (GSD) teams in both Bangalore and Hyderabad achieved ISO 27001 certification—an internationally recognized standard for security.   So, why is ISO 27001 certification important? Earning ISO 27001 certification validates that Oracle North America Applications Consulting has robust information security processes, procedures, and controls to protect Oracle and customer data and sensitive information. Ultimately, our customers can have even more confidence in partnering with us on their ERP, HCM, and CX cloud implementation and support projects.     Specific benefits of ISO 27001 certification include:    Compliance – ensures adherence to business, legal, contractual, and regulatory requirements pertaining to data protection, privacy, and IT governance. Risk mitigation – protects against security threats and demonstrates necessary steps have been taken to safeguard the business and data. Improved structure and focus – helps protect information assets by clearly outlining procedures and processes in an efficient, consistent manner.  Reduced need for audits – eliminates the need for repeated customer audits, enabling key stakeholders to spend more time on strategic business activities. Third-party validation – provides assurance from a competent, industry-leading certification authority that robust information security processes, procedures and controls are in place. External auditor reviews at specific intervals ensure continuous improvement and compliance. We’re proud of the India GSD team for making information security a top priority for our clients and for Oracle. The significant work required to earn this prestigious certification exemplifies our client-first culture in action. 

Oracle North America Applications Consulting places the utmost value on earning our customers’ trust. Critical to that effort is assuring customers that their data is secure with us. We recently...

Oracle Corporation

Oracle Applications Consulting Leadership Paints a Picture of Our Future

What does your best day look like? What do you want to be known for? How do you define a happy customer? These are just a few of the questions we asked the Oracle Applications Consulting leadership team when we sat them down in front of a video camera at a recent FY19 planning event. Watch the video to hear the priorities and values they plan to infuse throughout the year for their customers, their teams, and themselves. Here are some highlights of the responses from the Oracle Applications Consulting leadership team: "Our best day is when we have a great plan, collaborative and engaging conversations—not only with our teams but with our clients—driving clients' success and outcomes." —Bruno Binkley, Growth and Strategy Lead "Success at work is pretty simple. It's about elevating the client experience. It's about making a client very satisfied with everything we do."  —Rick Hassman, Customer Advocacy Lead "When a customer is really happy, they call me and they tell me about an individual that they just can't live without. And they call me and say, 'Thank you, Beth. You told me you were going to bring me the A-team, and wow, I got it.'"  —Beth Boettcher, North America Applications Consulting Lead "I want my headline to be that I'm growing and evolving our people. That no matter what chaos they experience during the day, that they wake up in the morning excited and they go to bed happy."  —Alyson Castillo, North America Capability Development Lead "Success is really three-fold. It's achieving our goals and growing the business. Second, it's making sure we've got happy and referenceable clients. And third, it's making sure that we're developing our talent and giving them a chance to grow their careers here at Oracle." —Pam Lord, CX Growth and Strategy Lead Want to learn more about why our clients love working with us and our employees are excited to be a part of this dynamic team? Watch the full video and discover how we're painting our future together.

What does your best day look like? What do you want to be known for? How do you define a happy customer? These are just a few of the questions we asked the Oracle Applications Consulting leadership...

Oracle Corporation

How Oracle Consulting Ensures Customers Achieve Lasting Value with Oracle Cloud Applications: 3 Questions with Steve Reeter

The ultimate measure of success for a cloud applications provider lies not in winning a customer’s business. It doesn’t reside in an on-time, on-budget go-live either. While these are critical goals to meet, they represent milestones along the path to the brass ring of achievement: ensuring customers receive enduring value from their applications.   This goal drives both the philosophic and practical approaches Oracle Applications Consulting instills in every customer project. In this interview, Steve Reeter, Oracle’s Vice President of ERP Consulting, discusses how we collaborate with customers to establish a strong foundation of ownership and knowledge of Oracle Cloud Applications that pays long-term dividends. Q: At a recent event, I heard you define a happy customer as one who finds lasting value with Oracle. How does Oracle Applications Consulting help customers achieve that lasting value starting from the implementation experience to beyond the go-live? A: For some time, certainly all the way back to on-premises, we’ve ascribed to a philosophy that it’s not just about a go-live event, it’s a commitment to agility. For cloud, it's all about long-term agility, long-term sustainability, long-term flexibility. Staying current becomes vastly easier in the cloud, which gives customers a roadmap that is an appreciating asset. Our ability to get customers to that place in deployment is key, and the way in which we get the customer onboarded adds signature value both in the implementation and over time because we are arguably the most transparent partner. Oracle Consulting is the most aggressive in making sure that our customers are self-sufficient. We have a multi-decade reputation of getting customers better trained and more knowledgeable. I like to think of our work as ensuring customers become better custodians of their Oracle applications. We not only get customers live, but very quickly on the heels of the go-live, we position them to be great custodians for change. We empower them to continue to optimize and take advantage of business events in the cloud, not just application updates or unlocking software value. It’s about addressing business change, mergers and acquisitions, expansion, globalization, technology innovations—all the things that we want them to be able to capitalize on. Our litmus test within the first year, second year, and third year is to confirm that value is appreciating faster than they’ve experienced before. That embodies lasting value for us, not a “one and done” go-live. Q: You mentioned our reputation for delivering better training and knowledge transfer. What is different about our approach? How does Oracle Applications Consulting deploy the strategy and tactics to enable that custodianship from day one? A: It begins with the transparency and the explicitness of what it’s going to take to be a successful customer. The best enablement for success that a customer can acknowledge is they’re going to have to be a critical participant. They’re going to have to be a decision-maker. They're going to have to commit resources. This is not a back-office project, and it’s critical for customers to align with that mindset to ensure they’re truly prepared. The process that begins from there, the way we deploy cloud, we believe is markedly different. With our implementation methodology, True Cloud Method, we have customers engage with the software extremely early—right up front—instilling the notion that their role as an informed participant is critical to success. Specifically, that starts with things like familiarization workshops as a part of True Cloud Method, which serves as early application education awareness. That lays a foundation so that, once we start making decisions, making setups, and establishing, confirming, and accepting designs, they’re truly an informed participant. We progress from there with customers working side by side with us. We look at the project as a bell curve—it shifts over time to less dependency on Oracle Consulting and more responsibility on the customer. That’s deliberate, so the customer begins to validate the system. By validating it, they’re creating muscle memory as opposed to just intellectual understanding of their processes on the cloud. That’s vital because, again, you can throw a lot of consultants at testing and validation, but that doesn't cement that necessary sense of ownership for the customer. Empowering our customers to own validation carries them forward. It prepares them for their first month-end close, for the first unexpected production support, for the first proactive business event that needs to be conducted in the cloud. The last milestone before go-live is when a big part of the customer’s organization—not just their core team—is validating with hands on a keyboard, and they have been properly prepared to do that. That makes for a successful cut-over, and it makes for a successful cloud custodian relationship with the applications. Q: Your description of the transfer of responsibility over the course of the project brings to mind a common challenge I’ve heard from many customers during my career: “How do I dedicate the internal resources necessary for this implementation without disrupting my day-to-day operations?” What approach does Oracle Consulting take with customers to ensure they can successfully run their business while doing the implementation in parallel? A: The last technology event that many of our customers have seen is an upgrade, which can create a false sense of interaction. So, at times, our customers will say, “Well, this is maybe a little more work than the upgrade,” or “You, the consultants, will do a little more work than the upgrade.” My response is, “No, that’s like the difference between some house maintenance and building a brand-new home.” We prepare customers accordingly in several ways. We make it clear they’ll be making key decisions that impact their business. And as a result, they need to assemble the right team to support it. That requires the executive sponsors of the project to assemble their best people to fingerprint this new cloud design. This sounds obvious, but it can be difficult to assign your most in-demand talent to another project. We go an extra step to understand not only what the demands are for some of these key folks, but to determine what other capital projects are going on in parallel that may be fighting for resources. Sometimes that’s as innocuous as an expected audit. Sometimes it’s as strategic as an acquisition during the life of the project, and those same critical resources will get tapped. Once the team is assembled, executive sponsors must deputize individuals by clearly making the project a priority for them, and empower them to make decisions on behalf of the company. The C-level executives won’t be at every meeting. Responsibility assignments and governance structures only work if there is a true delegation of authority. In absence of that, you get decision volleys, secondary reviews, and decisions that lack staying power. So, we are candid about the level of commitment needed and the importance of mapping the right resources to the project. The power to make things go quickly requires an empowered team. Customers want to know how fast we can run. And the answer is, it’s a three-legged race. The consulting team can only run as fast as we can run together.  

The ultimate measure of success for a cloud applications provider lies not in winning a customer’s business. It doesn’t reside in an on-time, on-budget go-live either. While these are critical...

Oracle Corporation

Erste Group Bank Consolidates Big Data Analytics with Oracle

Erste Group Bank Gains 360° View of Customers and Increases Business Performance by Consolidating Big Data Analytics on a Single Cloud Platform   "We used Oracle Big Data Appliance to consolidate the data analytics of our parent company, Erste Group Bank, on a single, modern system. The powerful technology - which is easy to set up and run - enables us to gain a 360º view of customers, deliver innovative services, and strengthen our brand." -  Branislav Šebo, CEO, Erste Group IT International GmbH     Erste Group Bank is a financial services provider in Central and Eastern Europe, offering retail banking for private customers, as well as corporate banking, mainly for small and medium-sized enterprises. Part of Erste’s growth strategy is the acquisition of financial services institutions across Central and Eastern European countries. However, a growing demand for more powerful big data analytics capabilities and for consolidation of acquired companies with established business processes and IT infrastructures led to Erste’s decision to modernize its big data infrastructure.     Challenges Deliver real-time data from consolidated sources, as well as modeling capabilities integrated with historical data, to support 360º customer profiles, individual recommendations, and an omnichannel digital customer experience Implement a coordinated approach for regulatory, risk, and finance reporting and analysis to bring data quality and data security to a new level of excellence in all local markets where the bank is present Consolidate big data analysis solutions from Erste’s subsidiaries onto a single platform to reduce administration efforts and to achieve high quality results—sharing components and data where possible and using open-source technologies where appropriate Secure investments by making sure that the platform can be sustained in the future and will be able to handle big data analytics projects across all countries that Erste serves   Results Enabled Erste to generate 360º customer profiles, deduce individual recommendations, and ensure a consistent customer experience across all digital channels and throughout all branches by consolidating the bank’s heterogeneous big data analytics infrastructure onto Oracle Big Data Appliance with Oracle Datasource for Apache Hadoop Reduced development and delivery times for new data analytics projects and tasks by avoiding complex integration of local data sources and processes—empowering Erste to set up a data lake and a risk assessment tool for the whole group, implement a science lab for data scientists, and develop an internationally consistent online banking interface Improved data quality for regulatory, risk, and financial reporting and analysis by eliminating sources of errors in data capture and transfer from and between national subsidiaries Reduced maintenance efforts and costs, and improved data security by replacing national subsidiaries’ data analytics solutions with Oracle Big Data Appliance as one comprehensive and powerful platform Achieved flexibility and performance of big data analytics by leveraging the capabilities of Oracle Big Data Appliance to employ open source technologies such as Hadoop, Spark, or Kafka, as well as big data analytics services in the cloud Secured investment by implementing a group-wide, standard platform to deliver Big Data as a Service to Erste’s subsidiaries in all countries, which will cover the needs of future digital projects entirely Leveraged expert knowledge and avoided strain on in-house IT teams by outsourcing both implementation and operation of the big data analytics platform to Oracle Consulting Slovakia   "We have a long-lasting, trustful partnership with Oracle. It was really good news when the proof of concept showed that Oracle Big Data Appliance is the best technology for big data analytics available on the market. Oracle’s clear commitment, intensive support, and ability to seamlessly integrate our partner, Cloudera, in the project guaranteed its complete success." - Michael Schneglberger, Area Head of Business Competence Center of Regulatory Reporting, Erste Group Bank AG     About Erste Group Bank AG Founded in 1819 as the first Austrian savings bank, Erste Group Bank went public in 1997 with a strategy to expand its retail business into Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). Since then, Erste Group has grown through numerous acquisitions and organic growth to one of the largest financial service providers in the CEE in terms of clients and total assets. The bank offers its services to more than 19 million private and business clients online and in over 2,500 branches in 7 CEE countries, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Hong Kong.     Partners Several Oracle Partners were involved in the project. Cloudera supplied the Hadoop distribution that is deployed on Oracle Big Data Appliance and assisted Oracle Consulting Slovakia during the proof of concept. Arrow ECS sponsored the hardware that was used during the proof of concept. Fujitsu contributed to the hardware sales process. SAS supplied the corporate risk solution for Erste Group that was deployed as the first productive application on the platform. The project was completed on time and within budget.   Read more: Oracle and Oracle Consulting teams up with Kenya’s largest bank as the African country goes cashless Embarking on an Oracle Documents journey Oracle’s ERP Cloud for banking and financial services ​BAMF Uses Oracle PaaS to Support 3x Volume of Data Data Warehouse Modernization project for a top MEA bank

Erste Group Bank Gains 360° View of Customers and Increases Business Performance by Consolidating Big Data Analytics on a Single Cloud Platform   "We used Oracle Big Data Appliance to consolidate the...

Oracle Corporation

What’s Your Best Career Advice? Insights from Oracle Applications Consulting

Oracle Applications Consulting infuses a culture of learning and leadership throughout our organization. It’s a personal mission for me to ensure our people feel connected, supported, and inspired to take our organization—and in turn, our clients—to the next level.   Leadership isn’t just about a job title for us. Our goal is to ensure every member of our team feels empowered to demonstrate leadership in their interactions within and outside our organization. Our culture is driven by a servant leadership style—we are here to serve our clients and each other.     I’ve found the best way to inspire leadership at every level of our team is to show it in action. I recently engaged our team in an online conversation around leadership advice and inspiration. To kick off the dialogue, I asked them to share their best career advice. The responses were inspiring and insightful. They amped up my energy and excitement for where our team can go. Here is a sampling of some the conversation—I hope these words of wisdom motivate you as much as they did me.    Swarnali Bag, Consulting Practice Director I think my biggest inspiration and motivation comes from my amazing and fearless mother, who has given me multiple pieces of advice (which I only realize now) on how to be successful in life. I would like to share a few of them:   1. “If you get an opportunity in life, never say no. Say yes, and work endlessly until you learn it.” Guess what, I was walking by an Oracle office at HQ the other day, and I saw a very similar quote by Richard Branson: “If someone offers you an amazing opportunity, and you're not sure if you can do it, say ‘yes’ then learn how to do it later.” 2. “Whatever you do, you need to be the best at it, which means even if you are a sweeper, you gotta be the best sweeper in town.” 3. “If you find hurdles that don't let you do the right thing, never be afraid to go to the highest level to achieve your objective.”   Jenna Loos, Managing Principal, Expert Services My career has revolved around marketing so it’s probably no surprise that the best career advice I’ve received is this: Treat your career like a brand—manage it, cultivate it, and remain true to your brand’s identity. Work for its success, and fight hard for opportunities as they come up. All the actions you make, or don't make, will affect how people see you and your brand.   Rick Hassman, Vice President, NA Customer Advocacy “To have power is to give power away.” I realized early in my career that to be successful, I needed to create an amazing team. I needed to understand everyone’s strengths and use them to make whatever we were doing successful. I needed to trust and grow the entire team. Success comes from a great team...not individual power.   Bruno Binkley, Group Vice President, NAA Consulting Strategy  One principle of leadership that I have found critical is flexibility. A mentor of mine early in my career pulled me aside and had me think through an ancient story: “The Oak and the Reed” from Aesop’s Fables. It is summarized in the following verse: A reed before the wind lives on, while mighty oaks do fall. He added...” you’ll have happy clients if you act like a reed.” When you think of things as either/or, you will tend to pick what you think is right and stick to it...as a mighty oak. Instead, think of the AND...how can you blend your perspective with others to develop something better.   Guy Purvis, Senior Practice Director Advice I have liked over the years:   1. Do more listening than speaking. 2. Understand before judging. 3. Leadership is set by example.   Dinesh Nagaraj, Project Director, Global Services Delivery One of the best career conversations that I have had was with my manager during my early working days: Work hard, work smart, be curious, yearn to learn (always!), spread the knowledge (sharing is learning!), be kind to others. At the end of the day, your life and career is as good as the human being you are. Everything else we aspire to will eventually fall in place!   We are taking these and other concepts more broadly throughout our organization. The photo above was taken at a recent leadership meeting for Oracle North America Applications Consulting. The theme of the meeting was Painting Our Future Together (we took a literal interpretation on the theme, too, as evidenced by the personalized artwork we're holding). We spent several days together planning for FY2019, and inspiring our team through leadership was a continuous thread in our conversations.   We know that as we demonstrate—and reward—servant leadership at all levels of our organization, our team and our clients reap the benefits. How do you inspire leadership within your organization? And what’s your best career advice? Let us know in the comments—we’d love to learn from our community.

Oracle Applications Consulting infuses a culture of learning and leadership throughout our organization. It’s a personal mission for me to ensure our people feel connected, supported, and inspired...

