Tuesday Feb 10, 2015

From X's & O's to MQL's & SQL's-Part 3


When Jeremy Bloom was 10 years old, growing up in Loveland, Colorado (population 39,616 at the time), he told his mom and dad he wanted to ski in the Olympics and play in the NFL. Twenty some years later, Jeremy has been-there-done-that and now focuses his energy and creativity on entrepreneurial and humanitarian endeavors. He is the co-founder and CEO of Integrate, a provider of cloud-based solutions that improve the efficiency of Oracle Eloqua customers’ marketing programs, as well as the founder of Wish of a Lifetime, a nonprofit organization helping to make the wishes of senior citizens come true. Integrate was the Oracle Applications Cloud partner of the month in October of 2014.

Part 3: Modern Best Practice for Marketing and Jeremy’s Other Startup

Q: As keepers of Modern Best Practice for your marketing automation niche, how does Integrate become indispensable to your customers?

Integrate automates and standardizes manual, low-value tasks and provides real-time data to optimize media investment. Today, many Oracle customers (marketers) are spending tens to hundreds of hours each month on very low-value tasks when they should be focused on creating ideas and content for customer engagement and delight.

The Integrate software weaves together the media and prospect data with the marketing systems being leveraged to nurture, track and analyze. With our solution, our clients are getting cleaner prospect data into their systems faster than they have ever done before. And, every media dollar can be optimized and measured.

Q: Do you approach your enterprise clients the same way you do startups or midsize clients?

The pain points are very similar for both midsize and large enterprises – demand gen is manual and woefully out of sync with the rest of marketing. At Integrate, we lionize customer success by eliminating this problem. Everything we design—our team, processes, GTM strategy, business value alignment, support—is centered on customer success. Perhaps it’s cliché, but as a startup CEO I hear noise from all over. “Hey—what’s the exit strategy of the business? Are you going to sell? Go public?” All those things I see as complete distractions and every second I’m spending time on that I’m losing focus on what’s important. I tell my team often, “If we make our customers successful, everything else will take care of itself. Literally. All the things we question—the question marks—will take care of themselves.” But that’s hard task. It goes back to building a great product that helps marketers become more successful.

Q: Tell me about Wish of a Lifetime

I share a really great relationship with my grandparents. The first 18 years of my life it was my mom, dad, brother, sister, and grandma. I’ve always had an affinity to the oldest generation. And I’ve always felt that, in our country, we don’t always do a great job of supporting and appreciating the oldest generation. We spend so much of our time focused on the youth—which is important—but some of that attention should be spent on the people that paved our roads, that gave us life, that fought for our freedom in WWII, that pulled this country out of the great depression. These people are now in their 80’s, 90’s, and 100’s and a lot of them are living without a lot of means. Many don’t have family members anymore and their friends have passed on. They are confined to four walls. They don’t talk to people for maybe 12-13 days. Some of their wishes are so small and there’s no nonprofit out there to make these things happen. So that’s why I started Wish of a Lifetime. To find these people. To say thank you. Tell them that we care. To grant their wish in hopes of not only making their lives have more meaning fulfillment but also to share their message with other generations—the youngest generation—to say, “These people are important. It is our duty to help them.”

Part 1: The Path to Startup

Part 2: On a Mission With Oracle




Jim Lein

Modern Best Practice exploits new capabilities made possible by cloud, mobile, social, analytics, big data, and the internet of things, 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.

From X's & O's to MQL's & SQL's-Part 2


When Jeremy Bloom was 10 years old, growing up in Loveland, Colorado (population 39,616 at the time), he told his mom and dad he wanted to ski in the Olympics and play in the NFL. Twenty some years later, Jeremy has been-there-done-that and now focuses his energy and creativity on entrepreneurial and humanitarian endeavors. He is the co-founder and CEO of Integrate, a provider of cloud-based solutions that improve the efficiency of Oracle Eloqua customers’ marketing programs, as well as the founder of Wish of a Lifetime, a nonprofit organization helping to make the wishes of senior citizens come true. Integrate was the Oracle Applications Cloud partner of the month in October of 2014.


Part 2: On a Mission With Oracle

Q: What do you like about partnering with Oracle?

Marketing is the next big area of business to be automated. Oracle has embraced marketing and has a proven track record of data-driven solutions across business functions. I love the energy and focus that Oracle is putting into mastering marketing. From everywhere in the organization they are taking steps in the direction that says “we want to win and delight marketing”. From acquiring great companies with valued technologies to putting together an intelligent stack to the way that they are supporting customers.

