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Future State

Beyonics completes a major Business transformation program with Oracle Consulting

Beyonics has completed a major Business transformation program with Oracle Consulting to migrate to Oracle Cloud ERP, ERP, CX, HCM, EPM and Analytics across all factories in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and China. Beyonics implemented end to end ERP and supply chain management solution spanning product development, supply chain planning, manufacturing, quality, sales forecasting and opportunity management, order management and customer delivery, regular and hub inventory management, procurement, financials, human capital management, incentive compensation, enterprise performance management (EPM) and Analytics. EPM is used for enterprise planning & budgeting, and overall Financial Consolidation. Analytics cloud is used as Management Reporting platform. Oracle Cloud provided a complete platform with additional modules that provide the automated consolidation and workflow automated that eliminated the need for duplicated data entry and procedures in/with 3rd party software and inhouse applications. Oracle provided required dashboards, reports and analytics that support business activities and decisions. Oracle provided an ability to produce detailed costing by part number for enhanced visibility for customer/project profitability.  “Beyonics’s vision is to transform into a business entity that’s growth-driven based on real-time knowledge of the financial, operational and competitive positions. Oracle ERP Cloud is definitely a part of digital transformation and Industry 4.0 adoption”, said Robert Heese, CFO of Beyonics.           “Team from Oracle Consulting has gone to great length to ensure that the project is closely managed to its completion and is committed to the support of our users and operations. Fusion is a complex ERP (to say the least) in terms of processes and workflows migrations. The pre, actual and post Go-Live on-site support are crucial for successful cutover and migration. The on-site hypercare is equally crucial, as it build ‘faith’ in the system, ‘trust’ in OC’s support and ‘relationship’ between keyusers and OC. For Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand, their Go-Live is well before Covid-19. So transiting to remote support and service delivery is not an issue as trust and relationship had been established earlier.  For China, planning and transiting from on-site Go-Live support and hypercare was done fairly quickly and efficient. However, Go-Live and post-live hypercare remote support was not, and never as effective as on-site and hence unable to achieve the desired results.  Of course, the Spring Festival Golden Week holidays and subsequent lock-down in China also contributed to, and exacerbated the support situation. It’s the perseverance of all parties, from Beyonics China team, Singapore IT/MIS and Oracle Consulting team, that took us over the hurdles and challenges.”, said David Tay, CIO of Beyonics.  

Beyonics has completed a major Business transformation program with Oracle Consulting to migrate to Oracle Cloud ERP, ERP, CX, HCM, EPM and Analytics across all factories in Singapore,...

Future State

Oracle Consulting’s Supply Chain Management commercial propositions to match Oracle’s Cloud Ambition!

Author: Craig Coleman, Senior Principal Supply Chain Management (SCM) Consultant at Oracle Consulting in UK and Ireland. Dad to 3 children and a dog.   All Solution Packs Data Sheet available below: •    Manufacturing in a Box ERP Solution Pack Data Sheet Available Here •    Supply Chain in a Box ERP Solution Pack Data Sheet Available Here The challenge Oracle often talk of Fusion Cloud in terms such as rapid implementation, best practice and subscription, and I often look at the market and try to see what consulting propositions are available to match this ambition. Whilst I can identify organisations doing this within the traditional Financial space of Oracle ERP, including within Oracle Consulting where we have had packaged solutions for Finance and Human Capital Management (HCM) for some time now, this same approach does not appear evident within Supply Chain Management (SCM) and Manufacturing, certainly not with the same quality and transparency as its financial cousin. But why is Supply Chain and Manufacturing different? Having worked with Oracle Supply Chain and Manufacturing applications for 15 years now and having engaged with numerous clients on Oracle implementation projects, my experience is that every client believes they have a unique set of processes and that it is these unique processes that provide some kind of USP and value to their company, and actually in the manufacturing sector this is quite often true due to the varying products, and the manufacturing processes deployed to create these products that clients use to try and gain a market advantage. But it should also be recognised in numerous other cases the harsh reality is that it is not true at all and that it is these “special” processes that are likely to be causing far more damage than they are good to an organisation’s efficiency and ultimately profitability. So what can we do? Unlike traditional business software implementations, the Oracle True Cloud Methodology (TCM), which underpins our SCM and Manufacturing solution packs makes us engage with the concept that roughly 20% of business processes bring 80% of the value.   It makes us spend less time on the 80% of the processes that are generally delivered “Out-Of-The-Box”.  Building on this, Oracle Consulting’s “Solution Pack” concept is that this 80% should be standardised based on Oracle Modern Best Practice, and as such these processes should come truly “Out of the Box” i.e. we can deliver a templated configuration of the software, taking learning from the vast number of implementations that we have delivered, and are delivering, successfully: Figure 1:  Time spent on a Solution Led Project Often not tackled effectively, it is even more vital to understand out of the 20% of processes that bring the most value to a company, which of those processes are truly unique and need to remain unique vs. taking modern and standardised Best Practice processes.   This is where Consulting delivers true value.  We ask and where possible measure against legacy processes:  •    Which new Oracle software processes may be more effective? •    Which processes may be more efficient?   •    Now consider whether the processes which truly are unique and bespoke should in fact be shoe-horned into an ERP system at all? •    Consider whether they be better placed and will ultimately add the most value sitting on an integrated platform designed specifically for dealing with be-spoke/unique requirements? This approach enables you to achieve the maximum value from your ERP system by preventing it from being shackled with unnecessary process requirements that move it away from Best Practice, make it difficult to maintain, and confuse your ERP roadmap.  In addition, our approach allows you to spend your time and resources on processes or functions that truly drive additional value to your business whether they live inside or outside the ERP platform.   So how can we achieve it? Oracle offer a selection of Supply Chain and Manufacturing Solution Packs specifically designed for Rapid deployment of Best Practice end-to-end processes, all underpinned by Oracle’s TCM and its accelerators. Using this approach, we can quickly provide a solid and fully integrated software footprint for Supply Chain, Manufacturing and Core Financials, allowing you to take advantage of the efficiencies that Fusion Cloud offers and then continue to quickly add further value and enrich functionality post your initial deployment; either on the Fusion platform or by taking advantage of a plethora of other Oracle products and Oracle Consulting services that we have can offer e.g. PaaS for SaaS (Platform as a Service for Software as a Service). Figure 2:  How the Solution Pack approach, based TCM, works This approach also most importantly allows customers to concentrate their time and resources on driving value into their business by concentrating on those processes that give them the most value and a competitive edge. Who are the solution packs suitable for? The solution packs themselves are aimed at small to medium size customers, or customers who want to take their first steps into the Cloud e.g. a Proof of Concept or deployment for a specific division.  They are extremely transparent in relation to price, timeline and scope and because of this they are all very competitively priced and supported by exciting commercial options allowing customers to spread the cost of implementation if desired. Next Steps? We are working on new, efficient consulting delivery methods that provide professional experienced support to our customers and we would love to work with you.  Take your time to review the Supply Chain and Manufacturing Solution Packs that are currently referenced in this article and please contact myself Craig Coleman if you are interested in hearing more, and would like to work with the only Oracle implementation partner that can offer you a true single supplier approach for both license and implementation.  

Author: Craig Coleman, Senior Principal Supply Chain Management (SCM) Consultant at Oracle Consulting in UK and Ireland. Dad to 3 children and a dog.   All Solution Packs Data Sheet available below:•   ...