Future State

Video: Beyond the Horizon - Cross Baltic Challenge 2018 with Oracle Cloud

Author:  Wojciech Wcislo, Practice Manager, Oracle Consulting  July 24 2018, 6 members of the Kużnia Triathlonu club in Poland attempted a challenge that had never been completed before; to relay swim 170 km across the Baltic Sea - from Poland to Sweden. The 6 swimmers finished the challenge at the costal shore of Sweden, it took them 2 days 7 hours 34 minutes and 4 seconds to swim 167.33 km! Supporting the mission was an XBC Tracking system comprising of hardware and software components deployed both on the assisting boat and Oracle Cloud. These two components were connected via a bi-directional data link over Iridium satellite system exchanging: sensor data from assisting boat to Oracle Cloud tracking progress of the challenge and weather conditions like temperature (air and water), pressure, humidity or insolation from Oracle Cloud to assisting boat to update hardware module configuration (if required) All data from the sensors - including data from gyroscopes - processed in real-time and stored for possible future analysis to monitor performance of the team and provide intelligence such as how weather conditions affects pace or navigation capabilities. The system also checked the latest metrological conditions using OpenWeatherMap.org providing wind speed and wind direction data to app users. Once the data was processed and interpreted by XBC Tracking App users followed the progress of the challenge using Windy.com map visualization embedded in the app. For more information about the XBC event: Read more about the event here https://www.facebook.com/CrossBalticChallenge2018/   Oracle Products used:  Oracle IoT Cloud Services Oracle Database-as-a-Service Oracle Application Express  For more information on Oracle Consulting.  

Author:  Wojciech Wcislo, Practice Manager, Oracle Consulting  July 24 2018, 6 members of the Kużnia Triathlonu club in Poland attempted a challenge that had never been completed before; to relay swim...

Oracle Corporation

Aaron Millstone Joins Oracle as SVP of North America Technology Consulting & Public Sector Consulting

Aaron Millstone joined Oracle as the Senior Vice President for Oracle Consulting Technology and Public Sector Consulting.  Aaron comes to Oracle from Accenture where he spent twenty-three years and was most recently Managing Director responsible for Accenture’s enterprise transformation offerings and practices in their Health and Public Service business. Aaron’s ability to drive change coupled with his experience in complex enterprise architectures makes him an optimal choice to lead his team through an ambitious transformation process.  Oracle Consulting is transforming in order to accelerate the move to Oracle Cloud through faster, smarter and simpler solutions that drive the innovation required to help customers thrive in today’s fast-paced cloud world.   In his first initiative at Oracle, Aaron created a cross-functional team to develop a charter and collaborate on a comprehensive plan to drive transformation through every aspect of the organization. Appropriately named, Oracle Elevate, the initiative’s goal is to transform Oracle Consulting Technology & Public Sector Consulting into the #1 implementation partner for Oracle Cloud. “I am delighted to lead Tech and Public Sector Consulting as we look to disrupt the market and become the number one preferred cloud consulting partner for our customers. Every company is dealing with a seismic shift in their business due to IaaS, PaaS and SaaS services.  There is no better company in the world than Oracle to help our customers transform to be more successful.  I am excited that we have launched Oracle Elevate to drive our own transformation so that we can help execute the strategic vision of Oracle.” – Aaron, Millstone, SVP, Oracle Consulting Workgroups were tasked with identifying the current situation, determining opportunities and creating execution requirements that include the following areas: Exceed customer expectations Grow our world class cloud talent Define new and differentiated services and offerings for Oracle Cloud Improve alignment with other Oracle teams Create strategic partnerships to provide maximum value to our customers Reimagine the Oracle Consulting brand both internally and externally “I left energized by the unity and powerful perspectives of other Oracle Consulting colleagues as we brainstormed together to define potential solutions to elevate and transform consulting.” Karen Munoz, Senior Technical Director “The power of Oracle Consulting’s brand is unquestionable and is illustrated by the Oracle Elevate initiative, which will positively impact our ability to successfully sell and execute in the market.” Brett Deininger, Vice President, Consulting Sales

Aaron Millstone joined Oracle as the Senior Vice President for Oracle Consulting Technology and Public Sector Consulting.  Aaron comes to Oracle from Accenture where he spent twenty-three years and...

Future State

Beyond the Horizon - Cross Baltic Challenge 2018 with Oracle Cloud

Author:  Wojciech Wcislo, Practice Manager, Oracle Consulting  On July 24th 2018, members of the Kużnia Triathlonu club in Poland will attempt a challenge that has never been completed before; to relay swim across the Baltic Sea - from Poland to Sweden. Supporting this mission will be an XBC Tracking system comprising of hardware and software components deployed both on the assisting boat and Oracle Cloud. These two components will be connected via a bi-directional data link over Iridium satellite system exchanging: sensor data from assisting boat to Oracle Cloud tracking progress of the challenge and weather conditions like temperature (air and water), pressure, humidity or insolation from Oracle Cloud to assisting boat to update hardware module configuration (if required) All data from the sensors - including data from gyroscopes - is processed in real-time and stored for possible future analysis to monitor performance of the team and provide intelligence such as how weather conditions affects pace or navigation capabilities. The system also checks the latest metrological conditions using OpenWeatherMap.org providing wind speed and wind direction data to app users. Once the data is processed and interpreted by XBC Tracking App users can follow the progress of the challenge using Windy.com map visualization embedded in the app. For more information;   Read more about the event here Watch swimmers progress on the day here https://www.facebook.com/CrossBalticChallenge2018/  

Author:  Wojciech Wcislo, Practice Manager, Oracle Consulting  On July 24th 2018, members of the Kużnia Triathlonu club in Poland will attempt a challenge that has never been completed before; to relay...

Oracle Named a Leader in Forrester Wave for Email Marketing Service Providers

Email marketing remains the most cost-effective channel in the promotional toolkit, but it still presents challenges for B2C marketers. Companies continue to search for new and better strategies to personalize emails with customer data, drive sustained engagement, and coordinate email marketing with other marketing efforts. It’s no wonder then that so many companies turn to email marketing service providers to help them optimize what has become a mainstay of B2C marketing.   So how can marketing professionals choose the right provider for email marketing services? Forrester shines light on the current vendor landscape via The Forrester Wave™: Email Marketing Service Providers, Q2 2018. The report notes that Oracle Responsys “believes leveling up operations, tech, and creative services to its strategy and analytics offerings will differentiate Oracle from other marketing clouds.” The report also cites Oracle Responsys’ “great services combined with already strong reporting, collaboration, and global support.”   Forrester focused its evaluation criteria on email marketing fundamentals as well as capabilities that help marketers advance their email marketing applications. Of the eight email marketing services vendors Forrester evaluated, Oracle was one of two companies recognized as a leader across 26 criteria, which were segmented into three categories: current offering, strategy, and market presence. Oracle received the highest possible scores for the criteria of collaboration, security, distributed business model support, globalization, agency relationships, strength of management team, and employee retention.   Oracle Responsys features award-winning email marketing capabilities that drive conversions, deepen the customer relationship, and reduce messaging fragmentation. Oracle Responsys is part of Oracle Marketing Cloud, an integrated portfolio of best-in-class B2B and B2C applications that empowers marketers to deliver irresistible, consistent, and connected customer experiences that help drive sales and increase brand loyalty. Harnessing the power of artificial intelligence, Oracle Marketing Cloud provides contextually informed, personalized experiences at scale and in real time so marketers can reach customers wherever they are, and however they choose to engage.   A complimentary copy of the full Forrester report can be downloaded here. Read the Oracle press release here.

Email marketing remains the most cost-effective channel in the promotional toolkit, but it still presents challenges for B2C marketers. Companies continue to search for new and better strategies to...

Future State

Towards a Balanced Supply Chain Practice with Manufacturing in a Box

Author: Simon Neale, Practice Manager, Supply Chain Management (SCM) at Oracle Consulting in UK and Ireland. Wannabe singer, yogi and brewer. My wife’s a yoga teacher and she gives me good counsel; that I need to achieve more balance in life.  Whether it’s being able to stand on one leg in tree pose, making the two sides of the T accounts match or helping our clients through transformation with evenly weighted advice, life is better in balance.  The challenge Our Supply Chain Consulting practice are doing really well selling cloud transformation of tactical purchase-to-pay (P2P) implementations. We are doing very well selling sourcing, supplier qualification management and supplier contracts to the strategic procurement teams too. The software applications are mature and we see lots of client demand from both direct and indirect procurement. Our challenge is on the other side of the Supply Chain; in the Order-to-Cash and Plan to Fulfill business processes. We have sold less work here.  But think about it; our clients do just as much selling as they do buying don’t they?  Or they’d be out of business.  Why aren't there more O2C and P2F implementations? We've certainly got the skills in the team - and we're currently delivering these flows at major clients, so have the experience too. We’re a consulting practice that exists with this imbalance and we have been comfortable with it. To a certain extent that’s OK because the Customer Experience (CX) team covers some of the Lead to Cash process. So why try and gain equipoise if we’ve been OK with it, and what are we doing about it? Why change? For one, we know that the consulting work is out there and secondly Oracle Consulting is the best partner to deliver business transformation supported by Oracle SCM Cloud software; delivered using our Oracle True Cloud Method with our fantastic Cloud Adoption Services team.   What are we doing about it?  1.       We’ve set up a Manufacturing Board to get our sales, product development, technology, integration, marketing and consulting delivery teams thinking, talking and working together. 2.      We’re using momentum from the Board to work out how to increase the sales of our rapidly implementable Supply Chain Management applications to clients. 3.      We’ve developed pre-configured Manufacturing Cloud software that started as seeds of ideas from our delivery teams. 4.      We’re training the team to implement Internet of Things (IOT) Production Monitoring and IOT Asset Monitoring to help clients to get pilots of this amazing technology started straight away. 5. We've already hired significant expertise into the team in anticipation of this work - in fact we've four new people on the SCM team in the last four weeks. All of the above work will allow us build relationships and support our clients in their business value creation initiatives.  This is the start of something and it’s an exciting time to be part of the balanced Oracle Supply Chain practice.   Q: What’s manufacturing-in-a-box? A: One of the first offerings we have been working on is called Manufacturing-In-A-Box (MIAB). It’s based on the ‘pack’ implementation approach and offers clients the ability to get live with a smaller manufacturing plant in between 12 and 24 weeks. It’s a fixed scope, fixed time and transparently priced implementation, with lots of pre-built, pre-configured software. Q: What does MIAB contain? A: MIAB contains all of the modules in the diagram below, but can also be implemented as an end-to-end solution with other modules, dependent upon client requirements. What's next? Watch this space.... we will have a number of successful implementations by the end of this year in the O2C and P2F space and will be talking about them at Industry events. Contact me, Simon Neale if you are interested in hearing more.     Read more about Oracle Consulting and Oracle Supply Chain: 3 Trends in Supply Chain Management Cloud Application Deployment Models Supply Chain Management and Manufacturing in the cloud! Discover my journey as an Oracle Consultant

Author: Simon Neale, Practice Manager, Supply Chain Management (SCM) at Oracle Consulting in UK and Ireland. Wannabe singer, yogi and brewer. My wife’s a yoga teacher and she gives me good counsel;...

Oracle Corporation

Supply Chain Management and Manufacturing in the cloud! Discover my journey as an Oracle Consultant

Meet the Consultant: Craig Coleman EXPERTISE: Aerospace & Defense, Industrial Products, Medical Devices Author Craig Coleman, Senior Principle Consultant, Oracle Consulting in UK and Ireland   "I work on the UK & Ireland´s go to market approach for deploying Supply Chain cloud applications in our small and mid-market customer. I´m also working out how the Internet of Things (IoT) sensors and Oracle cloud software (manufacturing and supply chain) can be used to leapfrog our customers ahead of their competitors in terms of operational efficiency, effectiveness, zero touch processes and transparency." - Craig Coleman, Senior Principle Consultant, Oracle Consulting   I am a Senior Principal Consultant working within the ERPM applications delivery team in the UK. I am a Cloud certified implementation specialist in Manufacturing and I have over thirteen years’ experience designing and deploying Oracle Supply Chain Management solutions in manufacturing, warehousing and order management. Additionally I have worked in a number of sectors over the years including Aerospace, Industrial Products, Medical Devices, Financial Services and the Public Sector. Deploying systems for more traditional uses such as building landing gear and manufacturing coils & stents, the most unusual use of Oracle Manufacturing and Supply Chain that I have been involved with was using the product to manage the creation and cradle-to-grave trace-ability of cryptographic material (material used to secure or authenticate a network/information). Most recently I have been working on the UK Oracle Consulting approach for how best to engage with small to medium size enterprises in relation to deploying Supply Chain cloud applications, and also how the Internet of Things (IOT) sensors and software can be leveraged using such offerings, to enable customers to use Oracle Cloud solutions as a differentiator from their competition. As well as working on the most interesting element of Cloud applications (in my personal view!), you could say that I have a busy life outside of work with 3 young children, 2 gold fish, and a puppy to look after. I am more than happy however to discuss any SCM/Manufacturing matters in my “spare time”, and would welcome any approach in relation to how the supply chain consulting team can help you, or provide solutions for any customers you are currently engaged with.   Learn more about working at Oracle Consulting: Meet the Consultant: Alex Barnes, Oracle Cloud Financials and Public Sector Industry Specialist Step OUT of your Comfort Zone Three behaviors a Project Manager should practice Do this to keep challenging yourself. Why is organization culture important? It is never boring to work at Oracle Consulting

Meet the Consultant: Craig Coleman EXPERTISE: Aerospace & Defense, Industrial Products, Medical Devices Author Craig Coleman, Senior Principle Consultant, Oracle Consulting in UK and Ireland   "I work on...

Manufacturing

Sonoco Recognizes Oracle Consulting with Operational Excellence Supplier Performance Award

Sonoco, a global provider of consumer packaging, industrial products, protective packaging, and displays and packaging supply chain services, recently awarded its 2018 Operational Excellence Supplier Performance Award to Oracle Consulting. Based in Hartsville, S.C., Sonoco presented the award at its 14th Annual Supplier Business Conference. During the event, Sonoco recognizes the mutually beneficial partnerships that its suppliers have cultivated based on their commitment to quality, responsiveness, and service. The criteria Sonoco uses to recognize suppliers through the award program include improving customer focus, driving cost savings, implementing innovative business solutions, and using technology to achieve a competitive edge.   Oracle Consulting exemplified these qualities by implementing Oracle Transportation Management (OTM) Cloud in an aggressive 16-week timeframe to replace an outdated, off-support, on-premises Transportation Management solution from another applications vendor. The initial implementation of OTM Cloud, which ranks as a Leader in Gartner’s 2018 Magic Quadrant for Transportation Management Systems, focused on North America. The project came in on time and on budget, and provides a strategic global foundation to ensure the logistics organization has the tools and knowledge necessary to create maximum value for all Sonoco businesses through optimal freight planning and execution.   Adding to the complexity inherent in the rapid implementation timeframe, Sonoco had three ERP systems and required integration to two applications for mileage calculation and fuel recovery from other applications vendors. Two factors contributed to the project coming in on time and on budget. First, Oracle Consulting participated in the application selection stage, driving understanding of Sonoco’s business requirements and project scope. Deep-dive workshops and demonstrations of solution functionality gained Sonoco’s trust in the team’s industry expertise and capabilities. Second, Oracle Consulting accelerated the move from the legacy solution with a standard pre-configured solution setup and templates to load data.   “In addition to today’s challenging logistics market, we found ourselves facing a new platform in Oracle Transportation Management, while ‘lights out’ was imminent on our aging Transportation Management System,” said Richard Wynne, Director of Global Category Management (Consumer and Logistics), Sonoco. “The Oracle Consulting implementation team worked tirelessly alongside our Business Technology and Logistics project teams to accomplish the mission. We delivered the solution, we delivered on the promise, and we did it with no business interruptions to our downstream organization and carriers.”   With annualized net sales of $4.8 billion, Sonoco has 20,000 employees working in more than 300 operations in 33 countries, serving some of the world’s best-known brands in 85 nations.   Pictured in photo, left to right: Chuck Beasley, Sonoco TMS Deployment Specialist; Jeffrey Bailey, Oracle Applications Sales Manager; Chris Knowlton, Oracle Consulting Principal Consultant; Richard Wynne, Sonoco Director of Global Category Management (Consumer and Logistics); Greg Munoz, Sonoco Vice President of Global Procurement and Logistics

Sonoco, a global provider of consumer packaging, industrial products, protective packaging, and displays and packaging supply chain services, recently awarded its 2018 Operational Excellence...

