...so many big ideas, so little time - here are my top 3 for 2018!
When your CFO asks you "Should we be able to take Bitcoin payments over a mobile device?" or "Would you trust a conversational AI to place a stock trade for you?", you need a point of view that works for them - right away!
This year's Gartner Application Strategies and Solutions Summit gave thousands of senior IT leaders the chance to gear up for just these kinds of career-shaping interactions. And while there were too many great sessions and expert insights for any mere human to cover, I was amazed by the reaction in the rooms when these three topics came up:
From the opening keynote to the closing bell, you couldn't miss the excitement and interest in #AI, #APIs, #iPaaS, #RPA, #Blockchain, #aPaaS, and others, but the questions were less about how these disruptive technologies might work someday than about how they can help transform what IT can do with the talent, assets, and budget they have today. Here's what I learned from the summit and the story of one firm's transformation using Oracle Cloud Platform:
This was the shot that rang around the room in the opening keynote. It challenged the longstanding belief that the business must be constrained by what IT has to deal with in the back office. Transforming IT's role from specialized technical problem solvers to more general, data-driven, problem finders was the theme that unified all of the sessions and inspired so many hallway conversations. For many I spoke with, including Sinclair's Director of Finance Applications, Duane DeBique, this was a strong validation of the role Applications IT has been playing in transformation efforts. For others, this seemed to run counter to everything that has worked for IT until now. That's a big idea whose time has come, and Oracle's Vikas Anand, Vice President of Product Management for iPaaS engaged with Duane, and a packed room of Apps IT leaders on how to make this possible for firms of all sizes!
When Vikas and Duane shared Sinclair's vision of a "frictionless enterprise", they focused on how regional marketing consultants could better engage with direct advertisers and agencies using a unified quote to cash experience across devices. When Duane demoed his tablet-based quote to order digital app featuring Oracle Integration Cloud's Adaptive Case Management (ACM) with Robotic Process Automation (RPA), the power of his vision became clear. When he interacted with his very own conversational AI to take a payment on the spot from his iPhone, the room lit up with questions. But it was when he thanked Vikas and the Oracle team for helping Sinclair take their vision to live demos running across six SaaS and on-premises applications - in just under two weeks - that the real story emerged. It was the speed that these innovations went from whiteboard to boardroom that Duane highlighted with his business and IT transformation team to help chart the next stage of their journey with Oracle.
Whether in packed presentations or at the Oracle demo booth, conversations centered around how disruptive technologies including #Blockchain, #IoT, and #AI can open doors to new revenue streams without disrupting the systems of record business operations teams depend on for day to day execution. Vikas Anand laid out the design principles that make this possible and several sessions supported the idea that the practical path to AI starts with integration. Why? Because best next action recommendations and conversational AIs depend on content and context to be helpful and relevant. Blockchain and IoT, like AI technology, are only practical for businesses who have a modern, hybrid integration strategy to transform real-time data and events into intelligent micro-decisions that can lead to big new revenue opportunities for innovators like Sinclair Broadcasting. Digital process automation, using API-first integration emerged as the next stage because manual steps and legacy complexity fragment end to end operations such as quote to cash. Optimizing customer-facing activities with conversational AI and best next action recommendations depends on simplifying integration and accelerating process automation.
The transformations Apps IT leaders such as Sinclair Broadcasting's Duane DeBique came to the Gartner Applications Strategies and Solutions Summit to enable all depend on the agility to say to "yes" when their CFOs ask for simple answers to complex technology disruptions. Amit Zavery, Oracle's SVP, Product Development, Oracle Cloud Platform and Middleware, joined Duane and Vikas onstage to support the kind of rapid integration and automation needed to make disruptive technologies such as #Blockchain, #IoT, and #AI practical elements of your application strategy in 2018! With so many senior IT executives asking for more details on this simple yet powerful path, Vikas encouraged attendees to join him and Bobby Patrick, UiPath's Chief Marketing Officer, for a live webcast on Robotic Process Automation and Artificial Intelligence to see how Oracle Integration Cloud's process automation with RPA helps simply legacy complexity.
As Vikas summarized in his closing remarks, he is no longer just delivering industry-leading enterprise software and platforms, he's now part of an energized executive team that believes making Apps IT leaders like Duane dangerous is their business. When Apps IT innovators bring data-driven insights into how to optimize core processes and drive new revenues to their business executives, they impress. When they bring functional digital apps that executives can try on their phones, they become the thought leaders their business turns to in the face of technical and market disruption. When those same apps work across both API-enabled SaaS applications and custom legacy systems - without the need for retraining - disruptive technologies such as conversational AI and best next action recommendations take the friction out of business operations and put your digital transformation on the fast track to success! To learn more about how your team can transform faster with Oracle Cloud Platform, follow us @OracleIntegrate and join the conversation at https://blogs.oracle.com/integration.