We aren’t on a mission to master all of marketing but we’re certainly on a mission to automate an important piece - demand gen. We value partnering with Oracle because we both share the passion of customer centricity, automation and data-driven marketing. There is a lot of mutual value in us working together.

Q: How do Integrate’s solutions help Oracle Eloqua customers?

Marketers are paying big money to generate leads ($30b+ in 2015) with PII—Personally Identifiable Information—coming in from many different sources such as when a potential customer downloads a whitepaper, registers for a webinar, or has their badge scanned at an event. The big challenge is how marketers make sure that the prospect data—email addresses, phone numbers, zip codes—is valid. And how marketers get all those leads from disparate sources into your Eloqua as fast as possible for creating sales pipeline. Usually what happens is that a lot of people across marketing operations have to pull together all the information via spreadsheets, format and validate it one row at a time, and then enter it manually into Eloqua. This can take days, with each day and every passing hour delaying follow-up with prospects.

Integrate’s SaaS solution standardizes and automates the demand gen process. A key step is validating the prospect data generating by third-party providers, assigning a source ID to each lead, and then directly injects all those leads into Eloqua for immediate nurture and follow-up. Integrate becomes the central repository of all known IDs and becomes the analytics platform that provides the CMO and marketing pros with a holistic assessment of lead quality across all channels as leads move from MQL, to SQL, to a sale.

We walk arm in arm with Oracle when we meet with Eloqua customers. The first thing we do is sit down with the customer’s marketers and blueprint their data flow and workflow processes. Once we gain an understanding of what marketers have under the hood, we can recognize roadblocks and ultimately identify solutions to increase efficiency and increase media and marketing system ROI.

Part 1: The Path to Startup

Part 3: Modern Best Practice for Marketing and Jeremy's Other Startup



Jim Lein

Modern Best Practice exploits new capabilities made possible by cloud, mobile, social, analytics, big data, and the internet of things, 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.

From X’s & O’s to MQLs & SQls


When Jeremy Bloom was 10 years old, growing up in Loveland, Colorado (population 39,616 at the time), he told his mom and dad that he wanted to ski in the Olympics and play in the NFL. Twenty some years later, Jeremy has been-there-done-that and now focuses his energy and creativity on entrepreneurial and humanitarian endeavors. He is the co-founder and CEO of Integrate, a provider of cloud-based solutions that improve the efficiency of Oracle Eloqua customers’ marketing programs, as well as the founder of Wish of a Lifetime, a nonprofit organization helping to make the wishes of senior citizens come true. Integrate was the Oracle Applications Cloud partner of the month in October of 2014.


Part 1: The Path to Startup

Q: With all the opportunities available to you after your successful athletic career, why did you decide to co-found Integrate?

I dabbled in local real estate—buying places and renting them out—while attending the University of Colorado. When I played for the Philadelphia Eagles, the NFL offered a program for players to take MBA courses at Kellogg, Stanford, Harvard, or Wharton. I started attending classes at Wharton because I knew it would be a great opportunity to learn from some of the best professors in the world. I found myself drawn to one professor, Peter Linneman, who had started a private equity firm investing in unentitled land. He became a mentor to me so I’d come in after practice and watch him raise capital from institutional investors. That got me thinking about internet startups and the next thing you know I got the bug to start an internet company.

I didn’t plunge right in at first because I was well aware that pro athletes have this blind spot. We think we can do anything if we put our mind to it but the X’s and O’s of the startup and investing games are very different than what we’re used to. Often times players lose a lot of money.

So after my athletic career was over, I joined a startup and was running customer acquisition demand generation marketing. I lived the pain because, at the time, there was no software solution to automate demand generation and centralize leads across all these sources. Consequently, I left and started Integrate. We raised venture capital and now have over 85 employees.

Q: What has your personal startup journey been like?

My startup experience has been very similar to my experience in athletics. I’m the type of person that sets a big goal and then I picture climbing a mountain. Sometimes it’s climbing Mt Everest. I get my blinders on. When I climb those mountains, I know it’s going to be two steps forward, one step back. It’s this idea that you’re always dealing with adversity and setbacks and I am motivated by the challenge of overcoming them. The most successful people I’ve ever been around are the people that deal with setbacks, adversity, or failure exceptionally well. They never allow themselves to lose confidence or let that define them. They take in the data. They don’t over-emotionalize it. They allow it to adjust their plan. I’ve constantly experienced setbacks but I would call them more lessons and data to process and learn from.