Oracle Corporation

Textron Hits Cruising Altitude with Oracle Consulting

Operating globally in multiple industries, including the challenging aerospace and defense sector, Textron provides complex and sophisticated solutions to its customers. Constrained by a 20-year-old on-premises, highly customized, and off-support financial management system, Textron realized it needed to move to a modern financials management solution that is easy to use with additional functionality to support future growth. Textron chose Oracle Financials Cloud applications to establish a solution that is functionally deep and scalable and to reduce extensive application upgrades. The company partnered with Oracle Consulting to ensure a fast, seamless implementation. "Oracle Consulting provided us with a sense of value and reliability that we couldn’t find with any other partner," said Mike Skibo, Executive Director, Enterprise Business Solutions, Textron Information Services. "We knew that Oracle Consulting had the resources, tenacity, and skills necessary to get this project done on time." Textron and Oracle Consulting embarked on a project that would enable Textron to maintain its normal course of business throughout an aggressive 14-week implementation journey. Oracle Consulting invested the time necessary to understand Textron’s business, process requirements, and unique customer reporting, guiding the Textron team as they adopted the modern best business practices inherent in the solution and tailored out-of-the-box reports. The project was completed on time and under budget, while also ensuring the ownership and adoption of Oracle Financials Cloud applications by Textron users in a short time frame. "Because it was all one Oracle team, it was a seamless system implementation," said Kelli Gudz, Senior Finance Systems Manager at Textron. "Oracle Consulting always communicated well and made sure that our questions were answered, providing us with best practices to use in our system. Not only do they have all the resources available to them to get answers rapidly, but they are also very well-versed in Oracle applications. The consultants on the project have seen the growth of the product and how the customer is going to use it in different ways. As Textron and Oracle together, we were able to roll out a system that’s been reliable and quickly accepted." Watch the video highlighting how Textron partnered with Oracle Consulting to successfully implement Oracle Financials Cloud here.

Operating globally in multiple industries, including the challenging aerospace and defense sector, Textron provides complex and sophisticated solutions to its customers. Constrained by a 20-year-old...

Oracle Corporation

Soar to the Cloud with Oracle

Moving to the cloud just got a lot easier—and faster. On June 5, Oracle Executive Chairman and CTO Larry Ellison announced the “Soar to the Cloud” solution, the world’s first automated enterprise cloud application upgrade product. What does that mean for Oracle’s on-premises customers? It will enable them to reduce the time and cost of cloud migration by up to 30 percent by leveraging a complete set of automated tools and proven methodologies. And, it’s the last upgrade they will ever need, as Larry stated during the launch event. I was excited to be a part of that event—but I’m even more excited to be a part of Oracle Soar. It will drive a fast, predictable, and cost-effective cloud journey because it applies the same power of automation that is infused in every Oracle Cloud application. As a result, Oracle customers can quickly enhance their finance, HR, and supply chain applications—and take advantage of machine learning. It’s the combination of tools, methods, and people that makes Soar work. I’m proud that many of those people are part of my Oracle Applications Consulting team, and they are intimately familiar with the tools and methodology that drive Soar. The solution includes a discovery assessment, process analyzer, automated data and configuration migration tools, and rapid integration tools. Guided by a dedicated Oracle concierge service, the Soar automated process is fueled by True Cloud MethodTM, Oracle’s proprietary approach to support customers throughout the cloud journey. True Cloud Method is the underpinning of every Oracle Applications Consulting implementation project. So, we know that it ensures a rapid, “no surprises” migration that aligns with industry modern best practices because we’ve proven it time and again. One of the coolest parts of the Soar solution is the fact that customers can monitor the status of their cloud journey with a mobile application that includes a step-by-step implementation guide. The intuitive app lets customers know what needs to be done daily to ensure the project stays on course. And without a doubt, staying the course will be driven by an experienced Oracle launch team. The people behind the development, direction, and deployment of Soar represent the best in the business. I’m thrilled to call them colleagues and friends. Oracle Applications Consulting is excited to dig into the work of catapulting our clients to success with the hottest cloud technology on the market. Are you ready to Soar to the Cloud with Oracle? Your launch team is ready for you. Learn more here.  

Moving to the cloud just got a lot easier—and faster. On June 5, Oracle Executive Chairman and CTO Larry Ellison announced the “Soar to the Cloud” solution, the world’s first automated enterprise cloud...

Oracle Corporation

How Oracle Applications Consulting Works with Partners: 3 Questions with Tom White

As Lewis and Clark would attest, some of the greatest journeys are the product of powerful partnerships. Oracle Applications Consulting knows this to be true and works closely with its vast partner ecosystem to deliver deep expertise to companies looking to make a journey to the cloud with experienced guides. That collaboration with partners enables Oracle Applications Consulting clients to benefit from the collective capabilities of the best consultants in the business. Tom White, Oracle’s Vice President, North American Consulting Ecosystem, leads the strategy to ensure client success via the best possible complement of implementation capabilities within the OraclePartner Network. I recently had a conversation with Tom to take a closer look at how Oracle Applications Consulting works within its partner ecosystem. Q: Why is working with partners important to Oracle Applications Consulting? A: Our singular goal is to ensure our clients receive business value and meet their objectives with Oracle Cloud Applications. When we see that clients have a need that would be best met by the specialized capabilities of a partner, we bring them to the table. In turn, our clients get the best of both worlds: Oracle accountability, technology proficiency, advisory skills, and industry and functional expertise combined with partners’ end-to-end process, organizational design, and change management skills.    Q: How do those joint projects between Oracle Applications Consulting and a partner take shape? A: There are two scenarios where we work with our partners to best serve our clients. The first is when we recognize that our capabilities are a perfect fit for the client, so we lead the project with a partner supporting us. In the second scenario, the client may have a unique requirement for which a partner is best suited to take the reins, so the partner leads. Regardless of the scenario we engage in, we use one methodology for the project to ensure consistent, predictable outcomes. The methodology can be our partner’s or Oracle Consulting’s True Cloud Method™. We set clear lines of accountability, conduct RASCIs, and then govern the project accordingly. In both scenarios, we combine forces with a partner to collaborate on delivering something amazing for our clients. Q: What role does Oracle Applications Consulting play in enhancing the partner ecosystem? A: We strongly believe in the “rising tide lifts all boats” philosophy when it comes to enhancing the Oracle partner ecosystem. We are continuously up-leveling our skills and applying new learnings to improve our service and delivery. By collaborating with our partners to share our best practices, we are leading the charge on quality in the ecosystem, and that translates into enhanced results for every client. Oracle Applications Consulting has a mandate for 100% cloud certification for our team. We believe by maintaining that high standard of quality, it’s a motivating factor for partner to up their game as well. We are also working to enhance the ecosystem by developing joint offerings with partners. Our team is excited to roll out these joint offerings because we know that collaborating with partners will help us further accelerate our clients’ journey to the cloud, and ultimately, their success.    

As Lewis and Clark would attest, some of the greatest journeys are the product of powerful partnerships. Oracle Applications Consulting knows this to be true and works closely with its vast...

Oracle Corporation

DP World Extends Strategic Collaboration with Oracle to Accelerate Global Digital Transformation in the Cloud

Global trade enabler DP World has extended its partnership with Oracle to implement its digital transformation programme that supports its strategy to develop complementary sectors in the global supply chain such as industrial parks, free zones and logistics.    Suhail Al Banna, Senior Vice President, DP World, Middle East and Africa Region; Arun Khehar, Senior Vice President – Business Applications, ECEMEA, Oracle; Mohammed Al Muallem, CEO and Managing Director, DP World, UAE Region and CEO, JAFZA.   The move follows an announcement by DP World earlier this year to use the Oracle Cloud Suite of Applications drive business transformation. Oracle Consulting will now implement the full suite of Fusion Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Human Capital Management (HCM) and Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) Cloud solutions using its True Cloud methodology. The technology roll out across the Group has already started with the Group’s UAE Region and Middle East and Africa Region the first to sign up. Teo Chin Seng, Senior Vice President IT, DP World Group, said:“Our focus on building our digital capability follows our vision to become a digitised global trade enabler and we working to achieve a new operational efficiency level while creating value for our stakeholders.” Arun Khehar, Senior Vice President – Business Applications, ECEMEA, Oracle said:“Following the recent announcement of our strategic partnership to help DP World drive its global digital transformation with our best-in-class Cloud Suite of Applications (SaaS), we are proud to extend our collaboration by leveraging the deep expertise of Oracle Consulting to drive this large scale project. We are confident that this strategic cloud deployment will help them deliver the next level of innovation and differentiation.” The Oracle Consulting team is focused exclusively on Oracle Cloud solutions and staffed with more than 7,000 experts in 175 countries serving more than 20 million users to help organizations implement Oracle Cloud in an efficient and cost-effective manner.   Further press releases Oracle Middle East Newsroom 

Global trade enabler DP World has extended its partnership with Oracle to implement its digital transformation programme that supports its strategy to develop complementary sectors in the global...

Future State

Casas Javer Decides to Improve with Oracle HCM Cloud

Fernando Lozano, Director of Human Resources, Casas Javer, tells us how Oracle HCM gives him the peace of mind of having immediate information on different devices, anytime, anywhere. Fernando Lozano, Casas Javer CHRO, explains "Oracle HCM Cloud gives me the tranquility to be able to have infomation in the moment that it is required in different places, even if I am taking time off with my family. Casas Javer is a leading company in Mexico in real estate, with more than 1900 employees and builder of more than 20,000 houses. With the growth of Casas Javer, we saw the need to integrate all of the human resources processes. In our implementation process, we decided to hire Oracle Consulting. We needed to have the security of the implementation and the results done quickly. Finally, we decided to go with HCM Cloud, the tool we could have the best results with. The transformation that we had with this tool is to identify the growth plans for personnel, also to identify talent, as well as to have the availability of the information in an immediate way."   Learn more from other customers: Estrella Roja Migrates to Oracle Cloud with Oracle Consulting Oracle Consulting Accelerates Corelogic’s Journey to Cloud Nestlé BabyNes Gets 360° View with Oracle Service Cloud Lorain County Community College Partners with Oracle Consulting to Increase Enrollment and Student Success With Oracle Cloud Oracle Consulting Helps MOL Group Improve Recruiting ​BAMF Uses Oracle PaaS to Support 3x Volume of Data Western Sussex Hospital's Digital Service for Families Three Empowers Employees with Oracle HCM Cloud

Fernando Lozano, Director of Human Resources, Casas Javer, tells us how Oracle HCM gives him the peace of mind of having immediate information on different devices, anytime, anywhere. Fernando Lozano,...

3 Trends in Supply Chain Management Cloud Application Deployment Models

As conventional supply chain operations are being revolutionized by increasing volatility and heightened competition, cloud applications present an opportunity for companies to gain the visibility and agility required to make faster, more profitable decisions. So, what’s the best path to start or expand on a journey to supply chain management (SCM) in the cloud? At Oracle’s Modern Supply Chain Experience 2018, Ninja Subramanian, Oracle Consulting Senior Director, discussed in this interview three trends he sees in deployment models for companies looking to take their SCM applications to the cloud. Deploying SCM in the Cloud 1. Innovate Around the Edges Ninja noted that supply chain management is a prime target area for customers planning a journey to the cloud. “When we interact with customers across different industries, we see opportunities that exist in specialized SCM domains like logistics, PLM [product lifecycle management], and S&OP [sales and operations planning],” he said. “There we see what we call the ‘strategy to innovate around the edges,’ and it’s a common model for customers moving to the cloud.” 2. Pilot a Prototype When a company has a smaller business unit or acquired entity, they often target those areas for an initial SCM cloud implementation. Ninja noted that Oracle Consulting often recommends that companies start that smaller business unit “as a prototype, put it on the cloud, and then migrate the parent enterprise into the cloud as well.” Establishing an SCM cloud application pilot enables the company to establish best practices and define operational parameters that they can subsequently scale to a larger implementation. 3. Build a Cloud Platform for the Future Customers who are already using Oracle on-premises SCM application products often look to establish a standard around Oracle Cloud as a platform to grow their business to the next level, Ninja shared in the interview. He added, “Customers are leveraging some of the disruptive technologies and digital trends that we have to offer at Oracle and are building the solution for the future based on our cloud platform.” For example, Oracle IoT Production Monitoring Cloud can be extended across Oracle Blockchain Cloud Service to support full traceability of a product to its raw material source. The Role and Vision of Oracle Consulting When implementing Oracle Cloud Applications for clients, Oracle Consulting is inherently invested in the success of the project. “Oracle Consulting is part of the Oracle ecosystem, and we carry the Oracle brand, so we take pride in specializing in and implementing Oracle Cloud Applications,” Ninja said. “We want to be the best in terms of Oracle expertise. That’s all we live and breathe by.” Key to Oracle Consulting’s strategy to deliver client success is co-existing with partners. “We want to put the best solutions in front of customers, and that is our overall prerogative that we drive toward,” Ninja said. “And as part of the journey, we work with partners in the same ecosystem to leverage Oracle applications and technology for the best fit across industry verticals.” Working with partners means that Oracle Consulting also shares best practices throughout the network. “Since we are both part of the Oracle ecosystem and parent company, we are usually the pioneers in some of the emerging technologies,” Ninja said. “For example, with the digital supply chain applications, we want to be on the leading edge, deploy it, take the learnings from the different customers we work with, and share it with our partners for the betterment of the overall Oracle ecosystem. That is a strategy that we are consciously implementing right now in the field. With SCM Cloud Release 13, there are a lot of emerging apps. We want to be at the forefront to make our customers successful.”

As conventional supply chain operations are being revolutionized by increasing volatility and heightened competition, cloud applications present an opportunity for companies to gain the visibility and...

Oracle Corporation

Are Java and Java Enterprise Edition (JEE) Still Relevant Technologies?

Author Andres Farias Riquelme, Senior Principal Consultant, Oracle   Java is an object-oriented programming language that provides a solid platform to build pieces of software using other paradigms, for example those based on components, aspects and services. However, since it first appeared in the late 80s, it has been said that Java’s days are numbered or that is being gradually dropped by the market. This has proven to be outright false, and in this article I will explain why we think Java’s demise is still in the distant future and why it is a good choice as an ingredient for development.     Java Will Be Gone In a Couple of Years... This is what we have been hearing for the last decades [5]. Sometimes those who make this claim are big fans of other languages, such as C or Python. Other times, these claims aim at sparking a debate about it. There are also universities, such as the University of Chile and the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile, or Standford University in the United States—this one being such an iconic example—, that have opted for another language such as Python [4] to teach the fundamentals of programming [3]. But the truth is that regardless the intention, these prophecies have not been fulfilled and it is only reasonable to wonder if they will ever be and if so, when.   The thing is that by 2012 there was enough evidence that Java was the second most used language in the world, after C, naturally. Nowadays, the same evidence positions Java as the most used language [1]. Trends indicate that it is not a language that is falling into disuse, but we must admit that Java started with a frenzy of trying to program every type of component using this technology, even executing code on web clients (with Applets) or providing APIs and languages to program on databases. Years have proven that Java is a language fit for programming components to be executed on the middleware.    Is Java Better Than Other Languages? Why is it important to answer the question whether Java is the best language to build your pieces of software? Probably because you want to choose the language that will bring more benefits than disadvantages. Betting on technologies that will eventually become obsolete—as was the case with Robi, Perl or Object Pascal—would have been negative for systems that might have required maintenance afterwards. Engineers or programmers tend to look for objective and technical variables to choose the best language, arguing in their favor that it is a strongly typed object-oriented language with a balanced mix of primitive and complex data types supported on a solid theory of data types, with parametric types, lambda expressions, etc.       The problem is that most languages share those features. That is definitely not the reason why I choose Java. I strongly believe there is a more important criterion than the technical one, although its properties are necessary and not sufficient. Esperanto was a language created, by definition, to be used universally. If we had to choose the best language in the world, it would be reasonable to consider Esperanto as the top contender. However, and in my opinion, it is not the best language and the reason is quite simple: I cannot speak Esperanto, nor I know anyone who can (Google Translator can, though), but I do speak English and so do most people in the world. English is then the best language for me because learning it and being able to speak it maximizes the number of people I can communicate with. With Java something similar happens. It is the most used language in the world [1], particularly in Chile—even though it may be in second place after C due to the amount of legacy software that still prevails.              The Truck Factor This metrics in software engineering allows to estimate the risk in a project indicating how many people in my development team need to be “hit by a truck” for the project to be at risk. When the Truck Factor is very low (e.g. one person) it means the project is always at risk and I must look after my resources, and maybe even secure them.    The development of a portal in Zope (a CMS framework to create portals based on Python) has a Truck Factor much lower than a framework based on Java, for the simple reason that it is more difficult to find experts in Python in the market—even though this is changing as Python become more and more massive. Maintenance of this system will be the same or more expensive depending on the purpose of the underlying platform. Zope had its moment of (relative) glory toward the end of the decade in 2010, but nowadays there must be very few programmers, particularly in Chile, who know this language and therefore maintaining a system based on Zope will be expensive and have a very low Truck Factor.   Why Should I Choose Java and What For? Systems are not programmed in Java. They are programmed in frameworks based on Java. Object-oriented programming makes it easy for us to build business systems, that is, systems that are fault-tolerant, resilient, highly available, concurrent, etc. To do this there are other paradigms that have delivered better results, namely: component-based or service-oriented programming, both approaches supported by Java Enterprise Edition. The main reasons to keep using Java today are:  - Skilled labor: Although not properly qualified maybe, in any case, Java programmers are far from being a scarce resource. - Library ecosystems, add-ons and online tutorial, communities and support available: The fact that Java is a widely adopted language means that there is an overwhelming amount of support for any type of framework based on this language. When starting a development it is very important to have access to support in case of errors made by oneself or product failures. This support is critical to be able to overcome real problems, both at the time of development and at the time of operating in production. Furthermore, forums related to technologies based on Java have been growing non-stsoaop [6]. - Business solutions with support (WebLogic, PrimeFaces, etc.)           If This is Black, Then Gray is... I used to play a game with my daughter where we said phrases that were always true. It is a challenging task. If we played that game in this scenario, it would be clear that there cannot be an absolute truth about whether Java is the perfect language for everything. The way I see it, Java is a good language because, as I said before, it has the advantage of being widely adopted in the market and having great support by the community, with tutorials, add-ons, etc.   Actually, the idea of a perfect language is quite subjective and I think that at a more general level it loses relevance. These days, the most important factors for organizations to consider at the time of acquiring or developing solutions or software components are: scalability, high availability of services and interoperability (communication) with other components in the ecosystem. The age of adapters is behind us, and software components intercommunicate based on standards such as XML or Json. A few years ago, I had the opportunity to see how an educational organization adopted an Oracle SOA infrastructure, that was based on Java. Since the organization had developed its own solutions in .NET, it was natural to think they might need to change their programmers for others who knew Java. However, once the adoption process was completed, it turned out it was never necessary to change the language. The components were exposed as web services through the bus, and thus they achieved an excellent level of interoperability.                 Reference [1] https://www.tiobe.com/tiobe-index// [2] https://pypi.python.org/pypi/Zope2 [3] https://thenextweb.com/dd/2017/04/24/universities-finally-realize-java-bad-introductory-programming-language/ [4] https://cacm.acm.org/blogs/blog-cacm/176450-python-is-now-the-most-popular-introductory-teaching-language-at-top-u-s-universities/fulltext [5] https://developers.slashdot.org/story/13/10/10/1327239/if-java-is-dying-it-sure-looks-awfully-healthy [6] https://www.unocero.com/noticias/java-los-rumores-acerca-de-mi-muerte-han-sido-exagerados/

Author Andres Farias Riquelme, Senior Principal Consultant, Oracle   Java is an object-oriented programming language that provides a solid platform to build pieces of software using other paradigms,...