Oracle Earns Top Marks with Financial Planning Solution for Higher Education Organisations

Business challenges in the field of Higher Education are uniquely difficult, especially when it comes to long-range planning, and Oracle’s Higher Education Financial Planning (HEFP) solution provides some much-needed help. The solution’s integrated planning framework enables higher education organisations to: Streamline their planning and reporting processes Increase forecasting accuracy Fully integrate with Financial ERP systems Adopt best practice approaches to financial planning. The HEFP solution, delivered using Oracle EPM Planning Cloud, was developed over the course of several successful implementation engagements at higher education organisations in the UK, including the University of Durham, University of Derby and Birmingham City University. The solution supports a typical higher education planning process, as shown below: The solution also provides outputs based on UK educational reporting frameworks: HEFCE, HESA and TRAC. A two-flavour solution HEFP comes in two versions, entry-level and advanced-level. For purposes of both planning and reporting, the entry-level option offers a Financial Planning process that delivers an integrated income statement, balance sheet and cashflow readout, as well as a Student Fees Planning process that delivers expected student numbers, retention rates, and fees by course and country. This version is also integrated with Oracle Financials General Ledger (GL), which enables to the user to load actual data, drill down to detail, and upload budgets and forecasts created in the solution back to the GL. There is also an option to integrate the Student Fees Planning process with student fee management systems. The entry-level solution can be delivered within a 3 to 4-month timeframe. The advanced-level brings added functionalities, including: a Workforce Planning process for calculating headcount, FTE, compensation costs and pension liabilities; a Projects Planning process that delivers planning capability for research, investment and  development projects; and a Capital Plan process that enables planning for existing and new asset bases. All of these functionalities are integrated within the Financial Planning Process. The advanced-level option also features integration with Oracle HCM to support the Workforce Planning process alongside entry-level integrations. The Advanced-level solution is priced on request. Do you want to find out more about how Oracle Consulting can power your next generation cloud Aplication? Get in touch with us. Neal Ship EPM Consulting Practice Director, Oracle UKIE neal.ship@oracle.com Chris Torrence Consulting Client Solution Executive, Oracle UKIE - chris.torrence@oracle.com

Business challenges in the field of Higher Education are uniquely difficult, especially when it comes to long-range planning, and Oracle’s Higher Education Financial Planning (HEFP) solution provides...

Breakthrough Starts Here: OOWLON 2020 Rundown

Oracle OpenWorld Europe has just taken place and the buzz from the event is far from over. The two-day event held at the ExCeL London was filled with customer speaking sessions, insightful keynotes and engaging product demos. The first day of the event focused on Applications while the second day focused on Technology.  Oracle Consulting had their very own stand referred to as ‘The Consulting Hub’. At the stand attendees were able to speak to our fantastic consultants about how they can transform their business and make sure they have a successful journey to the Cloud. Alongside this, the Digital Experience team held an interactive E-Voting demo showcasing Oracle Blockchain technology. Attendees were able to vote on their favourite session of the day through their smartphone and a unique QR code.  The event held great keynotes throughout the two days which included sessions from Oracle’s CEO Safra Catz, SVP of Corporate Communications Steve Daheb, Astronaut Tim Peake and author, television host and comedian Dara Ó Briain. A few of our very own customers joined us at the event to speak about their positive experience with Oracle Consulting and their journey to Oracle Cloud. These customers were Nationwide, Tindall Riley and the Guinness Partnership.    Make sure to watch this video to gain an insight into the exciting events that went down at Oracle OpenWorld Europe 2020. OOWLON definitely had a little bit of everything for everyone. We look forward to seeing you at Oracle OpenWorld London 2021! 

Oracle OpenWorld Europe has just taken place and the buzz from the event is far from over. The two-day event held at the ExCeL London was filled with customer speaking sessions, insightful keynotes...

Future State

Product Content Strategy: A Theoretical Approach

To read the full publication please CLICK HERE. Author: Michael Harris, Principal Consultant, UK To keep ahead of the competition, businesses need to ensure they provide consumers with the best possible user experience. The digital era and internet provide companies with opportunities and platforms that give consumers the ability to experience products in non-tangible ways. The benefits of ensuring a positive user experience are great, and reducing the amount of pain points a consumer experiences are a necessity.  Understanding the customer decision-making process means that businesses can minimise the risk of negatively impacting the customer, which could affect conversion and engagement. By comprehending possible motivations, a business can manage its cognitive and experiential signals to engage with customers in the most efficient ways possible.  Engagement through an understanding of the customer decision-making process gives a business the opportunity, firstly, to satisfy the customer through positive interaction and, secondly, to build trust and brand loyalty that can result in repeat traffic and formed relationships. Customers use these relationships to fulfil parts of their lives, and once a relationship has been created it can be very beneficial for a business. Businesses can use these relationships to improve interactivity and customer satisfaction and improve the overall user experience. Understanding the focal points of customer experience, customer decision making, motivations, content design and engagement helps us to comprehend the importance of product content and its design in relation to various platforms, executions and customers. These areas are also important for understanding external factors that can negatively or positively influence engagement of product content. To read further, please CLICK HERE.   If you have any questions or would like to find out more, please get in touch with michael.mh.harris@oracle.com

To read the full publication please CLICK HERE. Author: Michael Harris, Principal Consultant, UK To keep ahead of the competition, businesses need to ensure they provide consumers with the best...

Future State

Soar to Cloud with Disaster Recovery

Using Oracle Gen 2 Cloud Infrastructure as Your Disaster Recovery Solution Many companies are tired of being in the “data center business.” The capital investment is high and the technology refresh cycle has a predictably high recurrence of these expenses. In addition, there is a need for a Disaster Recovery (DR) site: an additional physical data center generally located in a different geography existing only as an insurance policy for those “just in case” disaster scenarios. While it’s clearly a worthwhile investment made to ensure business continuity, at times, this can nearly double data center costs and exists only for an event that everyone hopes never happens.   We’re hosting a webinar to talk more about how Oracle can support your disaster recovery plan and explain the strategic approaches and best practices for moving your disaster recovery (DR) to Cloud.  Join us on December 10th at 10am PT. An on-demand replay will also be available. Register Here To make management of extra data centers easier and the data refresh quicker, many companies have their backup center in close physical proximity, connected by fiber optic cabling for speed of data transfer. Of course, this also incorporates an implied DR plan where a tornado would be required to make a hard turn between the two data centers to avoid both primary and secondary catastrophes from occurring simultaneously. There are several alternatives to these potential scenarios. But only a cloud solution charges you just for what you need. There is only one cloud optimized for Oracle workloads: Oracle’s Gen 2 Cloud Infrastructure. Technical best practices for cloud usage supports many DR strategies and approaches ranging from Cold backups to Warm and Hot sites. Cold: Where applications and databases are backed up offline  and inaccessible for update Warm: Where applications and databases  are  replicated to a secondary site running in the  background, and backed up at a point in time Hot: Where both applications and data are live and accessible at one or multiple sites, and backups are dynamic Each of these can be accommodated and each have pros and cons. As a strategy, placement of DR in the cloud can be a good step toward moving production there.   Oracle Consulting provides cloud strategy services to help you establish your roadmaps and determine your return on investment, accelerating your positive cash flow to ensure your business success. We can help with the following: DR strategy and roadmap Oracle Soar automated migration platform services to rapidly and efficiently migrate your databases, VMs, and applications to your Oracle Cloud Infrastructure subscription Support for your testing and verification processes Configuring and enabling your integrations between your on-prem and cloud environments Providing you with “Day 2” services to keep your application binaries in sync Join us for our Disaster Recovery Soars on Oracle Cloud webinar and get started on your disaster recovery plans Register Here Contact us at email: soar-migrations_us@oracle.com This article was co-authored by Barb Cross, Cloud Migration Services Architect, Oracle Consulting

Using Oracle Gen 2 Cloud Infrastructure as Your Disaster Recovery Solution Many companies are tired of being in the “data center business.” The capital investment is high and the technology refresh...