Part 2: On a Mission With Oracle

Part 3: Modern Best Practice for Marketing and Jeremy's Other Startup



Jim Lein

Modern Best Practice exploits new capabilities made possible by cloud, mobile, social, analytics, big data, and the internet of things, 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.

Friday Feb 06, 2015

Random Thoughts on Digital Transformation by IDC’s Michael Fauscette

I just read “Some Random Thoughts on Software, Business and Digital Transformation” by IDC’s Michael Fauscette. We did a webcast with him a year ago, "Modernize Your Enterprise With ERP in The Cloud".  Many of his thoughts in this piece—offered in lieu of predictions for 2015—echo what I’m told are priorities by customers, partners, and other members of Oracle’s communities.

I’ll point out several examples relating to CX and HR from his self-professed random-ordered list…

“1. Customer experience (CX) strategies are more important than ever.”

Fauscette states, "There is a lot of budget being spent, the results are mixed, many customers are not seeing results but some companies are winning big by ‘getting it right’” and identifies a long list of challenges that include:

  • Data and system silos
  • Poor workforce management
  • Outdated business process for sales, marketing, and service
  • Lack of executive support

“2. The nature of getting work done is changing”

He reminds readers of his past work, “a whole thread around sourcing — hiring — training — retaining the modern workforce that is connected to social technologies and better employee experiences” which I’m thinking alludes to his series on disruption in today’s workforce.

“5. Cloud is simply the way businesses consume new technologies and forms the foundation of the new business platform.”

Fauscette points out that cloud is now not some “new edge technology” and that “companies are increasingly accepting and utilizing the cloud for IT modernization and business competitive advantage”.

Maybe you already know the importance of modern CX and HR solutions. Maybe you’re company is setting the standards for modern CX practices and could write the book on talent sourcing and management. Or maybe you know the importance but haven’t yet crafted your strategies. 

But when you’re ready, know that Oracle provides a wealth of information to help you build your CX and HR strategies based on Modern Best Practices for marketing, sales, service, and HR & talent.


Jim Lein

Modern Best Practice exploits new capabilities made possible by cloud, mobile, social, analytics, big data, and the internet of things, 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 Jan 21, 2015

A Lost iPhone & Digital Transformation


Tuesday evening I was crossing the golf course at dusk after hiking in the adjacent open space. One second WUMB was streaming from the 3+ year old iPhone 4 tucked in my jacket pocket and the next there was only the sound of snow crunching beneath my boots. I reached for my phone and discovered that the pocket was unzipped. I clicked on my headlamp and searched the powdery snow in the gathering darkness. Not a trace.

I had been pick-pocketed by a Yeti!

Expectations Exceeded Without Begging 

The next day, Wednesday, I didn't feel naked without my smartphone but I'll admit it felt a bit like walking around in my boxers. So at about noon, I logged into the AT&T Premier Business store via our self service procurement app and completed my iPhone 6 order in about 3 minutes. 5 minutes later I received an alert that my manager in England, 4,600 miles away had approved the order. I figured I'd let the process run its course and call first thing Thursday to open an AT&T live chat window and throw myself at their mercy to expedite my order.

Meanwhile, unbeknownst to me, here's what was transpiring behind the scenes:


I found this out first thing Thursday morning when I saw the email notification. No, a drone didn’t drop the package on the deck of my mountain home at 9:15 a.m. but at 2:34 p.m. the FedEx driver backed down my icy driveway, tossed my rez dog a biscuit, and handed me my new phone.

My FedEx HeroI was delighted, especially considering it takes four days to get a plumber to show. But I shared this story with co-workers on our internal social network and pretty much got cyber yawns in response. After all, as they pointed out, my experience was simply proper execution of a role based, rules driven, and standard procurement process made possible by enabling technologies.

Oracle customers do this kind of stuff all the time.

Digital Transformation and Modern Best Practice

Both AT&T and FedEx are long time Oracle customers who continually refine and update their processes and leverage enabling technologies to maintain leadership in highly competitive industries.

Companies, big and small, that are embracing digital transformation and adopting Modern Best Practice have the power to make “magic’ look commonplace.

Learn more about Modern Best Practice and how Oracle can help your company transform in order to delight your customers. 






Learn More About Oracle and Midsize


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Jim Lein

Modern Best Practice exploits new capabilities made possible by cloud, mobile, social, analytics, big data, and the internet of things, 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 Jan 12, 2015

Big League Talent: Every Business Needs It


Well, it happened again. The Broncos fall short three years in a row in trying to win a Super Bowl with Peyton Manning at the helm. Granted, during that long spell of mediocrity between the Elway and Manning eras, Broncos fans would have been ecstatic to win a division title*. But Elway’s artful acquisition of arguably the best quarterback ever set the bar higher. Much, much higher.