Oracle Corporation

Three behaviors a Project Manager should practice

Author Kathy Wu, Social Media Coordinator at Oracle Consulting Nordics Ever wondered what kind of personal qualifications you need to succeed as a project manager? Well, there are three personal behaviors my colleague Teemu Lepola thinks are important to understand and practice. He is not only a Project Manager at Oracle Consulting but also a floor ball coach.   Besides working, different sport activities have major role in my life. I have been playing floorball for more than 20 years, still today two or three times a week. It is hobby for whole year and during summer I also play football and golf as much as possible. At winter, those changes to skiing and ice hockey. I also try to keep fit with running and going to the gym regularly. The long experience in floorball and love for the sports has taken me a level of coaching a team of 30 kids in the age of 10. It is very fun but in the meantime exhausting. With kids you are interacting in a very different way than with adults, mainly because of the age difference. It sounds like I am a very sporty person, but I do have a musical side as well. Trying out new things is fun and I like to sing and play guitar for family parties and gatherings. With my friends we have tradition of doing golf-trips to new countries. Together we have been to Malaga, Belleek at Turkey and Mallorca, and for this year we are still in a planning-mode.   My career in IT-business started in 2005 and for the last 9 years before moving to Oracle I worked as Project Manager, Service Manager and also Head of PMO in a Finnish IT integrator. I studied my M. Sc. in Helsinki University of Technology in department of Electrical engineering. My major subject was media technology, but already at that point I was very interested in my minor subject: Leadership and Work psychology. Even though I consider myself quite Technic oriented (even nerd some might say), social interaction has always been important for me. From my studies, it is good to have a solid understand of organizational theories, theory of management and leadership and also the rewarding systems, what motivates and drives others. Very applicable in both personal life as a floorball coach and in a professional way as a project manager or team leader.    "...Feedback can be informal during a conversation. Usually people don’t say that I’m giving you a feedback now, so listen. It is an important personal skill to be able to pick-up the comments from conversation, so you can constantly develop yourself. "   What makes me feel passionate in my recent career change to Oracle Consulting is the diversity of people. Every meeting with new people makes me excited, and that is a good way of learning new things. By discussing with new people you will widen your eyes of ideas and knowledge, and possible you will start to reflect over things you already knew or did not know. Another thing I am looking forward are my new colleagues, always a pleasure to work with talented people who are professionals in their own area. Professionalism is not only about being good at what you are doing, but being able to present it for others. In that way, a confidence will be found and that’s why our customer trust us.   There are some personal behaviors a Project Manager needs to practice. First you must be able to be proactive. You cannot wait for things to happen, you have to make sure that it will happen. By actively understanding the current situation and the dependencies between different things will make it easier for you to think a few step further. Knowing how to prioritize the tasks and be able to handle the small things while seeing the big picture of the project.   Second, if you want to be able to make progress you need to know how to receive and give feedback. It does not mean you necessarily all the time must give feedback, but when you do, you should be precise with an example of what could have been better and what was great. Sometimes, the feedback can be informal during a conversation. Usually people don’t say that I’m giving you a feedback now, so listen. It is an important personal skill to be able to pick-up the comments from conversation, so you can constantly develop yourself. Of course, many people think of feedback as something negative but it is not! I try as much as I can to give positive feedback because that’s a good way to motivate your colleagues.   The last personal skill to practice is don’t be afraid of asking questions, especially not from people involved in your project. Because, if you don’t ask you won’t know and instead of wasting your time figuring out what the others might think, just ask and you will get the answer directly. The most important task for a Project Manager is to know the current situation and can present it to others as agreed. You will also feel much more confident in yourself and for the project when you know what is going on. Of course, you can also first try to find the answers by yourself. However, do not feel it is a burden to raise questions, because it usually generate new discussions and thoughts.   That’s also what I like with the work culture in Oracle.It is a very open environment for discussions and you can get help when needed. As a new starter at Oracle I feel I have been taken care very well – also because of the new employee introduction we have, but mainly because I have received so much help from my colleagues. For the near future, I look forward to work in different interesting and challenging projects with Cloud Applications and Tech projects.    Do you agree these are necessary personal skills a project manager should have? Or do you have other qualifications you consider as valuable?  Click on the + sign to join the discussion.   Hope you enjoyed reading this post. If you want to read previous articles you find them here:  Why is organization culture important? It is never boring to work at Oracle Consulting Do this to keep challenging yourself

Author Kathy Wu, Social Media Coordinator at Oracle Consulting Nordics Ever wondered what kind of personal qualifications you need to succeed as a project manager? Well, there are three...

Are Citizens the Government’s Clients?

Author Jorge Antonio Plascencia, Architecture Manager for the Public Sector, Oracle Mexico.   For quite some time, we’ve had individuals and forums saying that governments should be treating their citizens just like companies treat their clients. They use examples that go from fully customer-centric online stores to service providers that have revolutionized public transport. All of these companies are focused on providing the best solution to their clients and improving their satisfaction.       I do believe governments must provide an excellent service to their citizens. But, how acceptable is it to consider citizens as the government’s clients? Is it okay to apply the same techniques and technologies that companies do? To answer this, let’s analyze the main question from three perspectives: differences between citizens and clients, between companies and governments, and finally what clients look for when they interact with companies and what citizens look for when they interact with their government.   So, the first perspective to consider is the differences between citizens and clients. Clients have some distinctive characteristics that define them quite clearly, for example, they choose to carry out a transaction with a certain company because they perceive an added value in that company. If this value is not delivered, clients might choose another company to obtain the desired good or service, with the quality they expect. Therefore, clients have considerable power within the ecosystem, integrating markets and sectors that are the goal of several companies. However, clients do not participate in the decisions made by the company. That is, they are not involved in the selection of their board members. These are two characteristics that clearly differentiate citizens from clients, since the former cannot choose what government they pay their taxes to, or with what government they do business with. In this sense, they are subject to legal and regulatory frameworks that eliminate their ability to select the good or service they want. Also, citizens do participate in the election of the main actors in their governments, at least in today’s democratic societies. In these societies, citizens are able to choose representatives at different levels of government.     The second perspective is the differences between companies and governments. In this sense, the first distinct difference is the competition. Companies have to come up with products and services that set them apart from the competition, since there is a common market that many companies target. As for governments, such competition does not exist. A citizen cannot choose between many governments for an administrative procedure. But, although governments are closer to being an example of a monopoly, there are still elements that distinguish a monopoly from a government. For example, in a monopoly, the company will still seek to make a profit from clients since, above all, their goal is to be profitable. This does not apply to governments as they are the authority that run, control and manage the governmental institutions, without looking for a profit in return. It is also important to mention that companies are limited in their operations by a legal framework, which restricts their activities. Whereas governments are entitled to only carry out the actions that the law allows them to. That is, a company can do everything but what the law forbids it to do, while a government can only do what the law allows it to do. This limits a government’s actions exclusively to its powers.   Last but not least, the third perspective is to analyze what clients want when they interact with companies and what citizens want when they interact with their government. In the first case, clients seek for a good or a service for which their are willing to pay or exchange something. That is, typically pay for a good or a service that has the required characteristics that make it valuable to the client. On the other hand, when citizens interact with governments they typically need to carry out an administrative procedure or have access to some benefit, which will not necessarily have a good quality or high level of service. However, it is important to point out that the differences are minimal in this third perspective. Both clients and citizens wish to receive some kind of value when carrying out an operation, transaction or procedure.      In conclusion, us citizens represent a much larger universe that includes clients, but these two concepts should never be considered synonyms. Even though there are certain models that can be employed and extrapolated, it is important to consider some differences, such as the inability by citizens to choose or decide with which government they carry out a procedure, or the inability by governments to undertake an activity that they are not lawfully entitled to do. But what is perfectly possible for governments to do is to provide services of the highest quality so that citizens can get the best possible experience.    This is why I think it is possible to extrapolate concepts and practices from the private sector and apply them to governments, such as high quality in service, attention and communication using multiple channels, personalized service, among others. The adoption of these practices and concepts will allow governments to offer their citizens a high-quality experience, similar to that offered by leading companies in customer service, delivering value to their citizens.  

Author Jorge Antonio Plascencia, Architecture Manager for the Public Sector, Oracle Mexico.   For quite some time, we’ve had individuals and forums saying that governments should be treating their...

Oracle Corporation

What Makes a Great Cloud Consulting Project? Part 5: More Personal, Less Virtual

The modern workplace has increasingly become defined by the technology that connects us around the globe. As a result, remote work has become pervasive. According to research done by Workplace Trends in its 2017 “Human Face of Remote Working Study,” 79 percent of the more than 25,000 U.S. workers surveyed reported that they work with at least one person who isn’t in the same office. Nearly one third of respondents said they regularly work remotely. And those numbers are only likely to grow in years to come.   The changes brought by remote work have made a clear impact on the consulting industry during the last 20 years. With flexible cloud technology that can be configured anywhere, robust collaboration tools that connect us 24/7 worldwide, and growth in offshore delivery, the notion of “road warrior” consulting is not always the norm.   Missed Connections Although there is greater flexibility in how we work (i.e., consultants don't need to be at the client site or office every day), a more dispersed team creates a greater demand to facilitate strong connections among its members. Many people in the consulting industry have spent little or no face time with some of the people they work with the most. While that often makes for efficient work (and lower costs!), there is inevitably something lost in that lack of in-person communication.   Projects can become impersonal. Work can become transactional. Creativity can take a nosedive when you feel like you’re working alone.   Consulting, at its heart, will always be about people. As our work becomes more digital in nature, we can lose sight of that. Consulting projects become both successful and productive through the development of relationships and purposeful intent generated by thorough, face-to-face dialog about important issues. A truly great cloud consulting project must incorporate superior collaboration—including in-person collaboration whenever possible.   It is incumbent upon both the client and the consultant to make this happen. By being a better collaborator, you will have the ability to:   Build relationships based on trust that allow you to enhance the quality of your work. Move at the faster pace that cloud demands. Really understand the business objectives that must be met. Improve quality and decrease re-work. Feel engaged with your work. Continuously build new skills to grow your career. Making a Case for Face Time Many people enjoy the flexibility that comes with working remotely, and there is certainly high-concentration work that benefits from “alone time.” But you should always ask yourself if your work—and your project—can be improved with increased face time. As you examine your own interactions on cloud consulting projects, here are some areas to address:   Consultants: Are you working with team members who spend much of their time with the client but your role is remote? If so, have you considered making team calls via video the norm (versus the anomaly)? What about asking to spend time at the client site to get to know your client better and engage in real-time collaboration? Clients: Are you spending time with your consultants who are on site, or do you often take meetings via conference call? If so, why? Were the in-person meetings not well-facilitated? Are you multi-tasking, which can be a drag on time and result in re-work later? Are important decisions always being made while you are fully engaged? Face-to-face meetings inevitably lead to collaborative solutions that produce stronger commitments and shared understanding. For both clients and consultants: Are you spending time with your co-workers in the office whenever possible? I have found that making a concerted effort to really amplify engagement with your team members—understanding them, how they work, when they work, and their communication style—can have an enormous impact on the quality and pace of your work. It also gives you a chance to learn from your team, share best practices, and creatively identify improvements that can help with future projects and pursuits. I share all of this advice with my Oracle Applications Consulting team, and asked them to put it in action. But I also know that I need to lead by example. That’s why I set out on a 10-city tour of our Oracle Consulting offices a few months ago. Since October, I’ve visited San Francisco, Atlanta, Boston, Dallas, Charlotte, and Reston, VA, as well as Hyderabad and Bangalore in India. (The photo above is from our Reston event at Topgolf). My next stops include Chicago and Denver. We called it the Collaboration Tour and gave it a rock concert theme, complete with a tour poster, backstage VIP passes, and baseball hats for our “Roadies.”    I’ve learned a lot from this inaugural tour—connecting and collaborating with our people face to face has been invaluable. I discovered inspirational people who are thinking outside of the box and delivering exceptional results for our clients. I’ve also learned of challenges we can address and overcome. My advice: don’t wait for the perfect time to connect in person. Connect whenever you can. I’ll wrap up this post—and this five-part series on what makes great cloud consulting projects—with a quote from John D. Rockefeller. He said, “Don’t be afraid to give up the good to go for the great.” When you allow your curiosity to guide you to explore, you will find that unexpected possibilities emerge. And, it may just catapult your work to new heights. Continue to grow through collaboration; you won’t regret it. As I tell my team—go be bold, the world is waiting.   If you missed them, be sure to check out Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4 of the Great Cloud Consulting Project blog series.

The modern workplace has increasingly become defined by the technology that connects us around the globe. As a result, remote work has become pervasive. According to research done by Workplace Trends...

Oracle Corporation

Death of the immortal cookie (a DMP perspective)