Future State

Cultivating Cloud Culture: How to Unlock True Innovation

I’ve been in the cloud game for over 15 years—since before it was cool—which means I’ve watched from a front-row seat as cloud completely changed the game for business and IT leaders. Today, as even the biggest enterprises are sunsetting their legacy, on-premises systems and embracing the cloud, the work we do as consultants is more important than ever.  After all, a cloud solution can only deliver on its full potential when business processes and organizational culture are fully aligned to it.  Here at Oracle Consulting, we see our organization as the bridge between the technology and the customer. It’s our mission to blend delivery and execution with human-centered, cultural transformation.  Cloud is a culture shift, first and foremost. Get your culture right, and you can make cloud soar. But how do you shift your culture? And, why is that important? To help bring clarity to these nuanced conversations around culture, we adhere to eight attributes that we firmly believe are at the heart of every highly functioning “Cloudy” Culture.  Of course, each trait serves a vital role, but today I’d like to explain why empowerment is the silver bullet for cloud success. When we engage with clients, one of our imperative goals is to cultivate an environment in the cloud where people feel capable and confident to make decisions at the pace of innovation, based on a well-defined set of criteria. Empowerment, done right, signifies a team of confident professionals who are aligned around a vision.  But how do you know if your workplace culture lacks empowerment?  Do you ever find yourself fielding questions that anyone could figure out on their own? Would your team describe the way we do things as an iterative, flexible process or simply the path of least resistance?  Is it hard to recall the last time someone approached you, unprompted, with a bold new idea or an outside-the-box solution to a problem that’s been plaguing your organization? Do people tend to keep their heads down and stay in their lanes until a moment of crisis snaps them out of it? And then what happens? Is there a spirit of collaborative ownership or do you see a lot of buck passing and us versus them language?  These are the signs of a disempowered workplace. Let me be clear: a top-down, command-and-control organization can be effective in many scenarios. That said, I can tell you from firsthand experience that attempting any transformation as wide reaching as a cloud implementation without an empowered team can have a domino effect that derails the entire project. Lack of empowerment impedes decision making, discourages innovation, and creates finger pointing situations—all of which slow the pace of the implementation—costing time and money, and creating a negative, frustrating experience. Empowerment is the end result of doing things the right way Everyone knows their roles and responsibilities, and there’s mutually understood organizational clarity around the competencies needed to get to the end state.  Decisions are made on a timely basis through empowered leaders at every level—not just at the top. Innovation is woven into the fabric of your team, so people feel safe and supported to bring new ways of thinking to the table. Transparency bolsters that sense of communal purpose, and measurements are used along the way to keep the team on track.  It creates a positive, invigorating experience because everyone is equally invested in and empowered to deliver on the shared vision.  Embracing change, developing cloud-confidence A move to the cloud is an opportunity for businesses to embrace iterative and agile processes. I’ll be honest, this is a learning curve for most organizations. And, we’ve found that sometimes the larger the organization, the more dramatic (and sometimes uncomfortable) this learning curve can feel.  To help our clients gain confidence in this new way of working, we help lead them through change—teaching, advising, and executing on quick wins to gain confidence. We draw on the knowledge of why things were done in the past, and align on how they will be done in the future, to realize their desired business outcomes. Empowerment is the key to cultivating a cloudy culture When people trust their decision-making capabilities, they’re more likely to promote transparency and collaboration between lines of business. This streamlines processes and bolsters versatility as people learn to shift roles across teams. All of these behaviors foster the ideal environment for a cloudy culture, which fuels innovation and leads to greater acceleration.  That’s why I tell my clients: If you're going to over-index on any one attribute of a cloudy culture, it should be empowerment. Any resource dedicated to building confidence is a worthy investment because empowered people move mountains.  Is your culture cloud-ready?  Take our Cloud Readiness Assessment and let me know what you think in the comments. 

I’ve been in the cloud game for over 15 years—since before it was cool—which means I’ve watched from a front-row seat as cloud completely changed the game for business and IT leaders. Today, as even...

Soar to Cloud - An Overview

AUTHORS: Dawn Austin, Senior Director, Cloud Migration, Oracle Consulting Ross Emerton, Senior Director, Cloud Migration, Oracle Consulting According to Cowen/Altman Vilandrie & Co 2018 Cloud Survey, over 50% of businesses expect to migrate non-cloud workloads to the cloud within two years. Each company’s reasons for moving to the cloud are different and include some or all of the below drivers: Cost reduction – according to Forrester Research, 75% of today’s IT budget is spent on maintenance. Companies with aging hardware are assessing the business value of operating expense model vs. a large capital investment. Innovate to differentiate and compete – MIT Sloan Review reports that 79% of business fears disruption from upstarts and Constellation Research says that 75% of companies admit innovation is stifled by integration issues. Reduce risk – 91% of customers responding to Health IT Outcomes survey have experienced unplanned outages. Mitigate lack of talent – 30% of smaller enterprises and a quarter of larger enterprises complained about a lack of available talent to do cloud migrations based on an IDC Survey Spotlight report.   In a cloud migration, it is imperative to simultaneously operate in a new paradigm while continuing to embrace the "business as usual” operating model. Oracle Consulting has designed the Soar Cloud migration offering for IaaS and PaaS, a rapid like-for-like migration approach to help our customers shift databases and applications to the Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) based on the business outcomes they are trying to achieve. Our proprietary platform leverages automation and accelerators to migrate both Oracle and non-Oracle workloads, delivering powerful results for the modern organization’s journey to the Cloud.  Oracle’s processes and tooling are based on decades of experience consolidated into “best practices” and captured into a proprietary platform with automation and analytics. Our Cloud Certified delivery teams and tight alignment with product teams uniquely position Oracle Consulting to be the ‘how” behind your business transformation. Our approach for Cloud migration has three steps – Analyzing, Planning, and Migrating. Project management spans the project lifecycle to establish defined goals and objectives with a single governance model. ANALYZING As part the of analysis phase, we review and analyze source workloads. There is tremendous flexibility in terms of migration methods supported including ExaData, Bare Metal instances, virtual machines, non-container to container database migration, 10g to 19c migration, and other permutations to meet your business needs. Our workload analysis allows us to quickly identify the right migration approach. Tooling provides the transparency to view the entire database and application estate and determine workloads with similar characteristics that should be grouped for migration.  PLANNING During estate planning, Oracle Consulting reviews capacity, identifies opportunities for consolidation, and creates consolidation rules. This helps us plan the appropriate target architecture, capacity pools, and load hardware. Once we have the picture of source and target, we conduct a project impact analysis and calculate target resources. Finally, we present the results of analysis and planning in a workshop, working with you to build an overall migration schedule and wave plan based on business priorities and constraints.  Together we identify any issues and refine our estate analysis and planning approach. MIGRATING After we complete our final review of the analysis and planning deliverables with you, the Soar platform conducts an automated capacity review, then verifies the security requirements and considerations before the migration begins. Our provisioning engine builds the target infrastructure based on consolidation rules and Oracle’s architecture standards and best practices. Then migration proceeds in three stages with real-time migration insights visible throughout execution: Migration Readiness: A process that verifies the source to target connectivity, security considerations, etc. Migration: The actual migration of databases or applications from source to target environment at the click of a button. Post Migration: validate the migration on target environment and provide support for production environments   Value of Migrating to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) Enables continuous innovation: once aligned with Oracle products and Cloud-enabled, your business is positioned to take advantage of continuous platform improvement for the modern business needs e.g. chatbot, analytics, and autonomous enterprise. New innovation is introduced every 90 days. Reduces security vulnerabilities: security vulnerabilities can put technical assets at risk and many businesses lack the capacity to address security given today’s constraints on IT talent. OCI provides a modern, secure architecture. Minimizes change impact: since Soar migrations are like for like and do not modify applications, there is minimal impact to business users when compared with a direct to SaaS model. The Oracle Consulting Difference Payment based on outcomes with no up-front costs: Soar fixed price offerings based on number of databases or application lifecycle environments makes pricing predictable. Customers pay for migration services at completion of successful migrations. There is no up-front cost. Improved accuracy: Automation and repeatable processes facilitate an accelerated move to Oracle’s Cloud Infrastructure in a predictable manner, reducing error associated with manual approaches.   Inline upgrade to OCI compliant database: Modernize with your upgrade to the Cloud by including a  database upgrade with your migration to achieve OCI compatibility.  Complete transparency: “what you see is what we see.” Tight alignment with product teams: One Oracle expedites resolution of any product issues reducing time to migrate and ensures post-migration success. Cloud Certified Consultants: knowledge of Cloud technology and Oracle products helps design your target infrastructure in a way that is high-performing, secure, and cost effective. If you want to learn more about Soar, you can reach out to soar-migrations_us@oracle.com. Join us at OpenWorld for the Oracle Soar sessions.  