This week, the Monday morning quarterbacks will be working overtime debating whether the Broncos can take another run at it with Manning. And whether Coach Fox is the man to guide the ship. Also, there is a looming dread associated with the anticipated exodus of talent at many key positions.

When it comes to acquiring, retaining, and managing talent, much can be learned from the major leagues...

says Pamela Stroko, Vice President, HCM Transformation and Thought Leadership at Oracle. Last fall, Stroko took the time to author this article, “Talent Lessons From the Major Leagues”. Drawing on her experiences as year round sports fanatic and an expert on talent, Stroko shares her insight on lessons every HR professional must learn:

  1. Make sure you have high performing talent in every role
  2. Performance matters—understand what you are buying
  3. It is never a great idea to throw your talent under the bus
  4. Hire for fit as well as for skill, capability, and smarts.

Download the full article to get the details.

Meanwhile, Colorado sports fans will regroup and look for some optimism for the future of our teams but that’s some tough fat to chew on. The Rockies never have the pitching they need. The Nuggets are unlikely to acquire that top 15 player that the NBA now requires to win a title. The Avalanche are hovering at .500. Good things is, we’re a pretty happy state and we’ve got plenty of other things to do.

Come Super Bowl Sunday, you can find me on the slopes of Loveland Ski Area. I won’t be in a hurry to get home in time for kickoff.

*yes, Orton and Tebow accomplished that feat but everyone knew they were overachieving and that the team didn’t’ have the talent to go deep in the playoffs.



Executive Insight Series

This new series features executive insight from Oracle, customer, partner, and third party thought leaders and is focused on Modern Best Practice.  Modern Best Practice exploits new capabilities made possible by cloud, mobile, social, analytics, big data, and the internet of things, 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.

Previous posts:


Jim Lein

Oracle Applications Business Unit 

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

Tuesday Dec 16, 2014

Career Paths: No Regrets?

No, this isn't a picture of Jim Lein

When did you know what you wanted to be when you grew up?

High School? College? Still pondering that question? Do you have any regrets about your career choices?

Generally I don’t have regrets because a) they serve no purpose and b) every choice has a ripple effect. For example, had I not chose to be a low paid ski bum in my twenties I never would have met my wife.

After reading this piece by Bernard Marr, Career Choices You Will Regret In 20 Years, I took a few minutes to reflect on my own career choices. I had 5 careers before settling in to the enterprise software industry for the last 16 years. Happily, I can say that I have not experienced the example regrets Marr offers but for one. And I’m not gonna tell you which one it is.

Today’s workforce—and future workforce—seems to know what it wants. For example, the 2013 National Society of High School Scholars Millennial Career Survey showed that respondents—primarily primarily female (68%) and current high school students (61%)—know what they want most from their future employers.

The responses reflect a maturity of thought and awareness that certainly didn’t exist amongst most of my generation. When I was in high school, I don’t know that I could have even answered these survey questions. My parents always told me, “You can be anything you want to be?”. And my reply was always, “Great. What do I want to be?”

Granted, the life experiences young people go through after they leave high school that will influence their career decisions. Not everyone can be a high paid doctor or engineer. But I’m hoping they keep those values and aspirations in place as they enter the workforce.

In any case, companies that succeed in hiring the best talent today are those who best understand what today’s workforce wants. If you’re talent sourcing, onboarding, and management processes don’t exploit enabling technologies—social, mobile, analytics, big data, IoT—then chances are you’re fighting an uphill battle when it comes to hiring and retaining the best talent.

Here’s a short video explaining how modern HR in the cloud can help you adopt Modern Best Practice for HR and Talent Management.


Learn more:

Oracle.com: Is Your HRMS Attracting a Modern Workforce?

Oracle.com: Adopt Modern Best Practice for HR & Talent



Jim Lein

Modern Best Practice exploits new capabilities made possible by cloud, mobile, social, analytics, big data, and the internet of things, 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.

Friday Dec 12, 2014

Generate More Value From Finance

When I was controller for a chain of six Colorado ski shops, there were very clear expectations of my role. Primarily, I was expected to be accurate, reliable, and the bastion of honesty and integrity in a world of misfits and scallywags.  In the last decade, we've seen how some CFOs have busted out of the stereotypical role of head bean counter to expand their roles, many times to include IT and HR oversight. The response has been, "Congratulations. Now deliver more". 

