Wednesday Feb 03, 2016

Digital Transformation Becomes Mainstream: Profit Magazine 2016 Trends


[Read More]

Monday Jan 11, 2016

CFO Alliance Sentiment Survey: Compare Your Thoughts With Those of Your Peers


As CFO, your role continues to evolve and become more strategic. Benchmark your thoughts with those of your peers on the opportunities and critical challenges you will face in 2016 by participating in the CFO Alliance CFO Sentiment Study.

In appreciation of your participation, you'll receive a free, detailed CFO Sentiment Study: Executive Summary & Report when it's published (~late January). The survey takes about 15 minutes to complete and will be open until January 18, 2016

More About the Study:

CFOs are increasingly being challenged to accept the mantle of Chief Future Officer in defining and leading the execution of strategic visions for their organizations. Here are some of the key topics areas that are covered in the 2016 Annual Survey:

  • The 2016 Economic Landscape
  • Growth and Strategy
  • Challenges in Leading Across Departmental Lines
  • The Evolving Role of the Finance Leader
  • The Impact of Technology & Innovation on your Business, Industry and Customer Experiences
  • Human Capital: Addressing Talent Gaps, Professional Development and Employee Engagement

In addition to addressing these timely and critical questions, The CFO Alliance will identify areas that will foster ongoing discussions between financial executives, academic leaders, and industry experts in order to help strategic visions become executable strategies.

CFO Alliance will share the results with attendees of their Winter/Spring 2016 National Breakfast Roundtable Series. For more information, contact them at info@thecfoalliance.org.

Tuesday Jan 05, 2016

Now That SaaS is Mainstream…Is PaaS The Next Big Thing?

So… “SaaS First!” is now the mantra for your IT strategy. You’ve subscribed to dozens of applications and your organization is like a Leatherman Multi-Tool, equipped to exploit emerging technologies and remain agile no matter what market conditions throw at you.

Congratulations. But I have a couple of questions for you.

What is your plan for dealing with scenarios such as these?

  1. You need some very basic functionality in one segment of your business for which subscribing to another application would be overkill. How do you fill that need?
  2. One of your mission critical SaaS applications fits 95% of your needs. How do you address that other 5%?
  3. You still run a couple of on-premises applications—legacy or niche industry apps—that aren’t natively mobile. How do you make them mobile like your SaaS apps?

Back in the olden days of an all on-premises IT strategy, the answers to these questions were more widely known. However, bringing those answers to fruition were often inordinately complex and expensive.

But, like I said, now that you're all-in with SaaS-First! questions like these may leave you scratching your head. The good news is that PaaS (such as Oracle Platform as a Service) can potentially provide you with all the answers. I recommend a couple of articles to help you envision the possibilities.



Jim Lein

Oracle Cloud GTM Strategies | Modern Best Practice | Solutions for Growing Companies 

Modern Best Practice exploits new capabilities made possible by cloud, mobile, social, analytics, big data, and IoT, making it possible for your organization to achieve more, faster and with fewer resources.  It is flexible, supports growth and innovation, and enables new ways to achieve radically superior performance.

The views expressed here are my own, and not necessarily those of Oracle.

Monday Jan 04, 2016

2016: Is This The Year Marketers Stop Using Corny Cloud Metaphors?

Going into 2016, cloud application strategies are becoming so mainstream that marketers (like me) have (for the most part) stopped using corny cloud metaphors such as "Is a Cloud-First Strategy on Your Horizon?" or "The Future of ERP is Cloudy". In fact, I predict that, by the end of 2016,we will stop focusing on cloud as a deployment model and place our attention back on what applications actually do.  After all, just because an application is "in the cloud" doesn't mean it's a good fit for your needs. 

2015 was a good year for Oracle's cloud business and, consequently, we're carrying lot of momentum into the new year, especially for our ERP cloud applications. We now have over 1,500 ERP Cloud customers. The foundation for that momentum is identified in this recent Forbes OracleVoice article,  5 Signs That Cloud ERP Has Serious Momentum:

  1. Big companies—really big companies—are buying ERP cloud.
  2. More midsize companies can tap the capabilities of Oracle ERP Cloud, some for the first time.
  3. Companies like to pair Oracle ERP Cloud with Oracle HCM Cloud and other apps.
  4. Cloud ERP is a better business than legacy ERP.
  5. Oracle has just started to press its competitive advantages in ERP.

One of the primary competitive advantages of Oracle ERP Cloud is functionality, both in terms of depth and breadth. So we welcome the chance to be compared to other options head to head. And I pledge to stop using eye rolling cloud metaphors in my blog.