AUTHORS: Dawn Austin, Senior Director, Cloud Migration, Oracle Consulting Ross Emerton, Senior Director, Cloud Migration, Oracle Consulting According to Cowen/Altman Vilandrie & Co 2018 Cloud Survey,...

Discover Autonomous: The Making of Oracle Consulting's Augmented Reality Experience at OpenWorld

AUTHOR: Dave Imperiale, North America Communications and Marketing, Oracle Consulting Kurt Bringsjord and David Tester joined Oracle as associate consultants in Oracle’s Austin, Texas Innovation Hub in June 2018 – their first jobs out of college. At a functional level their roles were straightforward: help Oracle customers with post sale implementations and configurations of IaaS and PaaS solutions. Little did they know, 18 months later, the majority of their time in the Hub would be spent working on innovative projects for Oracle and their customers. Nor could they have known that a quick text message would give them an early, career-defining opportunity to develop an augmented reality gaming experience that would be debuted at Oracle OpenWorld 2019 in front of thousands of customers. No pressure. The text was from Aaron Millstone, senior vice president, North America Cloud Consulting, to Beth Legate, who leads the Consulting “Hubsters” at the 10,000-person, state-of-the-art complex in Austin.  “See if you can get some of the hubsters to build a cool demo on ADW [Autonomous Data Warehouse] for [Oracle] OpenWorld.” Based on the creativity and ingenuity Bringsjord and Tester demonstrated on customer projects, Legate decided to offer them an opportunity. They ran with it. And they ran fast. In just 90 days, they designed Discover Autonomous: Augmented Real Estate, an experience which lets people fly through the cityscapes of San Francisco, NYC, and Austin to check real estate sales and rental pricing with real-time data, powered by the Oracle Autonomous Data Warehouse. “We knew this would be a big data visualization project powered by ADW. Once we designed everything we set up our instance with 90 tables and 10,000 pieces of open source real estate data going back 30 years in each of the three cities…locations, rental and sale prices, price per square foot, etc. We loaded San Fran first, and were able to automatically scale for Austin and NYC,” said Bringsjord. Tester added: “We are not DBAs. We had never touched any of this technology three months prior to completion, including ADW. Now all of the data is updated and all of the tasks are performed autonomously.” They’re being a tad modest. Despite never having used any of the following hardware or software before, here’s what they accomplished in those 90 days: Went through the discovery and ideation process on what to build to showcase Autonomous Data Warehouse at Oracle OpenWorld. Built a custom, desktop computer with graphic cards. They went out and bought all of the components themselves—they couldn’t do what they needed to do on their corporate-issued laptops. Chose to use Magic Leap AR Headsets after appropriate due diligence, and then became approved creators by that company. Implemented, learned, and used the Unity game engine to build 3-D models, game logic, and design the experience. Became certified on Autonomous Data Warehouse. What’s next for these guys? Tester says: “I’ll be getting back to the Hub right after OpenWorld. I still spend half of my time with customers on implementing their Cloud solutions, surrounded by our diverse group of peers who have expertise in just about every technology skill set you can imagine.” David and Kurt are both looking forward to their first Oracle OpenWorld, where they will be stationed front and center showcasing their Augmented Reality experiences at the Oracle Consulting Lounge on the 3rd floor of Moscone West in San Francisco. Experiences. Plural. Apparently, they didn’t think the real estate demo was enough…so they also built an interactive Autonomous Database game to educate customers on the platform. All attendees are welcome to come by, check out these unique experiences, and meet these guys in person.

AUTHOR: Dave Imperiale, North America Communications and Marketing, Oracle Consulting Kurt Bringsjord and David Tester joined Oracle as associate consultants in Oracle’s Austin, Texas Innovation Hub in...