In this performance.cfo.com article, 4 Ways to Generate More Value as CFO, Bill Budicin of The Keystone Group urges CFOs to, "Expand your thinking and your role. Value is about exceeding expectations. Closing the books in three to five days without error is an expectation in today's environment. You have to do more to really generate valuer in your organization".

Budicin offers several tangible ways to generate value:

  • "Restructure the way IT interacts with the rest of the organization...try creating a new process for requesting reports out of IT that includes documenting the decision being made, information needed to maket hte decision, and the data needed to provide the information."
  • "Help devise the metrics that will measure the progress of those initiatives. Think about how to communicate those metrics to the rest of the organization."
  • "Help your company identify all investment-related activities and rethink not only ROI targets but also the total amount you want to spend on these initiatives."

If you agree, my question to you is,"Do your current IT systems support new ways of generating value from finance?"

I'd bet the answer is "no" if those systems don't exploit the enabling technologies of cloud, social, mobile, analytics, big data, and IoT.

Whether you're researching solutions, crafting an RFQ, or in the selection process, Oracle can provide resources to help you understand how adopting Modern Best Practices that exploit these technologies will assist you in delivering more value from your finance organization.

Learn more about Modern Best Practice for Finance, HR & Talent, Procurement, Marketing, Sales, and Service


Jim Lein

Modern Best Practice exploits new capabilities made possible by cloud, mobile, social, analytics, big data, and the internet of things, 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 Dec 10, 2014

Disruption: Are Hot Brands Breaking the Rules?


Many of today’s hottest, disruptive ideas are being championed by companies that are questioning why we’ve done things exactly the same way for so long. Disruptive strategies often bring accusations of not playing fair. However, most of the time the goals of these companies are not to eliminate the traditional ways of doing business but rather to either fill a need that is not being met ande/or simply offer alternatives.

The peer-to-peer lending service, Lending Club (an Oracle Finance Cloud customer), is going public this week and causing quite a stir since the fundamentals of bank lending haven’t changed much in about 4,000 years. Lending Club is a company to watch because, as this Inc. article states, “Can entrepreneurs succeed in disrupting the highly-regulated, highly-consolidated, highly-technical--and, let's admit it, often highly-boring--financial industry?”

Airbnb, an Oracle Responsys Marketing Cloud customer, isn’t planning on running Marriott or Sheraton out of business. But the concept of making it safe and easy to rent a room from a homeowner has opened doors to new travel experiences for millions of people. Yes, Airbnb rooms may (or may not) be less expensive than hotel brands. However, customers are just as likely to use Airbnb because, for example, they decided at the last minute to attend Oracle OpenWorld in San Francisco and all the hotels are booked up. Or, maybe they want to experience Brooklyn more as a local than as a tourist.

Likewise, ridesharing services such as Lyft (an Oracle HCM Cloud customer) aren’t trying to empty all the taxi cabs. Their goal is to make getting from point A to point B an easier and more pleasurable (at at least less painful) experience. When’s the last time you said, “I just had the best taxi ride experience”? With Lyft, you ride shotgun. I rest my case. And, with Lyft Line, they are addressing the fact that about 75% of all commuters in the United States are in single occupant vehicles (105 million cars).

To some people, one or more of these companies may not be playing fair. But you know what they say… “Rules are made to be broken”.


Jim Lein

Modern Best Practice exploits new capabilities made possible by cloud, mobile, social, analytics, big data, and the internet of things, 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 Dec 08, 2014

Cloud Solutions Drive Real Results

New Video Showcases What Modern Means to Oracle Cloud Customers

Oracle released a short (2:34) compilation video today featuring rapid fire snippets of customer testimonials. Each customer, in their own words, describes benefits their company has realized by deploying Oracle cloud applications and adopting Modern Best Practice. Modern Best Practice exploits new capabilities made possible by cloud, mobile, social, analytics, big data, and the internet of things, 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.

Here are a few highlights. Click on the image to view additional videos featuring each customer's story:





Go to Oracle’s customer and partner successes home page to see more customer videos.


Jim Lein

Modern Best Practice exploits new capabilities made possible by cloud, mobile, social, analytics, big data, and the internet of things, 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 Dec 03, 2014

Modern Best Practice, Growth, & Digital Transformation


Why Best Practice May Not Be Good Enough

Steve Cox, VP, Oracle Applications Business UnitEvery software vendor touts their ability to deliver best practice. However, best practice isn’t really best practice if it’s not “Modern Best Practice” and doesn’t exploit enabling technologies such as cloud, mobile, and social. So says Steve Cox, Vice President, Oracle Applications Business Unit, who recently authored an eBook, Modern Best Practice Explained to articulate why only modern best practice good enough.