Meanwhile...visit our Oracle Modern Best Practice pages for help planning your new and improved cloud strategies for the new year.


Jim Lein

Oracle Cloud GTM Strategies | Modern Best Practice | Solutions for Growing Companies 

Modern Best Practice exploits new capabilities made possible by cloud, mobile, social, analytics, big data, and IoT, making it possible for your organization to achieve more, faster and with fewer resources.  It is flexible, supports growth and innovation, and enables new ways to achieve radically superior performance.

The views expressed here are my own, and not necessarily those of Oracle.

Friday Dec 18, 2015

5 Rules: Future Fit HR Cloud at JT Global

Your workforce has changed. It it will keep on changing.


Enabling technologies—including the cloud, social, mobile, and big data—have made it possible for organizations of every size to operate globally. Global operations require global workforces. In the past, it was generally accepted that employees at the home office would have a few more perks than their remote coworkers. Not so anymore. Today’s mobile and dispersed workforce expects to have all the same resources made available to it wherever it is working—headquarters, branch offices, customer sites, on the road, or, yes, even at home.

JT Global Goes Global With Future-Fit HR 

After deregulation of the industry 2003, JT Global, a telecommunications provider based in the bailiwick of Guernsey in the Channel Islands, has succeeded in growing its business globally to over £160 million annual turnover and 600 employees worldwide based out of 6 offices including Boston, Chicago, and Melbourne, Australia.

Hiring and retaining top talent is the top priority for Richard Summerfield, Group HR Director at JT Global. In this briefing, 5 Rules for Future Fit HR, he shares his advice and lessons learned in adopting Oracle Modern Best Practice for HR, powered by Oracle Human Capital Management Cloud:



Modern Best Practice for HR

With Oracle Modern Best Practice, companies exploit enabling technologies to achieve radically superior results faster and with  fewer resources. And those companies are not only ready for today but also more adaptable to leveraging new technologies as they mature.



Jim Lein

Oracle Cloud GTM Strategies | Modern Best Practice | Solutions for Growing Companies 

Modern Best Practice exploits new capabilities made possible by cloud, mobile, social, analytics, big data, and IoT, making it possible for your organization to achieve more, faster and with fewer resources.  It is flexible, supports growth and innovation, and enables new ways to achieve radically superior performance.

The views expressed here are my own, and not necessarily those of Oracle.

Tuesday Dec 15, 2015

5 Tips: Social Marketing in Action at T H March

Social marketing has existed as we know it for more than a decade. Yet many organizations still struggle to produce tangible business benefits from their social marketing activities. T.H. March, the UK’s largest and most experienced firm of insurance brokers specializing in insurance for the jewelry trade, is adopting Oracle Modern Best Practice for social marketing, powered by Oracle Marketing Cloud Service

Starting From ScratchThen Going All In

Prior to launching its social marketing strategy, T. H. March was sending form letters to their customers with the greeting, "Dear Valued Customer". In this briefing, the company's Managing Director, Neil McFarlane, and his marketing team share their 5 Tips For Growing Your Business With Social, articulating how far the company has advanced in a short time:

Modern Best Practice for the Social Business

If you're just getting started with social marketing or if you're ready to shed your disparate social marketing activities for an orchestrated strategy, download the e-book Modern Best Practice for the Social Business, authored by Reggie Bradford. He's the founder of Vitrue, where he developed the company into the leading provider of social marketing publishing software for global brands and agencies. Vitrue was acquired by Oracle in May 2012 and Reggie is Oracle's SVP of Social Relationship Management product strategy. 



Jim Lein

Oracle Cloud GTM Strategies | Modern Best Practice | Solutions for Growing Companies 

Modern Best Practice exploits new capabilities made possible by cloud, mobile, social, analytics, big data, and IoT, making it possible for your organization to achieve more, faster and with fewer resources.  It is flexible, supports growth and innovation, and enables new ways to achieve radically superior performance.

The views expressed here are my own, and not necessarily those of Oracle.

Wednesday Dec 09, 2015

Start Each Day With Insights Via Oracle’s Year End Count Down Calendars

Years past, my kids would fight each morning over who got to open the panel on the Advent calendar. But my youngest is in college now and I can only imagine what's behind the doors on his dorm room calendar. Probably not a colorful piece of hard candy or wisdom from an angel.

This year, my personal favorite has involved vicariously enjoying the a former colleague’s experiences as he posts pictures each day of opening items in his craft beer “calendar”.

In the spirit of the season...

Oracle has published a series of Coffee Break Daily Countdown Calendars. As the month progresses, you can click on the calendar and receive valuable business insights.