Future State

When it comes to send times, there’s no ‘one size fits all’ solution

Author : Simon Johnston | Strategic Consultant, Oracle Marketing Cloud Email has evolved significantly from the early days of ‘blast and go’. Dynamic content allows us to personalise with ease: we can trigger real-time emails based on site actions, whilst multi-variant testing allows us to optimise like never before. But has the way that we choose our send times really changed that much? We’re not referring here to triggered email campaigns like ‘abandon carts’ but to high-volume promotional campaigns, often called Business as Usual (BAU) emails. These are the emails which, like it or not, bring in the majority of email-generated revenue for retailers. They are typically scheduled to go at times the marketer determines, rather than by reacting to a customer interaction.   Timing affects placement The email inbox is a pretty busy place. There are promotional emails fighting for attention against social notifications, family messages and the occasional bit of spam which slips past the watchful eyes of the Internet Service Provider’s (ISP) inbox filter. Inboxes saw an 18% increase in email volume between 2016 and 2017. As a marketer you want to get your message seen. Sending at 9:00 a.m. may work just fine for some of your subscriber base, but there may be others who are still asleep (shift workers for example), and by the time they check their phone at lunchtime your email will be buried. This burying effect can be seen in the ‘unique open’ rate decline immediately after sending an email. The below example from a leading retailer shows how opens are distributed from the time emails are sent. 28% of all unique opens occur within the first hour 70% of all opens occur within the first 8 hours 83% of all opened emails are opened within 24 hours      Defining ‘best’ In my first week at Oracle I remember asking a colleague what was typically the best time to send a B2C email. I had seen a few studies online and wanted to get the benefit of his wisdom on this topic. Instead of replying “Tuesday at 10 a.m.” or “Friday at lunchtime” he simply asked: “Best for what?” He was right. This is a crucial question you need to ask yourself as a marketer. What are you aiming to achieve by segmenting your send time? Are you looking for the best time to minimise unsubscribes? The best time to generate incremental website traffic? The best time to improve open or click-through rates? Or the best time for lifting page views? Not all of these considerations are in exact alignment.  However, the further down the funnel you go the harder it is to optimise with clear winners, which is why most marketers tend to optimise for top-of-funnel actions like unique opens or click activity. It is recommended that you consider the impact of your activity outside of the email channel, and also to study your web analytics reporting as a whole to understand the real impact of your tests.   Approaches to determining send time Optimising your send time is the oft-ignored ‘4th element’ of segmentation. You’ve got the right targeting (Who), the right personalisation (What), the right channel (Where), and now you want the right time (When). In our experience there are three broad approaches marketers can take to determine send time: 1. Basic batch The entire batch of emails is sent at the same time, and the send time is usually determined based upon assumptions or convenience. An assumption-based approach might be that the audience are working professionals: therefore, emailing during peak commuting time is unwise, so instead we send at lunchtime. A convenience-based approach usually centres on sending at a set time based on established practice: “That’s what we’ve always done.”  A brand typically defines a common-sense blackout period during which they definitely do not want to send, for example between midnight and 5 a.m. This is mostly to avoid fury from subscribers woken up by a notification (if they have sound enabled). More sophisticated marketers will use their web analytics to identify peaks and troughs in the daily traffic pattern, and use those to decide whether to send when activity is high (to add to already piqued interest) or when activity is naturally low (to try and drive incremental visits). Good: Marketer convenience. The recipient can anticipate receiving messages at a certain time. Bad: Will not suit every subscriber on a list. Might be the best time for a particular campaign, but not for the individual. 2. Batch-delivery testing Using the Responsys Program or Eloqua Campaign Canvas, marketers can split their audience and route them in batches to multiple send times. You start by defining a ‘no send’ period and then test everything outside of that. With large-enough audiences this could be each of the hours, or you might wish to target smaller audiences initially to identify a larger four-hour window which delivers best results before refining. Good: Specific to your audience. Bad: Iterative testing takes time, but is still a ‘one size fits all’ campaign-level optimisation.  3. Algorithmic send-time optimisation (STO) Both of the above approaches are campaign-level time optimisation. They aim to answer the question: “When is the best time to send my campaign to my entire audience?” The other approach is subscriber-level time optimisation” “When is the best time to send this campaign to an individual?” Subscriber-level solutions typically run historic engagement data through an algorithmic model to calculate the best time for an individual subscriber to be sent an email. In Oracle’s STO model all subscribers who have past behavioural data are run through a proprietary algorithm and assigned to 1 of 24 segments representing the hours of the day. For those with no values, a default send time can be chosen in the program settings. A data table holds the ideal time values for each subscriber by day, and these are referenced by an STO timer in the Responsys Program. This avoids the need to have 24 branches routing to each hour, keeping program designs clean and efficient. There is also the option to use the STO functionality for serving multiple time zones. If you have a global sales event launching at 9:00 a.m. across several countries, you can manually upload a time-value equivalent to 9:00 a.m. in the Accounts Time Zone setting to the STO table and then launch through Program. The STO node in Responsys is free to use either with your own Send Time Algorithm (if you have a data science team who can process this data) or with Oracle’s tried and tested model (which is an additional license option). Good: Automated, subscriber level. Based on actual behaviour. Can aid in deliverability. Bad: Does not suit every type of campaign you may want to send. Which should you choose? For marketers sending at scale on a regular basis it makes sense to think seriously about investing in an algorithmic subscriber-level solution. We have typically seen between 6% to 10% lifts in unique open rates for clients with STO, and some seeing lifts as high as 30%. Uplifts in unique open rates bring with it lifts in unique click-through rates, and that waterfall effect can be felt all the way down the funnel to conversion. “The Oracle Responsys Send-Time Optimisation solution is driving at least a 10% increase in response rates every time we’ve tested it, and as high as 30% increases.” -VP of Marketing at a large omni-channel department store retailer   Is STO the best solution for every campaign? Not always. Certain campaigns are time-critical: a 6-hour flash sale, for example, would not be a suitable campaign for using STO. Consider your sending window and ask if the last recipient has enough time to respond and whether or not it’s fair to recipients.  Many customers work with Oracle Marketing Cloud Professional Services teams to answer these questions, so why not get in touch today to see how you can benefit?   For more details on Oracle Marketing Cloud, Click here & if you would like to get in touch with us, visit us here       About the author: Simon has worked with the Oracle Strategic Services team for the last 5 years, supporting retailers with CRM initiatives covering acquisition, conversion and retention.

Author : Simon Johnston | Strategic Consultant, Oracle Marketing Cloud Email has evolved significantly from the early days of ‘blast and go’. Dynamic content allows us to personalise with ease: we...

Oracle Cloud Consulting Advisory: HOW Do You Get to Cloud?

  AUTHORS: Mike Owens, Group Vice President of Oracle Cloud Advisory Rob Rowello, Vice President of Oracle Cloud Advisory IT organizations today are at a crossroads. Most enterprise CIOs have already begun their journey to the cloud over the past decade by moving non-mission critical applications such as custom development, CRM, HCM, email, desktop apps, file sharing, and collaboration. What remains are the “toughest nuts to crack:” applications that are highly customized and drive your mission-critical workloads. The operational benefits of migrating these often-complex workloads are well understood—increased agility, elasticity, and innovation, along with reductions in capital and operating expenses. However, the journey to the cloud for these workloads is not a clear one, and there are many paths to consider before you embark. Oracle Consulting works closely with our clients to identify the right path. In most cases, our clients operate in hybrid environments and will end up having workloads distributed across IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS. Our primary objective is to work with you to assess your current application landscape and identify the right “roadmap” for your journey that minimizes risk and accelerates time to value—without disrupting your day-to-day business. Managing and maintaining a cloud service requires a different way of working. Your culture has to be ready for the move. Our most successful clients possess the following attributes: Strong sponsorship from business owners to drive innovation and maintain focus on results Governance from both IT and lines of business to encourage speedy and collaborative decision-making Focus on building internal capabilities to support new operating models An environment that avoids complex processes and supports change Agile approach to delivery of releases, which facilitates a repeating cycle of innovation Optimal use of self-service support tools and resources Oracle Consulting has a proven and straightforward methodology to enable your journey to the cloud…quickly. We begin by refining your cloud strategy, with a specific focus on how Oracle’s Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) and PaaS services can best enable your workloads. We see that most companies have and will continue to have a multi-cloud strategy. Our approach determines how to work within your environment. This includes leveraging Oracle’s recent cloud interoperability announcement with the Microsoft Azure cloud service. Next, we examine your current IT operating model to determine your “Cloud Readiness.”  And finally, we use these inputs to develop a change impact assessment and a customized transformation roadmap to the cloud.   We have a dedicated team of industry-leading architects, developers, and data migration specialists to assist in executing this roadmap. Oracle Consulting leverages our proven migration accelerator called “Soar” to move workloads to the Oracle Cloud. We leverage our automation and direct relationships with Oracle Product Management to help migrate Oracle and non-Oracle databases and applications. Our Soar approach and engagement is focused on your outcomes. Our migrations are executed with a fixed price AND we don’t bill the customer until the migration is complete. This is our “Customer Business Outcomes” approach—a clear commitment to customer success.   Are you and your organization at the crossroads in your cloud journey? Oracle Cloud Advisory can help your organization with a clear roadmap, supported by our migration and cloud services capabilities to deliver the value where and when you need it. How do you start? Contact our members of the Cloud Advisory (na-cloud-advisory_us@oracle.com) team and let us help map your journey. And check out our Oracle OpenWorld session How to Build an Effective Cloud Strategy on Monday, September 16th from 2:45pm to 3:30pm in Moscone West, 3007B.  