Author Stephen Hanvey, DMP Expert Services Consultant at Oracle Consulting   I recall reading in 2013 about the 'Death of Cookies' attributed to the exponential growth of mobile phone use and new default browser settings. Stark warnings ensued of 'theres no such thing as a free lunch', this is the return to non-targeted intrusive advertising and fractured, inconsistent choices. As long as I can remember there has been an annual prophecy foretelling the demise of the cookie. So much so I often imagine a cartooned anthropomorphic cookie impersonating Mark Twain and declaring "the reports of my death have been grossly exaggerated". Whilst this image is amusing it's no wonder we get stuck in that revolving door each year, after all cookie usage has proliferated for decades and there has not been, outside of the trio-poly (Facebook, Google and Amazon), a scalable substitute for digital identity in the advertising world. To my mind the reason for this is twofold: firstly the industry is still very much propped up by large advertising budgets that need to use cookie reliant legacy technologies, secondly despite advances in ID spaces, most still depend heavily on cookies as a primary match key as a result of a need to scale. This year however feels different to the others - we're entering 2018 off the back of what some would call benevolent, some bellicose actions to prevent 3rd party cookie tracking by device and browser - coupled with regulatory changes to data protection in the EU - which have a global customer, brand and publisher impact. It is undeniable that we are seeing an erosion of trackable digital identities based on 3rd party machinery. For some technologies this threat will be existential for others an opportunity for metamorphosis. Now a question for the reader - what in your opinion is the best proxy for a real person in the digital universe? In other words what digital identifier most closely represents the individual? Is it an email address (hashed or un-hashed), a device ID (IDFA/Android), a brand's unique customer ID, loyalty or reference number or a cookie (1st or 3d party)? Many of you will instantly see the logic in asking this question - after all nearly every business operating online aspires to have more personalised conversations with its customers - existing and potential. This is where the traditional cookie's flaws are exposed - at best a 3rd party cookie ID represents a particular browser on a single device (if it is possible to drop one at all) - it does not represent an individual. Arguably the closest identifier to the individual is the mobile device ID. Why - well there are on average 1.8 email accounts per user globally (see Radicati Group Report) and whilst each email account may be read by the individual, there is no guarantee a specific address will be digitally active. Of course not every customer is registered and authenticated either so both email and customer ID will be unknown for the majority of a brands' prospects - the cookie does solve for this in a privacy safe unknown identity space but we now know this has current and future limitations. The mobile device ID is more persistent than a cookie - it can only really be changed by OS reset, disabled by uncommon user settings or changed on a device upgrade. This persistence provides the marketer with the apparatus they so desperately seek to achieve personalised customer interaction nirvana. That little tablet everyone can't put down - that they check 150 times a day even when they're eating, sleeping and heaven help us visiting the water-closet, should be right at the heart of your customer targeting strategy. Yet many see moving to a mobile first strategy as a series of hurdles leading to a complete impasse (see Retailers still aren't mobile first). But becoming mobile first need not be a blindfolded fire-pit walk, not with a DMP strategy based around mobile device ID. What does that look like? Integrating the DMPs SDK in native and hybrid apps enables the extraction of mobile user attributes from customer's screens (such as product page visits, purchase intent signals, add-to-cart actions, and conversions) transferring them into the DMP. Your DMP of choice should be in or moving towards a position of being identity agnostic, that means the DMP can ingest, connect and activate data from any ID source. The DMPs cross device capability will provide the means to connect MAIDs (Mobile Ad IDs like IDFA, Android) with Mobile Web cookies, Mobile Web cookies with Desktop cookies and visa versa welding together a fabric of digital identity. Marketers should be able to use this ID weft to integrate mobile with online and offline advertising campaigns to improve cross-channel targeting. The DMP will facilitate a retail brand pushing a targeted message a customer on her smartphone app after she clicks on an ad she saw on her laptop, where she was targeted based on her offline buying profile and LTV, then track where her conversion happens across devices and channels. What do I need to plan for? The best app in the world is useless if nobody downloads and uses it - apprise, incentivise, optimise. The cookie no longer solely provides the means to track and target customers, but just seeking to connect device IDs is not enough. All the customers who are currently using mobile devices to engage with your brand should be encouraged to move from being Mobile Web users to Mobile App users, this is where the persistence of the device ID pays dividends. Anyone using an Apple device or Safari browser by default will not be cookie tracked and effectively digitally invisible to your cookie based technology (I won't debate the merits and demerits of Statistical IDs here). One should use the DMP to build audiences and campaigns to apprise existing and potential customers of your app, create targeted messaging in direct and paid channels to incentivise them to use the app and optimise in the DMP those audiences and campaigns to ensure that you are constantly migrating mobile web users to mobile app. Start small but plan to scale quickly - it is true that one of the barriers to Device ID overtaking the cookie is the prevalence of one compared to the other - there will be a period where each brand will need to ramp up device IDs for their known customer base in their ID space. But this shouldn't be reason to abdicate the strategy, if your brand has an app, that is in active use, then you're already part way there. Think about simple push notifications in a targeted, tailored way using the DMP to remind, incentivise and maintain app engagement. Finally always build measurement into your plan so you can demonstrate mobile app growth, engagement and the incremental impact on ROI of a combined DMP & Device ID approach. On reading this back I realise it sounds like I am capitulating to a future where cookies have an adjusted rank, but that's the whole point - the foundations of this argument lie in the subconscious choice, naiveté, or explicit selection the customer no longer assents to 3rd party tracking and so the metamorphosis begins. If you find this article interesting, please read my earlier posts, Handy DMP life-hacks you won't abandon - unlike your resolutions! or All I want for Christmas is a DMP.

Author Stephen Hanvey, DMP Expert Services Consultant at Oracle Consulting   I recall reading in 2013 about the 'Death of Cookies' attributed to the exponential growth of mobile phone use and new...

Oracle Corporation

See Oracle Consulting at Modern Customer Experience 2018

Today’s empowered customers have high expectations. Leveraging the next generation of customer experience (CX) technology is a requirement for leaders who want to drive business transformation and establish competitive advantage.   You can learn about what it takes to be a CX leader at Modern Customer Experience 2018. Start—or continue—your business transformation with us at McCormick Place in Chicago on April 10-12. You will have the opportunity to generate real business benefits by taking home smarter customer experience strategies. You'll discover those strategies at Modern Customer Experience by:   Hearing success stories from companies like yours Having 1-1 conversations with Oracle experts Improving your skills through hands-on demos and workshops Trying out new products and features or testing what you’ve learned Expanding your network–there will be more than 3,000 attendees!  ​Be sure to maximize these opportunities by visiting Oracle Consulting in the CX Sales area of the Exchange at booth number SAL-17.  And on Wednesday, April 11 from 3:00–4:00 PM, Pamela Lord, Group Vice President, Oracle Marketing Cloud Consulting & Expert Services, will lead a CX Leadership Exchange discussion about why digital transformation is critical for businesses today. Find out more about the event and register here. We hope to see you in Chicago!

Today’s empowered customers have high expectations. Leveraging the next generation of customer experience (CX) technology is a requirement for leaders who want to drive business transformation and...

Oracle Corporation

Is Blockchain a Technology That the HR Sector Can Leverage?

Author Martin Casielles, Oracle HCM Solution Specialist   After having followed the evolution of Human Resources systems for over 13 years, I’m not surprised that every single revolution the digital world has gone through has had an impact on how we manage and run these systems and, most importantly, what we expect from them.  I’d like to start by explaining briefly, for those who might not know, what BlockChain is. It’s a safe, distributed database that can be employed in any type of transaction, eliminating the need for intermediaries. Let’s say a person wants to send money from their own account to another person’s account from a different bank, without BlockChain. Both banks centralize the information and take the money from one account and send it to the other. Actually, no money has been transferred, just information. And neither of the two people—the one sending money and the one receiving it—has any control over it. The transaction is subject to the charges and conditions laid down by their banks. So, what can BlockChain do? It replicates the information digitally and in a decentralized way, and hands the control of the processes over to the users, not to the companies, be it a bank or any other institution. Furthermore, the information is encrypted. This model eliminates the need for a trust record between the parties or having to rely on a centralized authority. This technology was made popular by BitCoin, the digital currency—cryptocurrency—that has gained a great deal of value in the last few years, and promises to revolutionize international economies and to threaten banks’ involvement in these transactions. The use of BlockChain in the HR departments is now booming, especially when it comes to research. The new applications of this technology can help companies improve their processes, particularly in the HR sector where some solutions now available in the market are already in full swing, or even other solutions with some disruptive not-yet-developed ideas.    One of the uses in Human Resources has to do precisely with the well-known technology that emerged from BlockChain: the digital currency—BitCoin, the most popular one. The first application has been thought for the payment to people who work in different countries (e.g. expatriates), avoiding intermediaries, banks and delays in the process. This money transfer would now be instantaneous. One of the first companies to introduce it was Etch, an organization that applies the BlockChain technology to payroll protocols.    Another interesting application is the validation of university degrees by certain companies. For instance, a university degree is registered as a node in a chain in BlockChain created by the institutions, and both employers and employees can access it asserting its authenticity, reducing validation costs, time, printing, and more.  The best example is the pilot program by the MIT, offering their students the option of receiving their degrees digitally—as well as traditionally. This allows students to have access to their degrees more quickly, share it on social networks such as LinkedIn, and enable employers to easily verify its authenticity. It could also be applied to other types of certification, such as awards or performance records of previous jobs so as to have a reliable CV available for each of the candidates. For example, BlockCerts expects to transform the global open standard for the exchange of certifications through BlockChain, where once a record is saved it can no longer be modified.  Another use for this technology could be the attraction of talents, rewarding people with cryptocurrency or giving some kind of benefit to the network that brought the candidates forward. Also, it’s possible to know the reputation of networks, recruiters and candidates as mentioned in the previous case of use, having all information certified and unchangeable.    This application is quite useful, especially if considering research findings by sites such as CareerBuilder, which says that 58% of employers claim to have found “lies” in candidates’ CVs.    Two example of this application are HireVibes and AWorker. Only time will tell which one becomes more successful, or even if more platforms like these emerge. And since BlockChain eliminates the need for intermediaries, another application that I think is more challenging is making the network available to freelancers, and that companies hire and make payment via the network. As ChronoBank.io—the driving force behind this idea—says in its site: it would be like the UBER of the job market.      These are only some cases or examples. And just like Oracle is investing in this technology (https://cloud.oracle.com/en_US/blockchain), I’m absolutely sure that, before we know it, Human Resources tools will be ready to bring enormous value. That’s why I believe it’s critical to start incorporating these concepts into our everyday life. And here I ask you... What other applications do you think are possible? Do you think this is feasible in the short or medium term? Best regards to everyone!     Here are two videos to learn more about BlockChain: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jBinrPKtBUA https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o9TSq9L4JPU   Sources: http://infocoin.net/2016/10/31/blockchain-puede-evitar-que-se-falsifiquen-titulos-universitarios/ https://www.criptonoticias.com/aplicaciones/plataforma-blockchain-chronobank-prepara-lanzar-bolsa-trabajo-laborx/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+http%2Fcriptonoticiascom%2Ffeed+%28CriptoNoticias%29 http://www.futureforwork.com/articulos/2018-ano-blockchain-para-rrhh https://www2.deloitte.com/nl/nl/pages/human-capital/articles/will-blockchain-disrupt-the-hr-technology-landscape.html https://www.pymnts.com/news/b2b-payments/2016/where-the-distributed-workforce-meets-the-distributed-ledger/ https://www.pwc.co.uk/issues/futuretax/how-blockchain-can-impact-hr-and-the-world-of-work.html https://www.hrdive.com/news/blockchain-what-is-it-and-how-is-hr-using-it/513229/  

Author Martin Casielles, Oracle HCM Solution Specialist   After having followed the evolution of Human Resources systems for over 13 years, I’m not surprised that every single revolution the digital...

Sirfin Group Enhances Customer IT Services with Oracle Cloud

Sirfin Group Boosts Web Application Performance and Reduces Cost and Complexity by Moving Infrastructure to Oracle Cloud The companies of the Sirfin Group are involved in the design and implementation of software, the provision of IT services, document management and physical archiving of documents, outsourcing, hosting, and housing services providing 24-hour backup services, disaster recovery and business management, structured cabling, training, and specialized system assistance. Maintaining two physical server farms to support a range of business customers was becoming increasingly burdensome, both practically and financially. Sirfin Group deployed Oracle Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) to reduce cost and complexity, boost the performance of its in-house developed, web-based human resources management application, and increase business agility. Challenges Reduce the financial and administrative burden of managing and maintaining server farms supporting the group’s human resources (HR) web application, which is used by dozens of business customers across the public and private sectors Increase customer satisfaction by boosting web application performance and enabling customers to mine bulk human resources data faster Increase business agility, productivity, and stature in the IT services industry by adopting the latest cloud technologies​​ ​Results Increased business agility, reduced costs, and improved customer IT service delivery by deploying Oracle Cloud Infrastructure Dedicated Compute Classic and Oracle Cloud Infrastructure Object Storage Classic to replace resource-intensive on-premises hardware  Enabled Sirfin Group to discontinue an entire physical server farm by moving to Oracle Cloud infrastructure—achieving considerable cost savings in floor space rental, electricity, security, and surveillance Boosted service delivery by enabling customers of Sirfin Group’s flagship HR application to more rapidly mine the bulk data they need for their organization’s regular and ad hoc reporting purposes Simplified business operations by migrating customer data to the Oracle Cloud—enabling support technicians to manage all data homogenously, without needing to check and maintain two parallel systems Improved business agility and productivity by reallocating hardware previously housed on the server farm to strategic projects including software development, research, and an internal backup system Increased performance of Java-developed data warehouse by hosting it in Oracle Cloud, reducing regular data extraction times from 2 hours to 15 minutes, and from 25 minutes to 2 minutes Freed up technicians previously dedicated to server maintenance and monitoring to work on more strategic customer IT services and deliver enhanced business value Boosted performance of human resources web application by moving supporting infrastructure to Oracle Cloud—achieving up to 20% improvement for the web portion developed in Oracle Forms and Reports, and 10% improvement for the portion developed in Java Increased productivity and agility of Sirfin Group’s IT manager by enabling him to conduct a single extraction of bulk customer data in minutes instead of needing to conduct 10 separate extractions of smaller data volumes due to time constraints Ensured project success and a smooth migration from the main server farm by engaging an Oracle Customer Success Manager and Oracle Consulting for support with configuration, replication, scripts to manage cloud backups, and various customizations

Sirfin Group Boosts Web Application Performance and Reduces Cost and Complexity by Moving Infrastructure to Oracle Cloud The companies of the Sirfin Group are involved in the design and implementation...

Do this to keep challenging yourself.

Author: Kathy Wu, Social Media Coordinator at Oracle Consulting Nordics Following up on my explore Oracle interviews, this time I had a chat with my colleague who is working as a Oracle Consulting Executive in Denmark. Sharing his career journey of three different job positions in two countries during 4.5 year at Oracle gives you an insight of how much you can develop professionally and personally. How do you take advantage of career opportunities and what does it take to keep challenging yourself?    Joakim Coker will give you his advice and share his thoughts. I’m originally from the west coast of Finland, from a small city called Vaasa, which is where I also studied for my Master’s degree in Industrial Engineering and Management. My personal interests are to travel across Europe and the rest for the world, and in my free time I enjoy spending time with my family and watching Netflix. A little over a year ago I was offered a new career opportunity inside Oracle to move to Denmark so I am now working as a sales executive here in our Consulting organization. My professional career started first with a summer internship in a multinational high-tech company. After a few summers at the factory shop floor, I became interested in operational development. Because I was really interested in learning how to run corporate development projects better, I later found an opportunity to work as a management consultant at one of the Big 4 professional service companies. My time there was very exciting with projects ranging from finance and supply chain process improvement to mergers and acquisitions. Most importantly it gave me a solid understanding of what it means to deliver professional services as an external advisor, both on time and on budget. As many of my colleagues, I joined Oracle in Finland because of a recommendation from a friend – and funny enough I have also referred several of my friends to join this company. During my 4.5 years here I have been in three different roles in two countries. In the beginning I was selling database software which was a great introduction for me then as I was a complete newcomer to Enterprise IT industry. By seeing what infrastructure and applications had been built on top of our software really widened my eyes about how companies can use IT to service their customers and empower their employees. In the next year there was another internal career opportunity which allowed me to use and develop my background in professional services, so I became a sales representative for Oracle Consulting. In that position I was given an incredible chance to see our company’s transformation from an on-premises software vendor to a Cloud service provider. After covering applications consulting in Finland, I got a chance to relocate to Denmark and to serve our whole services portfolio for some of the largest companies in the Nordics. I think it is a great benefit that Oracle offers these kinds of internal career development opportunities for those who are interested because this allow us to grow in our role and learn more. ''What keeps me motivated in working at Oracle are the challenges and learning opportunities in our interesting customer projects. Even though they are often challenging we always manage to go live successfully and that gives me the confidence to seek continuous improvements. '' I think it’s also fair to say that this a different kind of company to work for compared to others that I’ve seen. A scale of ~140 000 employees means that we have an incredible wealth of in-house knowledge and expertise, and having access to the latest world-class products & services is a perk in itself. The compensation and benefits are also very good, just like the freedom and responsibility to independently perform your job as you best see fit. However joining this global corporation also means learning that ”Self-Service” is the name of the game – if you need anything, like a laptop or to develop a new skills, you need to take control of doing it by yourself. It is the same with career opportunities, if you see a possibility do not be afraid to reach out to your manager and tell him or her that you would like to apply for it. The opportunities are accessible and your next role could be a better fit for you than the current one, who knows. It is worth to give it a try! For me, it has been an interesting journey both personally and professionally. So far I have learnt a lot and become a believer in what we as a cloud company are doing, so let’s see what the corporation has in store for me next!   Hope you enjoyed reading this post and I would appreciate your feedback (click the + sign below the post). If you want to read previous articles you find them here:  Why is organization culture important? It is never boring to work at Oracle Consulting

Author: Kathy Wu, Social Media Coordinator at Oracle Consulting Nordics Following up on my explore Oracle interviews, this time I had a chat with my colleague who is working as a Oracle Consulting Execu...