Here’s a sampling from today, December 9. 

From the Oracle ERP Coffee Break Countdown

From the Oracle HCM Coffee Break Countdown

From the Oracle Customer Experience Coffee Break Countdown

If you're like me, these calendars come in pretty handy. The end of the year still seems far away. I've still have a lot to learn in 2015.



Jim Lein

Oracle Cloud GTM Strategies | Modern Best Practice | Solutions for Growing Companies 

Modern Best Practice exploits new capabilities made possible by cloud, mobile, social, analytics, big data, and IoT, making it possible for your organization to achieve more, faster and with fewer resources.  It is flexible, supports growth and innovation, and enables new ways to achieve radically superior performance.

The views expressed here are my own, and not necessarily those of Oracle.

Thursday Dec 03, 2015

Our Often Elusive Expectations For Technology

I ask myself every day: How do business leaders expect technology to transform their businesses?

Even as technologies evolve, the answers are essentially the same. Business leaders expect technology to help:

  • Automate enterprise wide processes that are aligned with best practices while retaining their unique cultures.
  • Gain economies of scale to lower costs.
  • Move from IT that’s a business constraint to IT that spurs productivity, growth, and innovation
  • Enable the extraction, presentation, and extension of meaningful analysis of business activities to all decision makers and managers wherever they are at any given time.
  • Provision sales and marketing groups with the best tools to drive revenue.
  • Empower their employees.

We Expect Technology To Enable Transformation

But too often it’s hard to envision how technology capabilities translate to real business activities. Technology providers—such as Oracle—are usually skilled at explaining how their products work. Yet I’ve never heard a customer say, “We really, really want products.” In fact, they don’t want “solutions” either. They want (and need) to have their transformational strategies become realities.

Today, that can’t happen without the exploitation of enabling technologies. Mature enablers include cloud computing, mobile, social, analytics, and big data. More are on the verge such as wearables and (my personal favorite) indoor positioning systems.

It's Only The Beginning

It’s hard to even imagine what potential game-changers are just beyond the horizon.

As technologies emerge and mature, organizations must continually assess each one:

  • What potentially positive (or negative) impact could (or will) a technology have on our business?
  • Which technologies are ready for prime time and which are half-baked?
  • How should we prioritize our adoption of technologies?

Expect More From Your Technology Providers

In the old days, technology providers would share their knowledge and expertise only after a potential customer actively engaged with them, perhaps hoping to shape that organization’s deployment strategies based on their product capabilities. That doesn’t work nowadays when most organizations want to do the majority of the discovery process on their own to save time and money and to avoid vendor bias.

At Oracle, we’ve evolved along with market preferences. In addition to the vast Oracle knowledge community, we now offer Oracle Modern Best Practice, a vast library of assets—thought leadership, practical advice, customer experiences—that is free and open to anyone with an internet connection. This content makes it much easier to understand how the exploitation of enabling technologies can lead to consistently achieving radically superior results faster and with fewer resources. By sharing, we believe that potential customers will see the value in choosing to proactively engage with Oracle or a partner to help guide their transformation strategies.

I invite you to explore these pages, organized by key areas of business that are common to the vast majority of organizations. I’m confident you’ll learn something valuable that you didn’t already know.

And, in my book, that’s always a good thing.


Jim Lein

Oracle Cloud GTM Strategies | Modern Best Practice | Solutions for Growing Companies 

Modern Best Practice exploits new capabilities made possible by cloud, mobile, social, analytics, big data, and IoT, making it possible for your organization to achieve more, faster and with fewer resources.  It is flexible, supports growth and innovation, and enables new ways to achieve radically superior performance.

The views expressed here are my own, and not necessarily those of Oracle.

Monday Nov 30, 2015

Social Media Speculates That Oracle Has a Sense of Humor: Video

Oracle recently released a short (1:00) video, Oracle Integrated Cloud. It employs a corporate campus design presentation as a tongue in cheek analogy to the well intended but flawed cloud strategies some companies embark upon.

Don't expect a big belly laugh from this video, but the reaction on social media has been largely that of surpriseeven going so far as accusing Oracle of having a sense of humorsince Oracle is better known for serious rather than light-hearted marketing content.

I can assure you that, yes, Oracle has a sense of humor.  After all, as our founder, executive chairman, and chief technology officer Larry Ellison has said, "What is Oracle? A bunch of people."  Since we are, indeed, a bunch of people, it only makes sense that many of us do have a sense of humor. 