Q: In your new eBook, you say it’s standardizing that matters. Why is that so important?

SRC: Standardization drives demonstrable results. Standardization has its roots in Henry Ford’s assembly line and Deming’s Total Quality Management. More than a decade ago, one of the key factors in Oracle increase of profits by over $1 billion was standardizing on a common set of business processes.

And standardization is just as relevant today in the age of digital transformation. Every organization that wants to thrive and grow must look at every process and transaction to see if it can be performed digitally. The goals are the same as they have always been—cut costs and improve the consistency of your customers’ experience in a world where buyer behavior is constantly changing due to technology.

Q: How does standardizing on Modern Best Practice help organizations digital transform?

SRC: With digital transformation as the destination, you must ask, “What are we going to standardize on to arrive at that destination?” Modern Best Practice harnesses the enabling tools that are essential to any digital transformation journey—cloud, social, analytics, big data, mobile, and IoT. Modern Best Practice can provide the turn by turn directions on the road to digital transformation. For example, it can serve as an illustrated guide to executing on a social relationship management strategy that not only makes it possible to comprehensively listen to and better engage with customers and prospects on their preferred social networks but to also extend those practices beyond marketing and throughout the entire organization.

Q: Why publish Modern Best Practice on oracle.com?

SRC: Oracle is committed to open standards. That pledge includes not only a commitment to build comprehensive solutions that enable our customers to execute end to end business processes but also the promise to share our knowledge. With our new Modern Best Practice pages, we’re sharing that knowledge together with practical guides to adopting modern ways of doing business.

Q: Which emerging technologies will be next in drive towards Modern Best Practice?

One Retailer's Sales Dwarfs USA Black Friday SalesThere are many. Widespread adoption of devices like indoor positioning systems will trigger new practices for proximity based marketing. Moving to in memory analytics will enable organizations of all sizes to do data analysis they always wanted to do but couldn’t due to system performance issues. Less expensive and more powerful hardware will make it possible for organizations to process more transactions to generate incremental profit at peak times. Adopting IT systems that align with the way people do business will expand to supporting new devices so someone like me can, for example, approve an expense claim on my watch during a long distance trail run. And just the imagine the impact on food producers’ and manufacturers’ production and supply chains as 3D printing evolves.

Q: What’s next for Modern Best Practice?

SRC: Oracle has vast resources of knowledge and we’re just getting started in sharing that in our Modern Best Practice format. Next up, we�������ll be publishing more content on commerce, sales performance, transportation, project lifecycle management, and projects. We’re continually adding more solution demos, relevant whitepapers, and executive level insight to help our customers understand how Modern Best Practice can be their guide to business transformation.



Jim Lein

Modern Best Practice exploits new capabilities made possible by cloud, mobile, social, analytics, big data, and the internet of things, 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.

Startup Lessons: Go Big or Go Home

For every startup that succeeds, about nine fail. A recent Inc.com article by Kimberly Weisul, What Went Wrong: 101 Failed Startups Tell All, analyzes extensive post mortem data collected by CB Insights to find five primary causes of failure:

  • No market need—43%
  • Ran out of cash—29%
  • Not the right team—33%
  • Got outcompeted—19%
  • Pricing/cost issues—18%

It’s mission critical for aspiring to analyze why businesses fail but it’s equally important to get advice from successful entrepreneurs. Reggie Bradford is Oracle’s SVP of Product Development for Oracle Social Relationship Management (SRM). Prior to joining Oracle, he was involved in three successful startups, most recently Vitrue which was purchased by Oracle in 2012 and is now a key component of our SRM suite.

In this Forbes article, 8 Lessons In Creating A Lasting Enterprise Startup, Reggie shares his experience of what it takes to not just succeed as a startup but to launch a company, “that can scale to work with the largest brands in the world. No mom-and-pop strategies here—go big or go home”.

A great idea and impeccably crafted business plan is not enough. Success requires passion, perfect team chemistry, embracing risk, continual adjusting (even pivoting) and even support from family.

It’s easy to forget that Oracle was once a startup too, with a garage as our first corporate HQ. Since 1977, we’ve helped thousands of entrepreneurs transform ideas into enduring enterprises. Oracle’s startup customers understand the need to choose technology partners that offer solutions that will continue to meet their needs as they grow and thrive.