Future State

What Makes a Great Cloud Consulting Project? Part 4: Get Creative

Much has been written about what it means to be a creative problem-solver in the workplace. And there are plenty of catchphrases to go along with the concept. Think outside the box. Do more with less. Push the envelope. Take it to the next level. If you’ve been in the workforce for more than a few years, you’ve heard at least several of these sentences. And you’ve also undoubtedly worked with some people who embody creative problem-solving. Hopefully, you are one of those people. But what if you aren’t? Can you become one of those people? The short answer: absolutely. In my two decades in the consulting world, I’ve worked with many people who take problem-solving to rock star levels. Some come to it naturally. Watching those people work is exciting—but what’s even more thrilling is watching someone go from 0 to 100 in the creative problem-solving category.  So, in the fourth installment in this blog series, we’ll explore how creative problem-solving drives success for both clients and consultants in great cloud consulting projects. Along the way, you may even get some inspiration for your projects. Evolving to Problem-Solving The best consultants have an insatiable desire to help find the right solution to solve their clients’ challenges. This desire causes them to explore new avenues to achieve goals—they don’t accept the status quo. They take a disciplined, curious, and inventive approach to deliver exceptional results. They find efficiencies. They look for problems to solve. They engage with experts inside and outside of their practice. They are resolution-oriented and take initiative: continuously researching, innovating, and optimizing. I tell my team that I want our practice to be filled with initiators because the benefits aren’t just for our clients. Creatively solving problems does more than address the immediate challenge at hand. It makes for an empowered work environment that helps you:   Develop new skills or deepen existing ones, putting you on the path to becoming an expert Deepen client relationships and exceed client expectations Broaden your network through collaboration Increase your satisfaction with your work Accelerate your career progression With these problem-solving personality characteristics and benefits in mind, let’s cast a lens on what consultants can specifically do to get innovative on their cloud projects—and how their clients can, too. Stop Selling and Start Shaping the Solution When you’re in the purchasing process for any product or service, it’s off-putting to feel you’re being “sold to.” I firmly believe that consultants should treat the sales process more like a “solution alignment process” with their clients. The goal is to look at the project as a continuum starting with the first engagement in the sales cycle all the way through go-live. In this model, the client experience feels seamless—every activity feels solution-driven, and the creativity starts early in the sales process.  That’s why I’ve given my Oracle Consulting team the following direction: Move away from selling our services. Focus on understanding your client. Shape a solution with them that addresses their needs.   In this approach, the information shared during the initial conversations becomes a critical springboard to creative problem-solving. Clients, when you’re considering working with a consultant, be sure to communicate the following as you vet their capabilities (and know that the best consultants will ask and share their observations before you have a chance to tell them):   Financial Imperatives – Your commitments to “the street” and shareholders if you’re a public company; or if you’re privately held, the expectations of your company owners and investors Competitive Landscape – The dynamics of your industry and how you compare to your peers Big Ideas – The “game changers” you want to implement to leapfrog the competition Business Issues – What you are solving for and how your consultant can demonstrate an impact on a set of economic outcomes Maturity – The agility—or lack thereof—you may have when it comes to making the transition to new applications, as well as your cloud experience and knowledge Sponsorship and Culture – Your executive champions, functional leaders, key decision-makers, and influencers, as well as anyone who may be a barrier to your efforts When clients share this information early, they can collaborate with their consultants to design a holistic strategy that extends beyond the implementation of cloud technology—it encompasses solving business problems and capitalizing on competitive opportunities. After this process is complete and the cloud project is in full swing, the challenge becomes taking creative problem-solving further when everyone is enveloped in deliverables and milestones. How can clients feel more confident in the cloud? How can consultants deliver even more value? Here are a few ideas to get you started:   Art of the Possible – What big ideas can help the client make a more significant impact in the market? Consider establishing a periodic cadence of “innovation meetings” that include key members from the client and the consultant. Encourage everyone to contribute ideas that are not bound by “what we can do now” but are inspired by “what could we do if the possibilities were unlimited?” Big ideas that may seem outlandish can inspire actionable solutions when creative minds put their heads together. Resourcing with Confidence – Clients may need to shift internal resources or make new hires to support their cloud initiatives—don’t be afraid to ask your consultant for advice on what your team should look like. Consultants must examine the maturity of their client on every project as they shape their staff—clients with less experience in the cloud will require support from cloud consulting veterans. Quick Wins – An incremental approach to success builds confidence in all players in a cloud consulting project. Clients and consultants should align a quick-win approach with the organizational culture. How quickly can the client move? What demands in the market require us to calibrate our pace up or down? Can you achieve positive outcomes soon through more rapid, iterative go-lives? Great cloud consulting projects get away from “sales” and get into the mode of “solutions”—and stay in that mode. When creative problem-solving starts early in the sales process, with both clients and consultants fully engaged, everyone is delivering in an environment that leverages the best ideas across the project. And everyone is stronger for it. Go be bold.   Be sure to check out Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 in this blog series.  

Much has been written about what it means to be a creative problem-solver in the workplace. And there are plenty of catchphrases to go along with the concept. Think outside the box. Do more with less....

Future State

Moving to Oracle Services Cloud to increase reliability and drive optimization

One of Southern Europe’s energy utility company had three top reasons for their transformation to Oracle HCM Cloud. One, their customer service call center needed a reliable platform that would ensure a 24/7 service to the callers. Second, they needed the best and optimized way to utilize their on-field technical team. And finally, like most utility companies, they needed to reduce their operating costs. Oracle Consulting worked with a third-party system integrator for this client who was in charge of integrating middleware between our proposed solution and the customer’s legacy systems. The solution proposed and which eventually went live on the customer’s systems was Oracle Field Services Cloud (OFSC) and Oracle Services Cloud (OSvC). Oracle Consulting’s proprietary True Cloud Method (TCM) was used to implement a best practice solution with clear roles and responsibilities that also used an iterative workshop approach and made adoption to Cloud easier. Furthermore, the structured approach with TCM helped to minimize the impacts on the project due to some significant changes in the client’s organization. We managed to go live on the scheduled date, as always adhering to the strict timelines. The new product standard functionalities helped our client to enable newly introduced roles in their organization. This new platform also drives a workforce optimization, one of the key business needs for this client and also improves service levels in the customer service call center. If you’d like to learn more about our Customer Experience solutions, including Service Cloud and how Oracle Consulting can help you, visit Oracle Consulting – CX.

One of Southern Europe’s energy utility company had three top reasons for their transformation to Oracle HCM Cloud. One, their customer service call center needed a reliable platform that would ensure...

Oracle Corporation

50% of companies will fail to comply with GDPR

Author: Stewart Felstead, Security Architect, Oracle Consulting UKIE. This figure is terrifying as a Gartner survey suggests that half of EU businesses may fail to be GDPR ready by May 25 this year, when GDPR becomes effective. Do you think your company will be ready for GDPR? The triangle of Truth – a different view on the 3 points of risk Everyone is worried about protecting the data at source, but should data be the main or only focus? No, protection isn’t only about having an encrypted file system, or transparent encryption on all your databases, or even a privileged access control layer, as individually they won’t address all your GDPR requirements. Addressing GDPR compliance should also include your policies, controls and processes needed to be considered together with data.  A lot of people are really focused just on the data and data subjects rights such as the right to be forgotten but the reality is that it is policy that drives the controls that are embedded into your processes to enable you to achieve an acceptable level of compliance. Some definitions: A policy is one or more rules that the business decides must be adhered to. Policies are defined in response to things like legislation, ethics, efficiencies etc.  A Control is a mechanism that implements the rules of a policy and the Process is where a Control is deployed to ensure the process is executed in a way that adheres to the rules of the Policy within your Business. A process may need to utilise multiple controls at different points of execution. Example of Policy, Control & Process: The doorman. Policy : By order of the management, no sports shoes are allowed. Control: To make sure that no sports shoes are allowed, you hire a big suited security guard. Process: Enabling the control - Does the security guard stand outside the venue in the rain, checking for shoes or do you decide to have him just at the door looking for people’s shoes?  Are you going to decide to let people pay first and then have the guard inside, walking around looking for people with trainers? From a compliance perspective, as long as there are no people with trainers on compliance has been met. Real World Example: CVs and The HR Department. An HR on boarding policy might state that only people who work in HR are entitled to access a prospects candidate data (As required by Least Privileged Access). It would normally be straight forward if you have an electronic system where you upload the CV and only the HR person can login and access it before passing it to the hiring manager.  However in the real world, people send CVs through the postal system and these then end up in the post room. This means that without proper controls in place the CV could be opened in the post room and in theory the personal in the post room could have access to sensitive personal data e.g. name, address, phone number possibly NI & passport number which could potentially be enough to excited Identity theft or a credit card fraud. In this example you might want to consider putting a control in place as part of that process to ensure it can be executed in a complaint way. As the CV it’s not a technology control, it’s a process control. One of the key requirements of GDPR is understanding where data is in your organisation in all it’s forms, and understanding what processes act up in, and who the actors in those processes should be. Once that it understood you then need to ensure appropriate controls are in place to properly protect that data. In the example above a control is required to ensure job applications are not opened in the post room, this could be as simple as ensuring candidates address the envelope to a specific department and the post room are informed to forward mail to that department unopened – a simple but effective Process Control. The point is that the control is a mechanism to meet the requirements of your policy and the policy will state in the same way ‘it said no trainers’ on the previous example, that only authorised people can see the candidate data. How you enable a control is dependent on the process but it is the mechanism that enforces the policy. A control is either something that’s put in place from a technology perspective or something that you are include in a process to prevent or reduce the likelihood that someone does something against policy. How that control is delivered to your business is defined by your process. It’s a fairly realistic assumption that today organisation will have existing policies and obviously have existing processes which may include some controls, but the likelihood of those policies, controls and assumptions being robust enough and applied with the appropriate levels of diligence to enable most organisation to be compliant is believed to be relatively low according to Gartner (see above). Robust enough for GDPR?  You may be fortunate and have existing policies that are robust but, are the controls or the process that you put in place still enough to meet the demands of the GDPR? You could fail in any of these areas, and when you do so, it will by definition, put your business at risk. By doing a risk assessment against the three points of risk, you are able to identify what risk you are carrying. To enable you to quantify that risk and therefore prioritise remediation you need to understand how it is related to the data. You might have a system that anyone can log in to, and see anything on it, but if it does not hold any PII data, it is likely to represent very little risk from a GDPR perspective.  So, ultimately all this is related to the data itself but understanding the data alone is the wrong place to start. Understand what data you hold, where it is, how it is stored, transported, exposed and maintained from conception to destruction is what will be assessed by the auditor. Who? What? Where? When? Some Considerations Who – The Data Subject, whose data is it and do you know. Where does it came from? If you rely on consent, are you sure you have you got the right consent that meets the stringent GDPR requirements? What - Is it relevant/current/accurate?  What you are doing with the data and is the consent consistent with the way you using it? Where - Do you know where the data is? Who has access and is that access appropriate? What do you do when you no longer need the data? Can you remove it on request – do you know what other legislation impacts the data, for example PCI-DSS may require you continue to hold data even after a right to be forgotten has been initiated? When - How can you prove who did what with the data? Can I actually identify whose data has been compromised and action a breach notification? How do you identify, record and report unauthorised access? Do you have up to date contact details for the individual? Operational Implications – Making GDPR a BAU Process Compliance cannot be considered a point in time activity. This is not just about May 2018.  However, the key is not a one of compliance position but an ongoing operational process. As your compliance position will change over time, you need to be looking at simple, cost effective mechanisms to implement across your whole enterprise to deliver against the demands of GDPR the will enable you to drive change in the business. You make a specific change because you are carrying a known risk and you need this risk removed as it realisation will have a quantifiable impact on your business.  It is highly probable that GDPR is going to introduce change, whether that be an update or replacement system or a change in behaviours.  You are very likely to be required to develop new process and to do so you will need time and investment.  At Oracle Consulting we can help you, wherever you are on your GDPR Journey, from getting started to monitoring your ongoing GDPR policy requirements’ gaps, with GDPRSMART as an approach to risk Identification and Remediation.  Contact EMEA Consulting (emeaconsultingcomms_ww@oracle.com).   

Author: Stewart Felstead, Security Architect, Oracle Consulting UKIE. This figure is terrifying as a Gartner survey suggests that half of EU businesses may fail to be GDPR ready by May 25 this year,...

Oracle Corporation

Why is organization culture important?

Author: Kathy Wu, Social Media Coordinator at Oracle Consulting Nordics Follow my exploration of Oracle, where I attempt to understand the culture and people inside it. The diversity that’s comes along within a transnational IT-company is strange but amazing. Every day I meet new colleagues and learn new names. Each person has their own story of how they started in Oracle, but why they are staying, remains for the same reason. The organization culture and the people.   "As a woman, I am delighted to state Oracle is a gender equal workplace. It is a friendly, respectful environment where we respect each other’s competencies by showing appreciations." Today I had an interview with my colleague Monica Lantz, a HCM-consultant. She will share her career stories with us and advice for new graduates.   How would you describe yourself? I am born and raised in Uppsala, a city that’s one hour away from Stockholm, Sweden. I still live there, on the countryside with my husband and our two children. Beside from work, I find it is entertaining to renovate and decorate my house and the garden. My plans for travelling is to visit a new capital for every year but also to explore more of Sweden. What is your career background? I would like to comment that I have not studied anything within HR, IT or finance during my school time. My first job was in the kitchen at a pharmaceutical company and I was twenty years old. In that time the company offered us many different expertise courses to let us develop new skills. Taking value of that I started to study a course within IT and after my parental leave I came back to a financial position. Later, as an advantage with financial background I got introduced to start as a HR-administrator and after a few years I became HR-IT Manager with Nordic responsibility. In short terms, where I started didn’t define my later career path. How did you started as a HCM consultant at Oracle? A friend of mine proposed me to go for an interview in Oracle. So in 2016 the 1st of November I started at Oracle Consulting. At first glance, I was a bit confused of how I could contribute but later I realized that my previous leadership experiences had been beneficial for me. As a HCM consultant my profession is to sell our consulting services. It is the skills and knowledge we have for helping our customers to adopt in the new way of working in a cloud environment. Customers usually get confident in me because of my competencies and understandings of them, therefore I also have a role as a senior adviser. Do you have any advices for new graduates at Oracle? One thing we all need to know is that no matter if you are an expertise or new graduate, you are the one who sets your limits of learning, especially here in Oracle. To our new hires, I want to say this is an exciting workplace, as a consultant you have many chances to be involved in different challenges, working on diverse project and discover new skills. It is a very motivating place to be in, constantly surrounded by innovated and brilliant people. It provides a lot of positive energy to keep yourself driven and searching for new ideas on how to adapt the way consulting is working with customers.   "It is a culture built on trust, that each employee will take care of their tasks and have strong sense of responsibility. The source of sustaining the trust within us is that we focus on efficiency and results, and not by counting the hours."   How do you find Oracle as a workplace? As a women, I am delighted to state Oracle is a gender equal workplace. It is a friendly, respectful environment where we respect each other’s competencies by showing appreciations. Equally of how I want to care and help my clients, I am the same for my colleagues. Because by sharing and exchanging experiences, we are making progress both in personal and professional for the organization. In Oracle, there are a lot of freedom in terms of flexibility and ability to work remotely. It is a culture built on trust, that each employee will take care of their tasks and have strong sense of responsibility. The source of sustaining the trust within us is that we focus on efficiency and results, and not by counting the hours. I plan my hours and I am trusted, that is undeniably something cherished by me, as an employee. As it is close to the #IWD2018, I would like to contribute this article for the theme #Pressforprogress and showcase how important it is with a gender equal workplace. If you want to know more of how it is to work at Oracle, read my earlier interview "It is never boring to work at Oracle"  

Author: Kathy Wu, Social Media Coordinator at Oracle Consulting Nordics Follow my exploration of Oracle, where I attempt to understand the culture and people inside it. The diversity that’s comes...

Future State

What Makes a Great Cloud Consulting Project? Part 3: Set Expectations

In the first two installments of my “Great Consulting Project” blog series, I highlighted the importance of having the tough discussions and following the golden rule. Now I will put the lens on understanding client expectations, aligning solutions accordingly, and then meeting (and exceeding) those expectations throughout a project.  Understanding expectations starts with the first conversation between a consultant and a client From the first interaction, consultants must show a genuine interest in understanding the client and what they value. So many times, we approach the first conversation with an intention to tell them all about us. It’s like going to a cocktail party, meeting people for the first time, and they tell you everything about themselves—but never ask one thing about you. Cocktail parties are typically a lot more interesting when you start asking questions and learning about other people versus focusing on yourself. The same is true of consulting projects—be curious.  In initial conversations with clients, I like to spend time asking open-ended questions that help me better understand them. Questions I like to ask include: How have you worked with consultants in the past? What made your past projects great? What made previous projects challenging? How do you define success? Learn about culture, workstyle, and roles In subsequent conversations, usually the ones where we start to get into the details of the program, I like to ask clients questions like: Where do your employees work – in the office, remote, a mixture of both? How are decisions made – by consensus, top down? How good are you at sticking to decisions once they are made? How do you collaborate – via email, instant message, meetings, video conferences, etc.? How do you intend to deliver your program – guided by a consultant? Working side by side with consultants? You lead and consultants augment? By gathering this kind of information, consultants can develop a solution (which includes the scope, methodology, delivery locations, resourcing model, and assets) that better aligns to their client’s expectation.  Clients, what does this mean for you? Be candid and honest in your responses. Don’t be afraid to: Unpack your baggage from previous projects. That helps your consultants know how to create a better experience for you. Share the limitations and challenges your organization faces. Every company has them, and discussing them with your consultants will enable them to calibrate their services accordingly. Say, “I don’t know.” When you’re unsure of how to set goals, assign responsibility, or define your project, speak up. The best consultants know how to guide you to the right answers. Demand that your consultants learn about you. If they aren’t asking you these questions, share the details with your consultants. Set clear expectations and align solutions to meet them Once a project is confirmed, it is critical to transition the agreed upon expectations from the consulting sales team to the delivery team, who will continue to establish and share expectations with the entire project team. Said simply, all parties need to collectively agree on what the client expects of the consultant, and what the consultant expects of the client.  Everyone on the project team should agree, confirm, and begin delivering against the expectations. Expectations should be realistic, transparent, and easy to navigate. The project expectations should be documented in the Project Charter and then enabled through governance processes (i.e., who will make decisions, what decisions will be made at various levels, how will you escalate risks and issues, etc.) and the project plan (i.e., what work needs to be performed, when, and by whom). On a regular basis, expectations should be checked and course corrections made when challenges arise.  How does a consultant exceed expectations? By listening. By adapting. By thinking out of the box. By tackling challenges head on. By being proactive. By being authentic and genuine. In the consulting business, your differentiator is your people. At Oracle Consulting, we are challenging our consultants to raise the bar. We emphasize: Do more. Be curious. Catapult success.  Remember, the questions you can ask are endless. Start a conversation knowing that what you get out of it will be proportional to the effort you put into it. This will naturally lead to deeper relationships with your clients. The right questions will lead to the right insights—allowing you to better understand the culture of the company and how your clients will evaluate what success is. Ultimately, asking questions will help you set appropriate, realistic expectations and become a better advisor to your clients—success times two. Consultants and clients, how do you set expectations for your projects? Share your best practices in the comments below!