Don't expect a flood of new Oracle videos featuring bloopers, epic fails, and cats showing dogs just who's the boss. But do expect that we will continue to publish content that features the thought leadership and guidance from experts within Oracle and our extended community.

If you're looking for some serious advice on how to achieve radically superior resultsfaster and with fewer resourcesby transforming your business via the cloud and other enabling technologies, check out Oracle Modern Best Practice.

Meanwhile, here's a good joke for you. Oracle, Workday, and NetSuite marketing guys walk into a bar...


Jim Lein

Oracle Cloud GTM Strategies | Modern Best Practice | Solutions for Growing Companies 

Modern Best Practice exploits new capabilities made possible by cloud, mobile, social, analytics, big data, and IoT, making it possible for your organization to achieve more, faster and with fewer resources.  It is flexible, supports growth and innovation, and enables new ways to achieve consistently superior performance.

The views expressed here are my own, and not necessarily those of Oracle.


Tuesday Nov 24, 2015

Social Listening Gone Bad

Almost 50 million Americans will be traveling over the river and through the woods this Thanksgiving week, according to AAA. Along the way, many of them will be posting reviews of their experiences on search engine and travel review sites. The travel industry was one of the earliest to be disrupted by crowd-sourced reviews because travel is very personal and emotional and because review sites are plentiful and easy to use.

Last February, I co-authored an eBook, Modern Best Practice for the Social Business with Oracle’s SVP Reggie Bradford, founder of Vitrue (now part of Oracle Social Cloud). The tenets of Social Relationship Management (SRM) are easy to understand—unify and orchestrate your social strategy. Monitor and engage on social channels to listen, learn, and adjust.

Too often, however, businesses miss the point of social monitoring and engagement. They choose to question the validity of customer feedback—disagree with it or explain it away—rather  than choosing to learn from it and adjust their strategies accordingly

You Shouldn’t Say You’re a Silk Purse When You’re More of a Sow’s Ear

Case in point—my wife and I checked into an inn close to Santa Fe’s historic plaza the evening before Easter Sunday. It was very highly ranked and rated on a popular travel review site. We didn't think we'd be disappointed.

But we were disappointed. We didn’t have a bad experience—just not what we expected, given the inn’s stellar online reviews. Back home, I penned reviews relating to our trip. I gave that inn three stars out of five, pointing out its strong qualities while also explaining the nature of our disappointment.

A week later, I received a notification from the inn’s manager. Apparently, he passionately monitors his inn’s online reviews. That’s good. But he had posted a rebuttal to my review, announcing that it was unfair and inaccurate. And, he challenged me—in public, on the review site—to delete it or else he’d pressure the travel review site to have it removed. 

How can someone tell you that you weren’t disappointed?

Through private email exchanges with the inn manager, I learned that he was not in the least bit interested in the sources of my disappointment—he was doggedly determined to protect his ranking on the travel review site. Based on the tone of his correspondence, I pondered just how far he was willing to go to achieve that goal.

I caved. After all, I wasn’t defending my family or my country. Who needs the grief? I didn’t want to invest one more minute of my time trying to explain my position to someone who didn’t care what his customers thought. Of course we'll never stay their again. Of course we'll tell all our friends (Santa Fe is a wonderful destination and just a scenic 6 hour drive from our community).

Companies should thank their lucky stars when customers are willing to share honest feedback so that they can continually strive to improve performance. But they can't learn and take action on that feedback unless they have modern and effective SRM strategies in place.  It's one more way to show your customers that you really care.

If you’re just starting with social, or want to unify your social relationship management activities by adopting Oracle Modern Best Practice for Marketing, download the free eBook.



Jim Lein

Oracle Cloud GTM Strategies | Modern Best Practice | Solutions for Growing Companies 

Modern Best Practice exploits new capabilities made possible by cloud, mobile, social, analytics, big data, and IoT, making it possible for your organization to achieve more, faster and with fewer resources.  It is flexible, supports growth and innovation, and enables new ways to achieve consistently superior performance.

The views expressed here are my own, and not necessarily those of Oracle.

Thursday Nov 19, 2015

86% of Chief Sales Officers Aren't Confident They Can Hit Their Revenue Targets: Problem?

Joe Fuster, Global Head, CX Cloud at Oracle, does indeed see a problem. That's why he recently published a free eBook, 5 Tips to Improve Sales Performance.

Top performing companies adopt Modern Best Practice for Sales to expolit enabling technolgies such as social and mobile to give their sales organizations not just a better chance to hit their sales targets but also to exceed them. Fuster recently joined Oracle after leadership roles at Salesforce and SAP. He cites research that shows, for example, that 96% of leading firms have sales compensation policies aligned with their business objectives. 