Learn more:

Video: Solairus Aviation Soars with Oracle ERP Cloud Service

Blog: Lyft Chooses Oracle HCM Cloud to Adopt Modern Best Practice

Video: Q-See Improves Customer Satisfaction with Oracle Service Cloud


Jim Lein

Modern Best Practice exploits new capabilities made possible by cloud, mobile, social, analytics, big data, and the internet of things, 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 Dec 02, 2014

Social Sourcing: Head and Shoulders Above Online Recruiting

Why rudimentary online recruiting is not good enough.

I ran across this article today in The Guardian. It offers a great insight into why rudimentary "online recruiting" is far from best practice for companies who expected it to be a panacea to their talent sourcing woes.

As the article states, "Many small business owners hailed the rise of online jobs sites, which have become ever more sophisticated; it beat the previous convention of placing an ad in a local newspaper. But now even the online jobs sites have become a bewildering thicket of missed connections and archived resumes, lacking useful filtering mechanisms that time-pressed CEOs may need."

A strategy of relying on on line job boards and manually searches of social networks such as LinkedIn is likely to produce exponentially more candidates of lower quality than archaic, pre-internet recruiting processes. Socially powered referrals enabled by Oracle Talent Acquisition Cloud offer companies of all sizes the ability to adopt Modern Best practice for Recruiting.

Read more in my recent blog post featuring Richard Atkins, EVP of Cloud Solutions, for Oracle partner Certus Solutions, Recruiting Via Social Sourcing and Viral Job Sharing. 



Jim Lein

Modern Best Practice exploits new capabilities made possible by cloud, mobile, social, analytics, big data, and the internet of things, 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 18, 2014

Recruiting via Social Sourcing and Viral Job Sharing

What’s the First Thing You’d Do If You Were Looking for a Job?

A conversation about modern talent sourcing with Richard Atkins, EVP of Certus Solutions

by Jim Lein, Oracle 

Not that I’m looking for a new job…but if I were, I’d do two things. First, I’d tell everyone I know. Second, I’d make sure all my social profiles are putting my best foot forward. I came to those conclusions after my recent conversation with Richard Atkins, EVP of Oracle Cloud Applications at Certus Solutions. Certus Solutions is the UK Oracle User Group (UKOUG) Fusion Applications and Training Partner of the Year for 2014.

I’d take those two steps because I’d want it to be easy for the right company to find me. That “right” company would be one that has adopted Modern Best Practice across their operations, exploiting social, cloud, mobile, analytics, big data, and the Internet of Things to achieve more, faster and with fewer resources.

“Today, progressive companies are winning the battle for best talent by proactively searching their employees’ extended social networks for best fit candidates,” says Atkins. “Gone are the days when recruiting departments spent most of their time writing up job descriptions, posting them on job boards and with agencies, and then sitting around waiting for candidates to apply.”

Beyond LinkedIn to Social Powered Referrals

Social networks have been the sandbox for recruiters for quite some time but modern talent sourcing solutions like Oracle Talent Acquisition Cloud are taking what once was an art to what is now more of a science.

“Recruiting the best talent is getting more and more challenging so the most successful companies are recruiting all the time,” says Atkins. “Manually searching LinkedIn profiles is certainly better than the old way of doing things but it’s definitely not modern best practice. Referrals are a far more powerful way and that’s where the automation capabilities of social sourcing solutions really come into their own.”

A successful referral strategy starts with encouraging all existing employees to build out their social networks. Once a job profile is created, an automated sourcing solution can be used to first look for employees who fit that profile and send them a link in case they might be interested. Concurrently, that solution will troll through employees’ social networks and find other people that fit the ideal profile. When matches are found, emails are sent to employees who are connected to the candidates, asking them to refer the job to those qualified candidates. And, as Atkins points out, “The automated solution identifies candidates that may be good matches even if they’re not looking for a new job.”

Scary? No…Scary Good

Trolling your employees’ social networks might sound a little scary. But automated sourcing tools are not tyrannical cyber monsters with minds of their own. They can only use information you give them access to.

“You control they automation,” says Atkins. “You determine the keywords and set the parameters. You tell the system how many candidates to return to you. Maybe you start off with sharing one job profile with just a couple of employees and politely nudging them. ‘Hey… we notice that you are linked to these people. They look like they would be great candidates.’”

With Taleo Social Sourcing, once candidates are identified and apply, they are moved more quickly and efficiently through the selection process. First, referrals are assigned to different categories than people who randomly apply. And, since candidates have already been screened via their social profiles and relationships, you can ask applicants to answer just a few rules-based questions that generate talent pools within the system. That helps identify who you would consider to be star candidates.