In the first two installments of my “Great Consulting Project” blog series, I highlighted the importance of having the tough discussions and following the golden rule. Now I will put the lens...

Oracle Corporation

Handy DMP life-hacks you won't abandon - unlike your resolutions!

Author: Stephen Hanvey, DMP Expert Services Consultant at Oracle Consulting As the old joke goes "I can't believe it's nearly a year since I didn't become a better person". If your 2018 resolutions were to try and keep 2017's (or 2016's for that matter) then you're in good company as 42% of people who make resolutions fail on them each year and a paltry 9% would say they were successful in reaching theirs. There are good reasons why it is so difficult to keep resolutions: from unrealistic expectations, not being ready for change, having too many targets or being too easily dissuaded by initial failures - if I may jump to a conclusion you could say that it's all down to a lack of strategy! I suppose all this makes for pretty negative reading and it would be enough to put anyone off bothering, yet contrary to the high failure rate so many believe that the turn of the year is the perfect catalyst for a self improvement make-over. In seeking sage advice from the plethora of life coaching blogs, I've been introduced to the basics of making achievable resolutions that will stick, which if I bind into one sentence for your benefit would be - Don't make resolutions - have a strategy like setting SMART daily goals. So what's that got to do with DMPs you would be wise to ask - well to me, managing a DMP can sometimes feel a little bit like that post-binge seasonal life-hack during the down time between 26 and 31 December followed by the subsequent mid February resignation, let me illustrate: I need to lose weight - This year we need to reduce our operating costs, improve efficiency (whether that's ROAS or ROI) and reduce our CPA I need to learn something new - We need to improve our knowledge of customers and make better data-based decisions from our owned data assets I need get fit and go to the gym - We need to work smarter, be prepared and be more efficient So here are a few data management life-hacks as counsel and opinion from my own DMP consulting experience. Maybe one of these will be a SMART goal you can accomplish in 2018? Start with data but move to comprehension When it comes to DMPs and data, I am always reminded of a quote by H. Jackson Brown Jr when he said "Nothing is more expensive than a missed opportunity". To invest in a DMP, but not plumb in ALL your valuable customer data and then worse still not make it your goal to move from data integration to data comprehension is a huge missed opportunity. A DMP cannot create miracles by turning poor customer data into rich and valuable insights or make an inefficient marketing strategy efficient overnight, in fact without a data strategy the DMP will simply turn into a very expensive audience building tool that sits at the front of your programmatic advertising process. Moving to comprehension requires such a data strategy, and one under-pinned by a DMP, the ingredients of which are: Identify, Coordinate and Consolidate - The DMP allows a business to create a single source of truth, as a consequence it can bring about the demolition of data silos that exist due to disparate data production, collection and storage systems. BUT this is true only if the DMP is allowed to become that source of truth by strategically planning ingestion and consolidation around one privacy safe ID. Ingestion of what... well of offline customer records, online tag collected web and mobile web activity, mobile app interaction data, web analytics insights, data science derived propensity modelling, tracked media interactions (impressions and clicks), 2nd party customer data sources (such as POS data from partner retailers if you're a CPG brand) and any other non-PII customer data source that a brand/publisher has at its disposal. In addition to the need for the plan, what needs to co-exist is an executive level understanding, buy in and advocacy of a centralised data strategy. In short - to not have a fully bought into plan for the identification, collection and consolidation of all existing and future customer data streams into the DMP is to be setting yourself up for an "expensive... missed opportunity" Make data segmentation and analytics objective driven - Consider the challenges that most businesses are trying to solve through a data strategy, an example can be seen in this IDG study here. The top 3 are: 60% – Finding correlations across multiple disparate data source 47% – Predicting customer behaviour 42% – Predicting product or service sales Stating the obvious, after all this section is called "move to comprehension" - the next step after data consolidation is to make sense of it all. The best way to approach this is to have a clear business objective in mind that will fuel your analytical approach. Let's take for example the most popular challenge from that IDG study - Finding correlations across multiple disparate data sources. What is this really all about? Why would an organisation want to find correlations across data sources? The goal of assessing your customer data in this instance is to arrive at a measure of three things: Propensity in terms of the natural inclination to behave a certain way. If I can analyse customer data to arrive at a measure of 'propensity to convert' then I can dispense with wasteful marketing to low propensity customers. Affinity in terms of liking something based on shared characteristics. If I can analyse customer data to arrive a measure of "affinity for January sales and low cost items" then I can be highly targeted to these individuals to improve CTRs. Not to mention incredibly valuable audience segments created from building detailed lookalike models. Congruence in terms of the similarity between objects. If I can measure data congruency then I can discover which customers 'act like' my highest spending customers, and across which channels they engage, to improve accuracy and timeliness of any marketing. There could also be valuable learnings about a customer's cross-brand activity and cross-device journey that will inform an improved sales and marketing approach. Develop an Audience Segmentation Strategy, make it full funnel If media efficiency and ROI are your businesses detox missions in 2018 then having an audience segmentation strategy is paramount. Good segmentation requires a thorough understanding of the following: The sources of data (see above) The method and process of data collection. What is the onboarding time - is it real time or ramped over 24-48 hours? What data in the tag is natively captured vs added per campaign and can it all be easily used to build audiences? The DMP rules on data storage and cookie lifetime. What is the TTL (time to live) of the DMP cookie: 30 days or longer? Does a cookie remain targetable throughout that TTL and on what basis: cookies may be deleted if not seen after 30 days? What are the average decay rates of these cookies: i.e. a half life of 18 days? Are there rules around how long a taxonomy category can be targeted if it's based on a 3rd party cookie with a limited TTL? The process of creating audience segments in the DMP such as: boolean logic, mutually exclusive events and exclusions, the algorithmic calculation of propensity, affinity and congruency to understand act alike and look alike models. Also whether there is in-built A/B testing to enable clean separation of the cookie pool for testing. How and where the segment will be activated and how the DMP supports that integration/audience transfer. An audience segment for a social resell campaign will behave very differently to a search retargeting audience and will likely be transferred to the execution platform in a different way - e.g. one may require sending all cookie profiles that qualify and another may need customers to qualify for a campaign by their actions on the brand website before being cookie synced with the execution platform. This however is not a strategy, having a firm grasp on the above means that anyone creating audience segments will be set up for success. The strategy comes into play when you consider an audience segmentation strategy should be based on campaign goals, success metrics & target audience. A DMP user should first create preliminary definitions of their target audiences, build them in the DMP and then, before activating, run pre-campaign analytics. So what are we looking for in these pre-campaign reports? We should aim to understand demographics, preferred engagement channels, device engagement data and 3rd party data segments that enhance our knowledge of the customers intent. These insights allow you to tailor the creative message and ensure that the balance of scale and accuracy of the audience is suitable. Once a campaign is active, mid campaign analytics should allow discovery of ideal customer attributes. What attributes correlate most highly with the converting profiles and which 3rd party data assets are contributing most positively to those conversions. Use this detail to optimise existing audience segments and introduce exclusions for converters into the original audience to reduce wasted ad-spend. Now consider the full conversion/purchase funnel in your segmentation strategy. Create a second audience of only converters and analyse that audience to identify what the shared data attributes are (inc. propensity, affinity and congruency). Use these attributes to improve prospecting by building tiered targeted look-alike and act-alike audiences (targeting based on more and less accuracy adjusting bid strategy accordingly). Create retargeting and cross-sell campaigns for those converter segments with exclusions for prospecting segments to ensure consistency of message and reduce wasted ad-spend. When I look to start building an audience segmentation strategy, I don't just look at reactive campaign needs, as this can become the trap of audience building in the DMP, literally building audiences to an agency media campaign brief. Instead consider that an audience can be predictive, descriptive, reactive and/or passive. We can build audiences with zero reach that will increase over time as customers qualify. This means it is possible to concentrate on having granularity in your full funnel audience segmentations. After all it is through this granularity that we enable better performing audiences, with controlled cost and reach for ad buying that have the desired detoxifying impact on ROAS and ROI. In the next article I will offer my opinion on something that is crucial to the DMPs value in the marketing and advertising industry - Organisational Readiness - It's not just about the right people, it's about the right team, the right decision making, the appropriate education and a relentless focus on test and learn reiteration.

Author: Stephen Hanvey, DMP Expert Services Consultant at Oracle Consulting As the old joke goes "I can't believe it's nearly a year since I didn't become a better person". If your 2018 resolutions...

Manufacturing

Oracle’s Marketing Cloud: A Winning Proposition

Our client is a major player in the global tyre market and naturally is a large global organization with lots of teams, often operating in silos and have to deal with governance issues. They noted that their existing marketing platform was a bit limiting and needed more customizable features. The obvious decision was to refresh with a digital marketing platform. This new platform would consolidate various products in a single-vendor solution that goes beyond fragmentation towards synergy and would eventually help our client to get closer to their goal. Oracle Marketing Cloud platform is the answer to this.  The Oracle Marketing Cloud helps the marketer connect data across the marketing ecosystem to an individual customer, orchestrate a relevant experience, and analyze the performance of their efforts. Oracle Marketing Cloud features six simple but powerful solutions for Marketing Automation, Cross-Channel Orchestration, Content Marketing, Social Marketing, Data Management Platform and Testing & Optimization. For more information, click here. Interestingly, we were not their first choice for implementation as the client’s team had a clear favorite implementation partner. But eventually, our excellent track record in implementing similar solutions at other organizations in similar businesses won them over. Not just that, Oracle Consulting’s team involved in these past projects displayed a high degree of professionalism and collaborative spirit, which definitely made the scales tilt in our favour.  Our sales team know when to push forward and when to take a step back to let our work do the talking. One of the key takeaways from this win was that a winning sales propositions is more than just the solution deployed – grit, determination and most of all facts that support our claim, make it happen. It is a perfect example of how every deal may be unique, but they all benefit from the same approach – identifying where our strength is, and then everyone pulling together behind that shared strategy. If you’d like to learn more about our Cloud solutions and how Oracle Consulting can help you, visit Oracle Consulting – Solutions.

Our client is a major player in the global tyre market and naturally is a large global organization with lots of teams, often operating in silos and have to deal with governance issues. They noted...

Future State

What Makes a Great Cloud Consulting Project? Part 2: Follow the Golden Rule

In this second installment of my blog series on what makes a great cloud consulting project, I want to share a conversation I had recently with a colleague I worked with for more than 15 years. We were talking about times in our careers when our consulting game really changed—when we started operating at a higher level. We both agreed that a turning point for us professionally was when we realized that focusing more on our clients—their outcomes, their success—made us better consultants. Said differently, when we really cared about who we served, we became better professionals because it forced us to: Learn new skills to meet our clients’ expectations Seek out better solutions to solve our clients’ problems Engage with different experts to bring another (or better) point of view to the conversation Stop playing it safe—and start having the tough conversations Because I really care about my clients, I interact with them much in the same way I interact with my family and friends. And it’s how I want people in my life to interact with me. When in doubt, follow the golden rule: Treat your client how you would want to be treated. (And clients, consultants love it when you do the same—being viewed as a “partner” versus a “vendor” helps consultants take a very different approach to how they serve you).   I regularly run through these checkpoints and related questions to always keep the focus on my clients instead of me: Status check: How is their day going? How do they think their project is going? How are they doing in their role? Stress check: What is worrying them? How can I help reduce stress? Are there things I can be doing better to make them successful? Goal check: What are their personal objectives? Where do they want to be in their career in the next three years? What do they want to achieve as part of the project? Interaction check: How do they like to collaborate? What is their preferred form of communication (i.e., email, phone, text)? Motivation check: What excites them at work? What do they value personally?     I encourage my Oracle Consulting team to take the time to really understand their clients—to show them that we really care for them, and that we are here to make them shine. This drives them to seek out new and different ways to make our clients a huge success. And when that happens, we have happy clients, and our consultants enhance their skills and job satisfaction.   Clients, what does this mean for you? The golden rule goes both ways. The best clients I’ve worked with—and the ones that have had the best project outcomes—engage in continuous productive communication with their consultants. They educate their consultants on how their organization works now and how they want to work in future. They advocate for changes that benefit their company. They articulate their limitations honestly so that their consultants can help them bridge the gaps. And most important, they value the expertise that their consulting partners bring to the project.   When clients and consultants build relationships based on mutual respect and collaboration, richer conversations—and amazing project results—become inevitable. Do you have any “checkpoint” questions that you’d add to my list? Let me know in the comments, and let’s keep the dialog going! If you missed it, don’t forget to check out part one in my “Great Consulting Project” blog series here.

In this second installment of my blog series on what makes a great cloud consulting project, I want to share a conversation I had recently with a colleague I worked with for more than 15 years....

Oracle Corporation

It is never boring to work at Oracle Consulting

Author: Kathy Wu, Social Media Coordinator at Oracle Consulting Nordics After 6 months at Oracle, I have discovered many new dimensions of working at a multinational IT-corporation. What I enjoy most is the diversity of people and work. Today I want to share with you one of my great colleagues, Ellen. “The future challenges I am looking forward to are moving our customers to the cloud and be proactive in planning their journey to the cloud.”    - Ellen Samuelsen, Practice Manager Oracle Consulting Norway.   How is it to live in Oslo? Even though Oslo is not that big on a scale it still feels like a big city. We have most of the comforts a big city provides, but also have an amazing landscape with nature and city in one place. There is the woods, mountains and sea surrounding us. The city is safe and our government provide us good social benefits. As result of our natural surroundings there are a lot of business opportunities particularly in oil and gas companies and submarine expertise. How do you maintain a good work-life balance? I am very happy that Oracle offers me such flexibility and responsibility over myself. The flexibility work culture is built on trust, we trust each other’s and that is very important. I have time to spend with my family and friends. As well time for doing cross-country skiing, snowboarding and cooking. I value these things in my life and I feel respected. Why did you choose Oracle? My husband used to work for the company and he told me it is a great place, hence I gave it a try. Before I was employed as a consultant sales representative and now as a practice manager. In total I worked here for three years. What is amazing with Oracle is the offering we provide, a complete IT offering, end to end for enterprises. Beside our products and services, I have many great colleagues to work with, they are innovative, helpful and dedicated towards their careers. How would you describe Oracle as a workplace? What keeps people staying is that there are good career opportunities to let one develop. If you want to learn a new skill, take a new challenge in another position, there are good chances and the culture does encourage you to do it as well! Which is amazing, pushing our boundaries to discover new things. It is a place of equality, with supportive colleagues. What do you do as a Practice manager? For now, I really enjoy my responsibilities and have only worked as a practice manager for 9 months. My role is to have responsibility for all Norwegian projects that consulting is involved in. I also manage local consultants, find the right candidates to contribute for each projects and is involved from the beginning to the end of the delivering. I enjoy having the accountability, to setup and managing a team, to work with diverse people. Frequently I have been aiming on supporting our customers cloud strategy, planning their journey to the cloud. Any future challenges you are looking forward? Right now, I think we are having a good momentum in the market, we are growing and are named as one of the leaders in the cloud market. The future challenges I am looking forward to are moving our customers to the cloud and be proactive in planning their journey to the cloud. - Hope you enjoyed my first article. I will continue to share my insights of working at Oracle Consulting.

Author: Kathy Wu, Social Media Coordinator at Oracle Consulting Nordics After 6 months at Oracle, I have discovered many new dimensions of working at a multinational IT-corporation. What I enjoy most...

See Oracle Consulting at Oracle CloudWorld New York City

Modern professionals are embracing new operating models to drive greater business speed and agility, leveraging end-to-end business processes that are touchless, and harnessing predictive powers enhanced by machine learning and analytics. You can hear firsthand from the companies making it happen at Oracle CloudWorld New York City on February 12, 2018. This complimentary one-day event will feature case studies that show you new operational approaches and how your organization can quickly pivot to a new digital strategy. You can get hands-on with Oracle Applications Consulting experts at CloudWorld New York City—stop by our booth at the Innovation Showcase between 8 am-5 pm. And you won't want to miss the Future in View breakout session with John Mageropoulos, G.E. Digital's Vice President, Cloud ERP Deployments, and Rod Johnson, Oracle's Senior Vice President. They'll be sharing best practices in their presentation entitled "Future Proof Your Cloud Investment." The line-up of featured speakers includes technology and industry heavy hitters. You can view the list here. We hope to see you in New York—register online for the event today. If you can't attend in person, be sure to follow the Twitter hashtag #CloudWorld.                             

Modern professionals are embracing new operating models to drive greater business speed and agility, leveraging end-to-end business processes that are touchless, and harnessing predictive powers...