Fuster's five tips include:

  1. Align strategies
  2. Simplify activities and processes
  3. Analyze performance
  4. Collaborate with the sales team
  5. Gamify performance dashboard

Download the eBook to get the scoop behind these tips.


Jim Lein

Oracle Cloud GTM Strategies | Modern Best Practice | Solutions for Growing Companies 

Modern Best Practice exploits new capabilities made possible by cloud, mobile, social, analytics, big data, and IoT, making it possible for your organization to achieve more, faster and with fewer resources.  It is flexible, supports growth and innovation, and enables new ways to achieve consistently superior performance.

The views expressed here are my own, and not necessarily those of Oracle.

Tuesday Nov 17, 2015

What Does The Internet of Things Mean To You?

Oracle Profit magazine’s Five Ideas recently featured the perspective of five Oracle experts on The Internet of Things (IoT) which I found to be thought-provoking because I get asked to define IoT several times per week. It's a term that means different things to different people. I confess, I sometimes use the phrase as a place to park my incomplete or immature musings on a subject, especially in conversations with people outside our industry, e.g. “the Internet of Things means doing business the way your customers want and expect you to”.

But you need a more precise definition when you’re exploring how IoT fits into your organizational transformation strategies. You have to be sure that everyone involved is singing off the same sheet of music, as in, “just what the heck are we talking about here?”

Kevin Ashton Did NOT Invent The Internet

IoT was coined by Kevin Ashton in 1999. In this Smithsonian.com interview, he explains IoT by observing that, “In the twentieth century, computers were brains without senses—they only knew what we told them” whereas, today, “because of the Internet of Things, computers can sense things for themselves”.

Taking that thought a step forward, IoT employs a network of objects—aka, “things”—that are both collecting and sharing information automatically within a network. These things can be controlled remotely by humans but are also free to talk amongst themselves as defined by the network’s infrastructure and rules. The desired results are typically more knowledge from a larger pool (ocean) of information and increased operational efficiency.

Everyday Life Examples Make IoT Visceral

IoT doesn’t mean anything to you unless it’s applicable to something you can personally relate to. For example, we used to rely on our youngest son to let us know when we were running low on foodstuffs but he’s now packed his appetite off to college. We could replace his unsolicited input with a smart refrigerator that tracks what’s inside via barcode and RFID scanning. And, soon, our refrigerator things could chat with their thing buddies at Costco and deliver a case of Mexican Coke by drone to my door shortly after I’ve popped the top on my last one.

Here’s a simplified business world example from this Oracle Internet of Things Cloud Service briefing, The Internet of Things: Unlocking New Business Value, “Manufacturing companies use IoT technologies to collect data from devices that have failed or otherwise needed repairs, and then analyze this data to help provide predictive maintenance.”

Oracle Modern Best Practice Exploits IoT

If you’re still deciding what IoT means in the context of your business transformation strategy, explore the resources we post online—free and openly—for Oracle Modern Best Practice. Those resources articulate how organizations gain the ability to exploit not just IoT but other enabling technologies—cloud computing, analytics, social, mobile, and Big Data—to achieve radically superior results.


Jim Lein

Oracle Cloud GTM Strategies | Modern Best Practice | Solutions for Growing Companies 

Modern Best Practice exploits new capabilities made possible by cloud, mobile, social, analytics, big data, and IoT, making it possible for your organization to achieve more, faster and with fewer resources.  It is flexible, supports growth and innovation, and enables new ways to achieve consistently superior performance.

The views expressed here are my own, and not necessarily those of Oracle.

Monday Nov 09, 2015

I’m In A Midsize State of Mind

Do technology solution providers need to have a go-to-market strategy specifically tailored for small and midsize companies?

From having worked with and for small, medium, and large companies during my multi-faceted career, I can tell you that the answer is emphatically, “Yes!” That is, yes, if they want to thrive in those market segments and deliver real value to those organizations.

That’s why in 2006 Oracle invested resources in forming a midsize go to market team—sales, consulting, marketing, and solution delivery.

Our first big challenge was tweaking the way Oracle presented our key messages to the world. Back then, every Oracle presentation began with something like, “18 out of the top 20 Life Sciences Companies Run Oracle”.

It’s human nature to be proud of success and to drop big names when we can. We all do it. Like how I wear my Shane Doan, captain of the NHL's Phoenix Coyotes, autographed sweater when I play pond hockey because my brother in law built his house and I met him once at Grimaldi’s in Scottsdale.