“It’s viral job sharing that you control,” says Atkins. “It’s developing a recruiting network that builds up within the system on itself. Candidates that apply become part of the network, automatically spreading your recruiting net wider. Everything is tracked automatically, providing analytics about people who are being referred and who your top referrers are. There’s no real limit how far that can go.”


Learn more

Register for the EMEA Building Better Businesses Webcast Series 

Modern Best Practice for HR and Talent Management


Jim Lein

Modern Best Practice exploits new capabilities made possible by cloud, mobile, social, analytics, big data, and the internet of things, 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 04, 2014

Lyft Chooses Oracle HCM Cloud to Adopt Modern Best Practice

San Francisco has one of those good news/bad news problems. Just about everyone has a job. That’s good news for everyone with bills to pay but potentially bad news if you’re job is to hire and retain top talent.

Such is the situation for Ron Storn, VP of People at San Francisco-based ride-sharing and revolutionary startup—Lyft. Storn was recently an executive customer speaker in an Oracle OpenWorld session devoted to strategies for adopting Modern Best Practice in high-growth organizations. Modern Best Practice exploits new capabilities made possible by emerging technologies—Cloud, Mobile, Analytics, Social, The Internet of Things, and Big Data—to enable organizations to achieve more, faster and with less resources. Lyft’s core business model is predicated on those technologies.

Every day, hundreds of thousands of people facing the dilemma of getting from Point A to Point B simply tap a button on Lyft’s mobile app and a friendly Lyft driver pulls up to the curb in a matter of minutes. For Storn, the challenge of finding talent is a bit more difficult but he’ll soon have help from Oracle’s HCM Cloud solutions.

“Our mission is to change transportation as we know it by building a peer-to-peer transit solution that works with cities to make them safer, more affordable, and better connected,” says Storn. “That now includes providing commuters with a daily transportation option—like Lyft Line—that connects passengers traveling along similar routes, a solution that has incredible potential to decrease traffic congestion and green house gas emissions.”

Hyper Growth Amplifies Onboarding Challenges

Lyft, like most growing companies, needs top talent to achieve its lofty goals. The company now operates in more than 65 cities and plans to go global in 2015. In September of 2013 Lyft had about 100 employees. A year later they had more than 350.

“Competition for talent is fierce. Speed is critical,” says Storn. “We offer the type of work environment that attracts individuals that really want to have an impact yet they’re not really sure where that impact should best be applied. Our goals are to find an initial home for those individuals and then have the ability to monitor HR analytics that map their journey. The strategy is to understand what their capabilities and interests are and then realign those skills over time.”

With hyper growth, Lyft has found it increasingly difficult to onboard talent efficiently. Over time, they have developed a number of one off HR solutions that are “scrappy”, as Storn says, but not scalable. He equates it with, “being on a 747 that’s in the air and building an engine as you’re flying.”

As an analytic-driven executive, Storn required the new HCM system to be a robust, scalable solution that would help establish one platform that all managers and HR staff could use as a stepping stone to managing the workforce. Among its numerous shortcomings, Lyft’s old HR systems didn’t have tools to pull data to align employees to the right teams.

“Our approach to building our business is to launch and iterate,” says Storn. “We hire smart, talented individuals. We need the predictive analytics in Oracle HCM Cloud to identify, for example, an individual who has been rated as having great potential but has been flagged as underperforming in their last review. That will enable us to proactively deal with an issue before it’s too late. That kind of learning and alignment tool will help us become a great attraction for hiring talent hiring and for retaining people by keeping them engaged.”

Although a robust system was a core requirement in the selection process, Storn also recognized that Lyft’s business is not yet so complex or scaled to the point that they need everything that Oracle HCM Cloud has to offer all at once.

“Part of the reason Oracle was attractive to us is that we can actually pick and choose the modules that work for our company today,” says Storn. “Since we are starting from the ground floor, we deploy just a couple of modules first to get us off the ground. Oracle’s solutions are very adaptable in that regard.”

Outcomes

Storn is confident that Oracle Cloud HCM will provide the tools to properly manage current and future employees in a well-rounded way. The planning process for solution adoption has helped executives and managers take stock of and analyze Lyft’s HR needs. Oracle HCM Cloud will integrate and streamline Lyft’s processes by providing a consolidated space for most of their HR portals as well as a database of compliance information relative to employees.

“Having the ability to be nimble, proactive, and preparatory helps stabilize our company,” says Storn. “We will be better equipped to provide an exemplary work environment that will contribute to employee loyalty and further establish Lyft as a leader and model of the start-up world.”


Read more: Ron Storn and Lyft featured in Oracle Profit Magazine Q&A




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