Future State

Oracle Taleo Recruiting Cloud for extending global recruiting processes

Here are the top three reasons why one of our clients (leading Oil and Gas Corporation in Central Europe) chose Oracle Consulting as their implementation partner:   We ensure that the best practices are implemented with high quality and efficient manner We’ve worked with them in the past and have consistently shown high quality consulting service We stick to their deadlines and deliver on time. Our client is a leading Multi-National Corporation and has presence in 40 countries and employ more than 26,000 employees. They needed to extend their global recruiting processes to new companies and also implement newer processes for specialized recruitment related searches. Oracle Taleo Recruiting Cloud Service is the market leading solution that helps enterprises source, assess, and hire the best talent. In addition to automating the process for even the most complex global organization, Oracle Taleo Recruiting Cloud Service delivers insights to continuously improve talent acquisition efficiency and effectiveness. Oracle Taleo offered myriad benefits to our client, including but not limited to:  Unified group level E-Recruitment system Increased and measurable quality in recruitment due to group-wide applicant database Improvement recruitment productivity and influence on decreasing headhunting costs Branded information career portal which strengthens the employee value proposition Flexible recruitment processes for special searches Oracle Consulting’s services covered various functional aspects, such as rollout of various processes across geographies, data migration and modification and delivery of existing integrations using Taleo. For more information on Oracle Consulting’s services in Human Capital Management (HCM), click here.

Here are the top three reasons why one of our clients (leading Oil and Gas Corporation in Central Europe) chose Oracle Consulting as their implementation partner:   We ensure that the best practices...

Future State

What Makes a Great Cloud Consulting Project? Part 1: Have the Tough Discussions

Having worked for 20 years in the consulting industry, I’ve spent considerable time thinking about—and noticing—what differentiates great consulting projects from the rest of the pack. Those differentiated qualities crystallized into a holistic picture for me when I joined the Oracle Consulting leadership team last year. While rolling out a rigorous, transparent plan for growth and continued success for our Oracle Cloud Applications consultants and clients, I began to share with my team my thoughts on what it takes to be a great consultant. In turn, we’ve kicked off an ongoing internal dialog on how to best serve our clients that has proved to be invaluable in our journey of continuous improvement. And in the spirit of the great consulting, I asked myself, “Why not share outside of Oracle’s four walls how consultants and clients can create mutually beneficial partnerships?” So, here I am, with part one of a blog series that asks—and answers—“What makes a great cloud consulting project?” Project Success Starts with Trust Project success, which results in strong client satisfaction, must be the top priority for every consultant and client partnership. Achieving project success (and ultimately, client satisfaction) requires consultants to earn their clients’ trust by telling them when they are making: Poor design decisions Unrealistic requests Their solution or delivery approach too complex The best consultants aren’t “yes men” (or “yes women”) for their clients. It’s incumbent upon consultants to guide their clients in the best direction even if it means providing constructive criticism. In turn, clients must work to ensure their own success by: Actively listening to their consultants’ advice and respecting that it is based on their experience Saying, “Don’t tell me, show me” to their project-tested consultants who can—and should—demonstrate pitfalls by example Getting executive buy-in on consultants’ guidance if it contradicts their company’s status quo Successful consultants should approach a project with confidence because they were selected to implement their client’s technology investment, and therefore have already gained some level of trust. Asking clients for permission to have the difficult discussions increases that level of trust. In my two decades of consulting, the number one point of feedback I have heard from clients is, “I wish your team would have advised us more.” Said differently, “I wish your team would have helped save us from ourselves.” The barrier to consultants achieving this has typically been because either the client did not foster an environment in which they are receptive to outside advice and/or because a consultant failed to be bold enough to speak their mind (respectfully, and in the best interest of their client). I have asked all members of my consulting team to look at their current projects, assess what is being asked of them, and then find a way to politely guide their clients to a better approach or solution if the situation calls for it. If their clients are not open to hearing alternative approaches, the situation needs to be escalated because it could result in a less than stellar outcome for our client. As I reiterate with my Oracle Applications Consulting team: Client success and their satisfaction is our number one goal! Having the Tough Discussions I have found that to have tough discussions, the following “talk track” works well: Define the situation. What are you seeing? This should be articulated with facts (not opinions). Articulate the complications. What will the result(s) of the situation be? This should be articulated with potential issues. Provide options. How could they address the situation differently to get a better result? Always provide more than two options that include pros and cons of each option. Make a recommendation. What would you recommend based on your experiences and the context of your client? Advise with conviction and use illustrative anecdotes from prior engagements when you can. Clients, what does this mean for you? I encourage you to listen to your consultants’ ideas and step away from the mentality of “This is how we always do it” and move to “How could we approach things differently to achieve a better result?” From my firsthand experience, implementing cloud applications does more than change a company’s technology landscape; it changes the way they do business. That means you must shift the way you think and act during—and after—an implementation to ensure you meet your goals. Cloud success requires a holistic approach to people, process, and technology. Great consultants live and breathe at the intersection of those three areas—they will guide you on the right path.  Along that path, tough conversations will be inevitable. But when clients achieve their goals, the tough conversations will be appreciated and satisfaction will go through the roof. Consultants feel better about their work in the end—and so does the client.  What have you learned from having tough conversations? I’d love to hear from both clients and consultants—share your thoughts in the comments section below. And check back here for part two in this “Great Consulting Project” series soon.

Having worked for 20 years in the consulting industry, I’ve spent considerable time thinking about—and noticing—what differentiates great consulting projects from the rest of the pack....

Finance

UK-based specialist bank stabilizes their operations with ERP

A UK-based specialist bank, linking international finance with growing opportunities in certain developing countries needed a scalable, automated solution that allowed them to focus on the growth of their business. Stuck in numerous manual processes, and having to involve IT every time they wanted to generate a new report, a key requirement was to reduce human intervention and operational risk. They used a dated version of E-Business Suite and were considering an upgrade. However, upgrading E-Business Suite was a costly option which would not future proof the organization if they upgrade continually into the future. Oracle Consulting worked with the bank to understand current constraints and where they wanted to be, whilst providing reassurance that an Oracle on Oracle approach was the simplest option with the lowest risk. We established credibility and trust with them, selling not only our expertise but the solution. This was a great example of us working with an organization running a small operation, proving once again that Oracle Consulting will customize and work with operations of all sizes, whether it is spanning across geographies or a relatively small one with limited resources. The Consulting team displayed incredible flexibility and where possible found work arounds for the client illustrating the best practice processes and simplifying the decision-making process. Putting the responsibility on Oracle to ensure that they are up to date with the latest functionality in the cloud, our client is now able to consume up to date functionality on a regular basis and will avoid complex, costly upgrades occurring every couple of years. Not just that, Oracle Consulting are providing a post go live support focusing on user adoption plus a Managed Service arrangement to cover them until they are in steady state and confidently managing day to day and month end processes. Read more about what the services offered by Oracle Consulting for your business.

A UK-based specialist bank, linking international finance with growing opportunities in certain developing countries needed a scalable, automated solution that allowed them to focus on the growth of...

Oracle Corporation

National Express Redesigns booking tools, optimising for improved engagement with Oracle Maxymiser and Oracle Consulting

As one of the most recognized transport brands in the UK, National Express must constantly adapt to their customers’ evolving needs. National Express required a roadmap of activity aligned to business goals and the ability to safely test and rollout customer journey changes across channels.   Challenges Testing is part of the brand culture and vital in building every element of the roadmap  A rebuilt booking engine and website needed optimising within a short timeframe  The increased test velocity required expert consultancy and self-serve solutions  Changes needed to be delivered through a new content management system  Solutions  Test velocity increased with Oracle Maxymiser team working alongside a self-serve platform  Complex tests handled by campaign design team, simple tests run internally  Changes beta tested with core contacts to reduce risk with first-time users  Trialed customer testimonials on the landing page  Ancillary product page redesigned to drive conversions for optional travel extras  Results  Redesign of app page increased engagement by 22% from website  Redesign of the ancillary product page generated a significant increase in ancillary sales, leading to an overall increase in AOV  Newly featured customer testimonials drove a direct lift in sales orders from the page    Want to learn more download the case study. Find more Customer stories visit here.

As one of the most recognized transport brands in the UK, National Express must constantly adapt to their customers’ evolving needs. National Express required a roadmap of activity aligned to...

Future State

All I want for Christmas is a DMP

Author: Stephen Hanvey, DMP Expert Services Consultant at Oracle Consulting Each festive season our senses are bombarded with ever more commercial stimulus intended to focus our purchasing power towards the latest toy, technology and treasure. In seeking out the popular media's 'Top 10 for under £..." we can displace the arduous, indecisive quest with the satisfaction that our loved one will prize their unwrapped bounty for its en vogue status. Please don't misunderstand, I'm not for a moment suggesting that investing in a Data Management Platform is akin to buying the dernier cri, but gift me some festive license so I may snap the cracker of comparison. In my daily toil consulting brands of all shapes and sizes, it is customary to spend some time reconstructing the contemporary understanding of a DMP. Whether this is cause and effect of the multiplicity of comment, advice and proclamation from industry tongues - I cannot conclude. But the source of this inaccuracy is a trifle compared with the glory it is to behold how a DMP can be truly transformative. So this yuletide and in the spirit of the season, I bestow on you my own offering - in the style of Rob Fleming, Nick Hornby's protagonist from High Fidelity - What a DMP truly is and what is definitely is not... Top 5! Is a DMP a place to store 1st party customer data One of the latest industry buzz TLAs is the CDP (Customer Data Platform) - a single customer view solution which features a persistent customer identifier, against which multiple data sources are consolidated, structured and passed out to other marketing platforms. You can see how this is so easily confused with a DMP, but the two are very different animals. A DMP is not a place to store 1st party customer data, if by storage your intention is indefinite storage of a persistent customer identity. DMPs function without any PII, the data architecture is reliant on 3rd party cookies which by their nature and legality are not persistent. But the DMP does facilitate the collection, consolidation, structuring and activation of 1st party data in a privacy safe way. One common use case clients ask about is the ability to re-activate a year old converter (a good example is a customer who bought a June holiday a year ago, who the holiday company want to retarget the following year). Now in this instance the DMP can play an important role, but it is not designed to store the conversion data for that customer a year on, and even if we did manage to persist that tagged conversion for a year, the 3rd party cookie that represents that customer in the DMP would legally have to be deleted at 180 days. The solution for brands who have this necessity is to not think of the DMP as the panacea, but as a very powerful tool within a martech/adtech stack and wider marketing strategy that needs to be coordinated. My question to clients who seek this use case is: How much do you think advertising to a customer who last engaged with your brand 12 months ago is worthwhile? Will their digital persona have changed in that time (habits, behaviours and identifiers)? Now if that audience segment does present a potentially rich source of conversion, then we should design longevity into the DMPs data management role such as exporting 1st party data from the DMP into a data-lake or CRM along with their audience categories and consolidated ID information so we can import and activate that data in a years time through the DMP. Is a DMP a tool for running analytical reporting on campaign results? DMPs have in their toolset a series of analytical reports and functional reports designed for the user to monitor and manage data flow in and out of the DMP, to make optimisation decisions about audience segments, frequency, reach and recency based on propensity and an affinity index. DMPs typically do not contain attribution, conversion, viewability or ad verification reports. Designed into all data campaigns should be some element of uplift testing using A/B test groups to create DMP derived audience segments and hold outs, however DMPs do not typically have robust data visualisation and manipulation features like the leading BI tool providers. Think of a DMP as the pipe for all customer data aggregation and unification and like all pipes it has an output that you can control. Does a DMP deal with just cookies? I did mention earlier in this article that DMPs are reliant on 3rd party cookies, and at it's most basic this is true, but evolution of technology has advanced the DMP capabilities in order to survive. There are environments where customers interact with your brand where it is not possible to drop 3rd party cookies (some mobile web browsers, mobile apps). A DMP worth it's price-tag will offer clients the ability to connect IDs across devices: mobile web cookie to MAID, desktop cookie to mobile web cookie, MAID to statistical ID. It is through this feature evolution that real cross device marketing is possible. The industry has some way to go to catch up with the coverage capabilities of the 'duopoly', but take comfort and have confidence that solutions are available to achieve better visibility of a customer across all their devices - today. Can a DMP solve all your marketing and advertising problems? Simple and short answer is ... No! I have nothing more to say here other than I don't think anyone in the clear light of day expects the DMP to answer all of their marketing and advertising challenges. Its when the heat is on, the CMO and CFO request justification for the investment in a DMP or the scrutiny for proof a DMP has had a positive ROI impact start coming that the DMP becomes "the thing that was supposed to make life easier". A DMP is not a panacea, but it can be hugely, positively transformative for Marketers, Advertisers and Publishers if it is deployed and managed well. Expertise isn't abundant, so seek out Strategic and Expert Consultancy Services where they are offered. Also recognise that to deploy a DMP only as the audience building stage in a programmatic display silo - is like seeing an ad for a 4x4 sat in a muddy field and buying that 4x4 in order to hook up a field plough to your tow-bar to do some farming, it might work for you, but is it the right tool for the job... and on that thought... Do I need a DMP? I am going to be controversial here.. better sit down! Sometimes... just sometimes, we can get so caught up in the buzz of a new technology trend that we don't stop to think "Do I really need this?" Some advertisers or publishers are not at a developmental stage, in terms of marketing maturity, where a DMP will be worth the investment. A DMP will not let anyone short-cut the hard work that it is to build a brand, invest in good communication and good product to grow affinity. It won't help you get the right customers to your door if you don't know who your ideal customer is. It can't remove the need for a strategic approach to SEO, content development and a good website experience. If as a brand you are at a stage where a dominant % of your marketing spend is programmatic display and that's working for you, then there are many DSPs with admirable capabilities in audience segmentation and targeting. You can't plug in a DMP, walk away and let it go to work. It is a transformational piece of technology - to be successful it requires a Data & Platform Manager, an often fundamental change to where and how marketing and advertising decisions have traditionally been made and finally a re-calibration of the brand:agency relationship. Bottom line is this - don't let your DMP be that super popular Top10 gift you buy, only to play with it once and then let it get dusty on a shelf - a DMP is life not just for Christmas.

Author: Stephen Hanvey, DMP Expert Services Consultant at Oracle Consulting Each festive season our senses are bombarded with ever more commercial stimulus intended to focus our purchasing power...

Finance

SYSTRA Enhances Sales Activity and Client Portfolio with Oracle Sales Cloud

Boosts Sales Performance and Supports Growth by Implementing Oracle Sales Cloud   Created in 1957, SYSTRA is an international engineering and consulting group in the field of mobility, and the world leader in transport infrastructure design. Present in 80 countries, the organization is a public limited company owned by RATP, SNCF, and French banks. SYSTRA required a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool for the whole group, and wanted to improve its business efficiency. The CRM tool had to be able to amalgamate information about customers and prospects, allow SYSTRA’s users to exchange information throughout the world.   Challenges Facilitate collaboration between sales staff to improve the overall sales process in order to reach SYSTRA’s strategic objective of €800 million by doubling turnover between 2013 and 2018 Implement an easy-to-use sales management tool to consolidate the sales pipeline and eliminate manual errors Consolidate sales data distributed across all group entities to provide a global overview of business efficiency Deploy a worldwide, bilingual, and multi-currency cloud solution Results Enabled sales data to be shared throughout the group by deploying Oracle Sales Cloud globally for 300 business users located in France and across Europe, the Middle East, North America and Latin America, Africa, and Asia Pacific regions Created a common business information platform using Oracle Sales Cloud as a single data repository for the whole SYSTRA group, providing a global view of the group's sales activity and a detailed view of each customer relationship Increased the visibility of business development activities thanks to a global perspective on the client portfolios, prospects, and contacts managed by each of SYSTRA’s sales territories Increased the reliability of business data thanks to the ability to update all information in real time, globally Introduced proactive real-time management of sales activity, enhancing monitoring and development of key performance indicators, and significantly improving responsiveness to customers and prospects Improved the quality of business information, and increased collaboration between sales teams by enabling them to easily share accurate and up-to-date data with colleagues Optimized customer relationship management by using Oracle Sales Cloud to standardize processes for lead, opportunity, and account management     Oracle Consulting supported the SYSTRA teams from solution design through deployment. The main role of Oracle Consulting was to develop a solution that fit SYSTRA’s business processes and practices, while respecting the implementation schedule and associated budgets. Beginning with a workshop in October 2015, Oracle delivered the first prototype in November 2015. Following a second prototype delivered in late January 2016, full deployment in all eight regions was completed, in three waves, by October 2016. To SYSTRA’s satisfaction, the close-knit collaboration between Oracle and SYSTRA teams enabled all deadlines and budgets to be fully respected.      SYSTRA has been developing on the world stage since its creation in 1957. Founded originally to export French know-how in the field of public transport, SYSTRA is now present in more than 80 countries. More than half of its engineers and technicians are based outside France to ensure proximity to customers. In order to strengthen its presence in the main international markets, SYSTRA has embarked on a targeted acquisition strategy. The company is currently focusing on developing its activities in Australia, Brazil, India, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.

Boosts Sales Performance and Supports Growth by Implementing Oracle Sales Cloud   Created in 1957, SYSTRA is an international engineering and consulting group in the field of mobility, and the world...

Oracle

Integrated Cloud Applications & Platform Services