But thumping our chest produced two reactions. First, small and midsize customers and prospects were thinking, That’s great. We’re happy for your success. The word ‘nonplussed’ comes to mind. Second, it ignored the fact that 2/3 of Oracle’s customers were small and midsize companies. In fact, our recently updated numbers identify that 315,000—now 75%!—of Oracle’s 420,000 customers have annual revenues under $500M.

Small and midsize companies identify themselves by size when they are researching and buying technology solutions.


Once they become customers, they shed that designation and identify with their industry and markets.


The desire to scale is the common denominator amongst our small and midsize companies.

That’s why Oracle’s go to market strategy for small and midsize companies focuses on helping such organizations craft their future-fit strategies for digital transformation and adopting Modern Best Practice.

Oracle’s portfolio of cloud solutions—SaaS, PaaS, IaaS, and DaaS—now makes it even easier for our small and midsize customers to exploit the enabling technologies of social, mobile, analytics, Big Data, IoT, etc. the same as their large competitors do.

I’m proud to carry the small and midsize banner for Oracle.

Perhaps it’s the affinity I feel, like remembering the challenges I faced as controller for a chain of Colorado ski shops, solving financial challenges while also trying to fit in 50+ days on the mountain every season.

Yes, now I work for an industry behemoth and worry more about getting my youngest two kids through college than bagging first tracks. But it’s no hardship because Oracle is genuinely committed to solving the challenges small and midsize companies face, not just paying them lip service. I’m good with that.



Jim Lein

Oracle Cloud GTM Strategies | Modern Best Practice | Solutions for Growing Companies 

Modern Best Practice exploits new capabilities made possible by cloud, mobile, social, analytics, big data, and IoT, making it possible for your organization to achieve more, faster and with fewer resources.  It is flexible, supports growth and innovation, and enables new ways to achieve consistently superior performance.

The views expressed here are my own, and not necessarily those of Oracle.

Wednesday Nov 04, 2015

Why Midsize Companies Should Care About PaaS


Oracle recently released the results of the Oracle Cloud Agility study, a survey of 2,263 employees working for large global enterprises. 64% of respondents consider their organization to be agile and 81% stated that the ability to rapidly develop, test, and launch new business applications is either critically important or important to the success of their business. Yet only 32% state that they fully understand what Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) is, while 29% admit that they “do not understand it at all”.

Oracle is seeing widespread adoption of PaaS by companies of all sizes, specifically to increase business agility. With apparently widespread lack of understanding of PaaS among large organizations, I thought it made sense to put a midsize lens on the subject.

To that end, I had a conversation with Dain Hansen, Director of Product Marketing in Oracle’s Technology Business Group.

Q: Just What is PaaS?

Hansen: PaaS is simply choosing to run your IT platform as a service for the cloud. Adopting a PaaS strategy provides a commonality of infrastructure for deploying, running, securing, and connecting multiple applications and application development in one place in a cloud environment.

Q: Why Should Midsize Organizations Care About PaaS?

Hansen: The short answer is, “for simplicity and to lower costs”. Cloud was originally designed for running applications—Software as a Service (SaaS). Many of the benefits of PaaS are the same as those associated with SaaS—lower costs, greater agility, and reduced IT complexity.

PaaS is helping small and large companies make better use of the cloud—securing, integrating, mobilizing, and providing analytics on their data. As little as two years ago, an organization would have had to buy and deploy multiple solutions to do all that. As with SaaS, PaaS makes it realistic for smaller organizations to afford and manage technology solutions that in the past may have seemed too expensive or complex.

Q: What Are Some Use Cases for PaaS in Midsize Organizations?

Hansen: A few come to mind.

  • Application Development: Let’s say a midsize nonprofit needs basic donor support capabilities to run a fund raising campaign, including a social media outreach portal where donors can go online to submit their donations securely. The nonprofit also wants to capture donor information. There are many prepackaged donation systems out there but that might be overkill. The nonprofit could choose to develop something in-house using out of the box portal or social media tools. But that would require them to run an entire environment—provision hardware, manage it 24/7, and make sure it doesn’t break because it’s mission critical and every donation counts. 

Alternatively, they could use Oracle Application Builder Cloud Service to build those requirements within an Oracle PaaS environment. Or, with Oracle PaaS they could offload all those requirements and responsibilities, leveraging Oracle or Oracle partner resources who know all about best practices and security. Those scenarios apply to just about every business function an organization might require.

  • Extensions and Customizations: The old 80/20 rule is prevalent in the SaaS world. Customers get 80% of what they want out of the box but still need to deliver that other 20% to their end users. In real life, that ratio is often even more lopsided.