  AUTHORS: Mike Owens, Group Vice President of Oracle Cloud Advisory Rob Rowello, Vice President of Oracle Cloud Advisory IT organizations today are at a crossroads. Most enterprise CIOs have already...

From Grad to Great: UKIE Consulting Graduate Programme Shaping the Future

Author: Ana Perez, Senior Director, Oracle UKIE Consulting The last few years has seen the huge changes in the Technology world and tremendous growth of Cloud business. The Oracle Consulting Graduate Scheme, which has been extremely successful, aims to train and develop the next generation of Oracle Consultants to support the growth of the business and help us to keep up with the increased demand. The scheme consists in a 2-year programme which involves activities to create a highly engaged graduate community that promotes career development. Recent graduates join from universities from all over the UK to join one of our practices which include Applications, Technology, Business Development and project management.   ‘We believe that the best way to learn is by doing. So our graduates join projects and customer work after a short training period. They are able to add value from day one. We continue to support their development with a mix of classroom and on the job training. Our training programme focusses both on the technical and the soft skills required to become a successful Consultant’  Ana Perez, Senior Director, Oracle UKIE Consulting   The graduate programme is always seeking for the next future consultant, whether it is in Apps or Tech. If you are or know a recent graduate aspiring a career in tech who is enthusiastic, motivated and highly passionate about being in an interactive environment.   Please get in touch with ana.perez@oracle.com.

Author: Ana Perez, Senior Director, Oracle UKIE Consulting The last few years has seen the huge changes in the Technology world and tremendous growth of Cloud business. The Oracle Consulting Graduate...

Future State

Accelerate your journey to the Cloud with Oracle Soar

Unlock the power of the Cloud for your ERP, HCM and EPM needs with Oracle’s innovative Cloud Upgrade service.   Oracle Consulting uses the power of innovation to deliver an automated route to the Cloud for our existing On-Premises customers, with our confidence in success built-in to ensure our customers unlock their value from Cloud as quickly as possible. We recognise that our customers have invested their trust in Oracle’s On-Premises applications to run their business, and our Soar Upgrade service deploys innovative tooling to extract the most value from this investment and then automate the tasks of moving to the Cloud.   At the same time, we combine this unique tooling with our unrivalled experience in Oracle Cloud go-lives to move our customers to standard features in the Cloud, simplifying their world and making it easier to benefit from regular Cloud updates after they are live. Our Soar Upgrade service includes packaged innovation that helps our customers to successfully adopt the Cloud for their organisation.  Innovation with a purpose, delivered as part of your Upgrade. All of this is underpinned by our confidence in success.  Our unique Soar Upgrade proposition offers a fixed price fee, with payment on success – a successful go live in the Oracle Cloud. Learn more about the Soar Upgrade here or contact your local Oracle Sales Representative to begin your accelerated journey to the Cloud.  

Unlock the power of the Cloud for your ERP, HCM and EPM needs with Oracle’s innovative Cloud Upgrade service.   Oracle Consulting uses the power of innovation to deliver an automated route to the Cloud...

Future State

Oracle Cloud Infrastructure breaking ground in the Utilities Sector in EMEA

Author: Bill Trapp, Consulting Enterprise Architect, Oracle UKIE Oracle set an ambitious goal in building its second-generation cloud infrastructure: to create an infrastructure that matches and surpasses the performance, control and governance of enterprise datacentres. Delivering the scale, elasticity, and cost-savings of public clouds when a UK utility company decided to modernise the hosting for their enterprise applications, the customer chose Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI).  The result, Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, is built from the ground up to be an Enterprise Cloud, equally capable of running traditional multi-tiered enterprise applications, high-performance workloads, and modern serverless and container-based architectures. This customer has requirements that perfectly line up with OCI’s capabilities as they have a large investment in mission critical applications including high performance requirements.  The perfect partner to help them realise their goals in leveraging the Cloud is Oracle Consulting.  OC provided a methodology that helped the customer migrate their applications reliably.  We worked with their application support teams to ensure the application teams had everything they needed for the complete recovery of the applications and especially the integrations that tie the applications together.     The customer used OC to help with migrations from non-Cloud hosting environments like AIX converting them to Linux, plus they had a large Windows estate.  OC migrated over 150 Oracle databases and were able to upgrade many of them eliminating technical debt that existed since their last datacentre migration five years ago.  Oracle Consulting’s True Cloud Method for Migrations provided a standardised repeatable model for the programme to follow ensuring successful application migrations while modernising their infrastructure and taking advantage of the new Cloud Native capabilities in OCI.  The price points for OCI offers substantial savings compared to their legacy hosting model and the use of automation and orchestration further cut cost out of the migration and endures to minimise costs for the target operating model for the future. Oracle Consulting can help you achieve substantial results by helping you move your application estate to the Oracle Cloud.   If you want to find out more please get in touch with our team now jim.muir@oracle.com – Consulting IaaS, PaaS & Integration Practice Leader, Oracle UKIE paul.crisp@oracle.com – Consulting Client Solution Director, Oracle UKIE

Author: Bill Trapp, Consulting Enterprise Architect, Oracle UKIE Oracle set an ambitious goal in building its second-generation cloud infrastructure: to create an infrastructure that matches...

LifeScan Ensures Successful Divestiture with Move to Cloud Implemented by Oracle Consulting

“We wanted ONE partner to provide the whole range of cloud services including infrastructure, platform, applications and professional services. We wanted simple and less complex…that's why we selected Oracle.” – Gilbert Torrance, IT Director, LifeScan, Inc. LifeScan, Inc., a diagnostic systems manufacturer with a blood glucose monitoring brand called OneTouch®, needed to move to cloud in a six-month timeframe in order to enable a divestiture from Johnson & Johnson (J&J) Company. This meant that all of their on-premises applications within J&J data centers needed to be externally hosted in the cloud in order for the divestiture to be successful. LifeScan turned to Oracle because they wanted one partner that could provide the entire lifecycle of cloud services including infrastructure, platform, applications and professional services. Oracle Consulting was selected as the implementation partner due to expert content knowledge on Oracle Cloud products, which provided confidence to LifeScan that the move to cloud would happen within the aggressive timeframe. Oracle Consulting was selected for two critical projects: Migration of JD Edwards ERP to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) by Oracle Consulting Technology Implementation Oracle Procurement Cloud and Financials Cloud by Oracle Consulting Applications “Oracle Consulting helped move the entire back office to the cloud freeing LifeScan to innovate as a standalone company.”  – Gilbert Torrance, IT Director, LifeScan, Inc. The Oracle Cloud platform with JD Edwards and Procurement Cloud will empower LifeScan to transform their business by freeing valuable resources to focus on the creation of innovative products and services that help save lives. To learn more about how Oracle Consulting can help you move to the cloud, please visit www.oracle.com/consulting.  Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Contact us at ask-oracleconsulting_us@oracle.com.