For example, we have an Oracle PaaS customer whose business is centered on their partners. They rely heavily on a 3rd party partner relationship management system that required significant customization to meet their needs. They used our Java Cloud Service to build extensions to meet those functional requirements in a cleaner, more manageable way.

With Oracle tools in a PaaS environment, organizations can also customize just a single form or field natively to the app without having to do a potentially more complicated Java extension.

  • Development and Testing: Many organizations outsource this function to Amazon or other providers because they believe that’s the cheapest way to do it. When I discuss this with our Oracle PaaS customers I say, sure, you can test all you want on some kludgy version of a so-called cheaper platform or you can test on Oracle’s enterprise grade platform.

With Oracle, the license is portable so they can do the full production test for mission critical run times. They don’t have to worry about testing on one platform and deploying on another because they’ll have used the same exact version after go live as they did during testing.

Furthermore, our analysis shows that it takes fewer clicks and configuration steps to run our cloud than it does for other providers. It sounds cliché but a lot of customers get seduced by the trend of using a presumably low cost provider when, in reality, the complications of more setup, more overhead, and higher license costs are going to come back and bite them.

  • Compatibility and Integration: The world of one SaaS application is nonexistent. Almost every company that deploys one SaaS application has or will deploy many more, and not always from a single vendor. Each SaaS provider has their own platform, some more robust than others.
Most SaaS providers claim they are open but each is using a different version and standards for what their applications run on. That puts customers at their mercy. How do customers get all their SaaS applications to work together without customizing each one? No organization wants to do that. At Oracle, we understand how that happens. Customers don’t always know which SaaS horse to pick, so to speak. So our goal is to make Oracle a much easier decision to simplify deployment and management, lower costs, and avoid nightmare scenarios.

Q: How Can Companies Avoid Simplify Integration/Compatibility Issues?

Hansen: We recommend three things:

  1. Reduce the number of SaaS vendors you work with.
  2. Choose SaaS applications that are truly built on open standards.
  3. Choose a PaaS provider that uses an open standards platform and can deliver the services to simplify the challenges described in these use cases.

Oracle’s SaaS applications are really good and we have a lot of them. Equally important, we truly build them on open standards—not some proprietary versions of open standards like many of our competitors do.

With Oracle PaaS services, we can provide single sign-on and integration capabilities across all of the out of box applications (Oracle and 3rd party), custom applications, extensions, and data that an organization depends upon. That might mean providing a single repository of customer information across sales, service, suppliers, and finance.

Q: What Else Should Be Important to a Midsize Organization When Choosing a PaaS Provider?

Hansen: Midsize companies need to make sure their PaaS provider supports the way they actually do business. Many are more susceptible than large enterprises to fluctuations in revenue —based on market trends, timing, and the buying behavior of a few key customers—which directly impacts their ability to invest in and consume new technologies.

Oracle uses the same technologies for both our on premise and SaaS applications which means we run the same standards in both deployment scenarios. Thus, with Oracle PaaS, our customers have the freedom to leverage existing on premise investments as they gradually move workload to the cloud.

It’s also important to understand that every Oracle PaaS customer has a relationship with people at Oracle. That’s our business model. That should be especially important to midsize customers who look to Oracle for answers and solutions.

It’s not just that we provide you access to cloud services and say good luck with that. We make is as simple as possible. We provision everything. All you do is setup a user name account and we do the rest. Our goals are to get our customers rapidly on-boarded on cloud and have them see immediate success.

Q: What Can An Organization Do Now To Get Started With Oracle PaaS?

Hansen: If you're already working with Oracle or one of our partners, start by asking them for advice.  Otherwise you can go to cloud.oracle.com/tryit, scroll down the page to Platform (PaaS/IaaS). There, you can select any of the solutions within our PaaS portfolio to actually give them a try. There's also a live chat tab on the right side of the page for additional support and advice. 



Jim Lein

Oracle Cloud GTM Strategies | Modern Best Practice | Solutions for Growing Companies 

Modern Best Practice exploits new capabilities made possible by cloud, mobile, social, analytics, big data, and IoT, making it possible for your organization to achieve more, faster and with fewer resources.  It is flexible, supports growth and innovation, and enables new ways to achieve consistently superior performance.

The views expressed here are my own, and not necessarily those of Oracle.

Monday Nov 02, 2015

Growing by Leaps and Bounds: Oracle Modern Best Practice

Oracle Modern Best Practice is one year old. We launched this online cache of resources because, when considering technology to solve business challenges, our customers and future customers want to painlessly do their own initial research. And, once engaged with solution providers, Oracle Modern Best Practice provides a strategic and tactical framework for planning activities.