“We wanted ONEpartner to provide the whole range of cloud services including infrastructure, platform, applications and professional services. We wanted simple and less complex…that's why we...

Future State

Oracle Cloud Application Migration: Are You Ready to Soar?

This post was written by Mike Owens, Vice President, Cloud Advisory Practice, and Mary Melgaard, Group Vice President, Cloud Migration Services. Do you ever feel like you've been left behind in the on-premises world while everyone else has moved to the cloud? You want to move your applications to the cloud, but which of the many paths is the right one for you?   Moving Oracle Applications such as E-Business Suite, JD Edwards, PeopleSoft, Siebel, and Hyperion to the cloud can introduce a complex landscape of alternatives and choices. It's important to select a partner who has the vision, experience, tools, and commitment to help you create your cloud adoption and migration strategy, and guide your migration to its successful conclusion. Join Oracle Consulting for our May 7 webinar on cloud application migration, in which we explain our cloud adoption and strategy methodology: Vision, Frame, and Mobilize.  Vision Establish your vision: Gather and organize key data about applications, infrastructure, and IT costs. Establish your project and transformation governance plan, and conduct a visioning workshop to ensure alignment with stakeholders. What are your business and technology objectives for your Oracle Cloud migration? What are the underlying drivers for your success? Organize for transformation: Compile and analyze an application inventory subset, build the business case, and identify prototype applications to migrate. What are the common characteristics or unique business requirements for your application portfolio? Frame Frame your path forward: Based on the application subset that you identified, determine the appropriate cloud deployment model for your applications, addressing regulatory, legal, and privacy considerations. Given your requirements, will you need multiple cloud vendors, or can one provider fulfill most of your business and workload objectives? Mobilize Map your journey: Determine the activities and actions needed to drive the migration, validate the business case, and reconcile any conflicts. Is this a "move and improve" initiative that will create a new way of working by changing the look and feel of your applications? Or, is this a technical move that lifts workloads "as-is" from on-premises to the cloud with limited impact on the business users? Mobilize for the future: Orchestrate the final application modernization, migration, and transformation analysis. Sequence the initiatives, and incorporate in-flight and planned projects. Develop your cloud transformation roadmap. What internal and external resource commitments are required to successfully migrate, and how will you manage the organizational change? Does the subscription include services that reduce your internal staffing requirements, and how will you communicate and adapt to these changes? Soar After your strategy is in place, flawless execution is critical. A strategic approach coupled with a partner that automates cloud migration can help to simplify the process of moving your applications to cloud. Leveraging the Oracle Soar methodology, you can move Oracle and non-Oracle applications to the cloud rapidly and efficiently with near-zero downtime. Join Us Are you ready to choose a path for cloud application migration that is right for you? Are you ready to soar? Join our webinar on May 7 at 9 a.m. PT to: Identify best practices for your cloud migration strategy Understand the paths for moving applications to the cloud Learn from real-life customer examples for moving E-Business Suite, JD Edwards, and third-party applications to Oracle Cloud Understand how to leverage Oracle Soar to rapidly and efficiently move your applications to Oracle Cloud with near-zero downtime. Check out Oracle Infrastructure Blogs. To learn more about how Oracle Consulting can help you move to the cloud, please visit www.oracle.com/consulting/technology.  Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Contact us at ask-oracleconsulting_us@oracle.com.

This post was written by Mike Owens, Vice President, Cloud Advisory Practice, and Mary Melgaard, Group Vice President, Cloud Migration Services. Do you ever feel like you've been left behind in the...

The Art of Active Listening: 3 Questions with Josh Burch

None of us emerged from childhood without being told “you need to listen!” It’s one of the earliest messages that we receive in life—and it’s culturally universal. Listen to your parents. Listen to your teachers. Listen to your elders. Undoubtedly, some of us as children were better at it than others. If your parents still use family gatherings as a forum to gleefully recount your youthful disregard of their instructions, you’re not alone. But how good of a listener are you now? In the consulting business, there is no greater skill to possess. Winning our clients’ trust—and their business—requires us to not just hear what they say, but to demonstrate that we understand what they need. One of our Oracle Applications Consulting client partners, Josh Burch, consistently embodies the critical importance of active listening. We asked Josh to share his best practices for quickly earning the confidence of clients and colleagues through skillful listening and insightful responses. Q: What advice would you give to someone who asked you how to engage in an active listening process that earns the trust and confidence of clients and colleagues? A. First, make sure that you’re responding in the affirmative when someone is talking to you. Whether that’s a nod of the head, or verbally saying “I understand,” you’re relaying to them that you affirmatively hear them, and it instills confidence. I also happen to be a massive note-taker. Maybe that’s because I have a really bad memory, so I need to do it. But I just write notes. I jot them down. I make sure I revisit them. I type them back up. I archive them. I revisit them before the next meeting so that there’s continuity. You don't ever want a client to feel like they’re telling you something for the second time. You may think it’s a subtle thing, but it’s not lost on clients. It’s one of the biggest obstacles to success you can have. If a client has to repeat something, especially a central request, then you’re putting yourself at a clear disadvantage because you’re indicating that you’re just not getting it. A third critical component is not being afraid to literally say, “Let me make sure I heard you correctly. This is what you’re telling me.” Use those words and read your notes back to your client. If you got something wrong, edit your notes on the spot. If you got it right, then it’s written in stone, and it’ll hopefully live the life cycle of the project. Even if you repeat it back to them word by word, you’re indicating that you’re thinking about exactly what they told you. This sets you up to move into the advisory role. You may respond, “Okay. I fully agree with you. This is how we can move forward.” But it may be an opportunity to say, “Okay. I did hear you correctly. Have you thought about this instead?” If I hear something that I strongly feel is not in the client’s best interest, it’s appropriate—and necessary—to gracefully and elegantly present another solution or alternative. I’ve framed this in the context of client interactions, but all of these practices—affirmative responses, thorough note-taking, confirming what you’ve heard, and speaking up to suggest alternative solutions—apply to every business meeting. It’s important to be as buttoned-up in internal meetings as it is with clients, and I think we can overlook that too often. Q. Are you a student of body language in a face-to-face meeting? What steps do you take to “read the room”? A. I’m huge into that kind of observation, maybe to an extreme degree. My wife always laughs because I ask her after we go somewhere, “Did you see this? Did you see this person do that?” And she's like, “What are you talking about?”  When it comes to reading the room, the first step is understanding who the key stakeholders and decision-makers are. I generally take my cues from their demeanor. If they’re relaxed, and laid back, and start off with a joke or something lighthearted, it gives insight into what your approach should be. Some of the other people in the room may be more technical and regimented in what they want to talk about, and they want things well defined. That’s going to result in a much more formal and straightforward conversation.  You need to address them accordingly. Body language is a big part of that. You can pick up on cues by just looking across the table. How are they sitting? How are they responding? In short, be observant of the people who are running the meeting and mirror their tone and demeanor as much as possible. Q: Do you have any tips for reading a room when there isn't a room? What cues can you pick up on over the phone or in emails? A. With regards to email, people have different preferences that you can pick up on. Personally, I like bullets, and succinct, to-the-point, informational pieces as opposed to paragraph form. I think you can often interpret those preferences in an email thread—who needs things spelled out for them and who just wants bullet points—and provide it accordingly. Oftentimes, a client does need a longer narrative that’s explanatory of the work that we’re doing. In those cases, my advice is that’s it’s always better to give them more than you think they need. They can decide what pieces to edit, or how to escalate it. You don't want to make the client come back to you two or three times to get information. Trying to judge a room over the phone is by far, in my mind, the most difficult. You can’t see facial expressions, you can’t see body language, you can’t see how attentive they are. They may be multitasking. They may be at a coffee shop. You have no idea. That said, you can generally get an idea of who you need to address—and how—based on who is asking questions or speaking on a call. A client may have eight people on a call. It quickly becomes evident who the main players are or who your counterpart is. They don’t have to be a senior stakeholder. It may be the person who’s running quarterback for the client who’s asking for all the information. After a big conference call, my advice is to schedule a quick one-on-one call with your key point-person on the client side to review your notes and action items. It may sound inefficient to have a second call to go over something you just talked about. But I truly believe in the long run, it saves you time. If something was lost in translation on a conference call, a 10-minute review phone call will prevent significant problems days or weeks down the road.  How do you practice active listening at work? Give us your best advice in the comments section!