After reaching this milestone, I asked Steve Cox, VP of Oracle Cloud go-to-market and Oracle Modern Best Practice champion, for his perspective on the results so far and what to expect in the future.

Q: One year in, what has surprised you the most about Oracle Modern Best Practice?

Cox: It’s the uptake. For September of 2015 we’ve had 20 times the visits to our modern best practice oracle.com pages as we did in its first month, October of 2014.

Q: When you conceived the idea, did you expect that kind of success?

Cox: Well, I don’t have a crystal ball. I didn’t know what to expect. I knew we had something that was in line with Oracle’s strategy. As part of our Corporate Citizenship, we’re committed to open computing and enabling end to end business processes for our customers.

Based on our depth of knowledge. lessons learned via thousands of projects, and the capabilities of our products and technologies, I knew that we could articulate a different way of doing things. Today, our customers can achieve not just consistent but also radically superior results by leveraging enabling technologies—cloud, big data, social, mobile, analytics, and the Internet of Things (IoT).

Q: Why was it so obvious?

Cox: I believe that it’s a disservice to organizations in the way that all other technology providers are defining best practice. They are basically saying that, since a thousand of their customers have done business function X a certain way, then its best practice. That’s solely a historic way of looking at things.

That approach ignores the impact of the enablers I mentioned earlier. They have effectively become mature and immediately available to all organizations at the same time in history. Our best practices embrace those enablers. We maintain that if it’s not social, mobile, etc., then it’s not modern and it’s really not a best practice.

Q: How do the online resources Oracle provides support the adoption of modern best practice?

Cox: I’m fond of the maxim from Sir Tim Berners-Lee, “If it’s not on the web, it doesn’t exist”. It’s a huge leap that we’re posting Oracle Modern Best Practice online, free and open, and in a simple and easy to grasp way. We’re quite possibly the only technology provider who can do this because the others either don’t have full business coverage or their solutions don’t exploit the key technology enablers.

Let’s say your organization has established a mandate for business or digital transformation and you’re trying to master the new way of doing business. Are you able to easily evaluate vendors products and answer these two simple questions, “What will we be able to do with this solution that we can’t do now?", and, "What business challenges will it solve for me now and in the future?"

We decided that the easiest way to make modern best practice simple and understandable is to illustrate them. We’ve published a whole raft of assets relating to why a process is important, what the details of the process are, and what it looks like in an Oracle product while also giving examples of customers who are doing it today.

Furthermore, once an organization decides to engage with a solution provider, modern best practice provides a framework for discussion to move ideas to actionable strategies and tactics.

Q: How is Oracle Modern Best Practice disruptive?

Cox: First, because it’s free. Other providers will look for even the smallest reason to charge you for anything. Second, like the old adage, most suppliers are, ‘selling drill bits when their customers want holes.’ Oracle Modern Best Practice helps us understand what the customer’s desired end result is so we can show them what they can do with our products rather than what our products do.

Q: What is the Path to Oracle Modern Best Practice?

Cox: I recommend four simple steps.

First, explore. Do your own discovery. Navigate the process flows. Drill down into each step to review the assets such as demos, whitepapers, and customer experiences. Ask yourself, how is this different than what we’re doing now and how does it fit into our plans for transformation?

Second, empower. Work with Oracle or an Oracle partner. Leverage their skills and experiences to help guide your way along the path to Oracle Modern Best Practice.

Third, engage. Share what you’ve discovered with your line of business leaders and executive team. Use Oracle Modern Best Practice to trigger a debate within your organization about what needs to be changed to drive transformation. Gain consensus on how you want to exploit technology solutions to transform your business.

And fourth, adopt. Drive your business transformation and measure the results

Oracle Modern Best Practice helps answer the question, Why should we do this now? The answer is that you can’t achieve the radically superior results with your existing ways of doing business that rely on outdated systems. What’s cool about Oracle Modern Best Practice is that it exploits the enabling technologies I mentioned before. Plus, more technologies will come into play as they mature, such as wearables.

Thus, the most exciting and valuable thing for our customers is that it’s all open and available to them now. They can get started by just going to oracle.com/modernbestpractice.


Jim Lein

Oracle Cloud GTM Strategies | Modern Best Practice | Solutions for Growing Companies 

Modern Best Practice exploits new capabilities made possible by cloud, mobile, social, analytics, big data, and IoT, making it possible for your organization to achieve more, faster and with fewer resources.  It is flexible, supports growth and innovation, and enables new ways to achieve consistently superior performance.

The views expressed here are my own, and not necessarily those of Oracle.

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