None of us emerged from childhood without being told “you need to listen!” It’s one of the earliest messages that we receive in life—and it’s culturally universal. Listen to your parents. Listen to...

Future State

Modern Marketing is the science of Customer Experience

Author: Nick Fleetwood, Director of Strategy and Analysis, Oracle Marketing Cloud EMEA Do you know the median tenure for a CMO is less than 3 years? In the last five years there has been a shift towards the CMO owning the revenue and growth metrics for the business that are driven by acquisition, customer value and retention marketing activities. CMOs are being asked to be the ‘Silver Bullet’ for CEOs as they seek to rapidly change or maintain business performance. Given the pressure and the reality of the length of the tenure, the challenge is always there to find the solution to rapidly increasing the return on investment from marketing spend: to find the unique combination of the right resources, strategy and technology that can rapidly adapt to the market conditions to get your products into the hands of the right people at the most efficient cost that can drive growth and average customer value. As Director of Strategy and Analytics for Oracle Marketing Cloud, my role and the role of my team has been to aid the acceleration of our client’s maturity in terms of their approaches to utilising marketing technology to achieve the strongest impact on their KPIs. In the last 3 years our engagements have been driven by one aspect more than any other: Customer Experience. What has become clear to me, is that marketing is now an output of effective Customer Experience. In fact you could say it is the science behind Customer Experience, as CX becomes focused on rapidly executing campaigns and strategies against measurable KPIs and then realising the value of those experiments across the marketing ecosystem as efficiently as possible. Framing the science Based on that concept we have been developing a new framework that has been focused on accelerating Customer Experience by focusing on the 3 fundamental factors that are driving modern CX: Technology: The age of point solutions operating individually in silos is now behind us. The focus is on an integrated suite of technologies that are driving a new set of marketing disciplines that are entirely focused on achieving seamless Customer Experience. Technology, however, is also moving faster than ever before so choosing the right technologies and adapting to market innovations will be the differential in winning the customer. Data: We are all coming to terms with the fact that data will be a central pillar of any marketing conversation for the rest of our lives. One challenge is defining what elements of the data strategy should be the responsibility of the CMO and which fall to the CTO or CDO? Taking the science analogy, data is a variable which needs to be controlled to be valuable to the CMO. In this instance we should use data to analyse performance, model future behavior and drive insight into our customers. The key is asking the right questions to ensure data provides the right opportunities for us in Marketing. Customer: It goes without saying that the Customer is central to Customer Experience. The need to have clarity on our target personas at an individual level, through a combination of persona driven marketing and behavioral real-time responsive cross-channel campaigns, are the key driving forces for many marketing teams at the current moment.   The Accelerator Model In order to display this, we think of Customer Experience as a DNA Helix with three elements – Technology, Data and Customer. This model is designed to not only show how each integral element of the Strategic Accelerator model aligns, but also to show how they flow together. Any of the individual elements can be treated in isolation to provide maturity in a specific area – for example a CMO who wishes to focus on the value of Data Modelling – but there will be a natural next step in the cycle for the CMO to take should they wish to continue. Let’s go through an illustration of the Accelerator model from end-to-end:   Technology is the starting point as so often a period of acceleration is driven by one of two events, a new technology providing new opportunities to the marketing team or the evaluation of an existing, possibly under-performing technology that is part of your mar-tech stack. Our advice is to take a Best Practice approach to evaluating how you are using your technology both in isolation and as a functioning whole within your ecosystem. This will drive new engagement activities at a strategic and campaign level for your marketing team. A new technology will then create an effect of re-evaluating your Marketing Disciplines. How does the new technology impact your website optimisation, your marketing automation programs or your digital advertising? As a result the opportunity comes to benchmark yourself against in each discipline in the context of your new technology to shape your approach to elevating your maturity in this area. Any new technology requires evaluation in the context of the Industry Trends and Innovations which are impacting your business. How are challengers in your market adopting new technologies to shape their go to market and reach your customer base more effectively? Is that an opportunity which is both relevant and cost effective for your business to pursue? This new technology now needs to be allied to your Business Objectives and KPIs to align how it impacts measurable performance at every level of your business. This will entail understanding the interplay between campaign level metrics (open rate, CTR, conversion rate), marketing level metrics (new customers, average customer value) and business metrics (revenue, growth etc). Analysis of your marketing data at a campaign, channel and holistic marketing level becomes the key measure for understanding the value of marketing technology, disciplines and marketing performance. This analysis should allow constant re-evaluation of spend and investment as well as putting Return on Investment on strategic initiatives. What opportunities does our data present in terms of Modelling to provide clear answers on customer’s behaviour and preferences. Can we use our data to segment our customer base into self-ordering groups or propensity to purchase or next best action? This is the clearest way for us to bridge the gap from Data to Customers. Using Data we can gain a clear view on who our Customer are in terms of data points and logical groupings, but until we start to build their Personas we are unable to use them to innovate around customer experience. Knowing our customer persona’s motivations, needs and influences allows us to build Customer Journey Mapping that not only recognises the reality of our current interactions with our customers, but also create innovative CX around moments that matter and understand the impact that innovation will have on KPIs and strategic initiatives. Finally the Customer Journey requires a consistent Digital Experience which examines how effectively your creative approach both delivers your brand identity and drives customers to complete your desired action in the acquisition or retention funnels. Which leads us back to Technology as you use the Customer Journey to understand which gaps now exist in your marketing architecture that are required to be filled in order to achieve the Customer Journey you have mapped out. In this way your customers inform your technology choices. This model is designed to be a virtuous circle with technology creating data modelling that drives new customer experience that creates need for enhanced technology. Those companies that embrace the acceleration model will be able to not only adopt new technologies faster and innovate new customer experiences more effectively, but they will also be able to measure the impact on those technologies and shape their approach through a robust KPI driven series of initiatives. Read more on Oracle Marketing here  Also, don't forget to read the blog post on What if e-mail died? You can contact us directly: Email or DM us on Twitter: @OracleConsult

Author: Nick Fleetwood, Director of Strategy and Analysis, Oracle Marketing Cloud EMEA Do you know the median tenure for a CMO is less than 3 years? In the last five years there has been a shift...