Friday Apr 10, 2015

Preparing For Your Journey to ERP Cloud

Karen dela Torre, VP of the ERP applications business group at Oracle, offers practical ERP Cloud deployment advice in her recent Forbes OracleVoice post, Safe Passage to the Cloud: 5 Best Practices for Cloud Implementation.

"Much has been written recently about the benefits of moving ERP to the cloud, and CFOs are embracing the cloud in growing numbers," writes dela Torre. "Yet the move also presents challenges, and there are only a small number of vendors and system integrators with experience in this area."

#3 on her list is Embrace Standard Best Practices Already in the Application. Based on her extensive experience working with ERP Cloud adopters, dela Torre advises,

"If all you want is to migrate your old, on-premises processes to the cloud, then you’re not really getting all the benefits of a modern ERP cloud. Of course every company will have some unique processes, and you should look for a vendor that can provide the tools you need to personalize your cloud."

Oracle provides extensive free resources-including thought leadership, how to advice, customer experiences-to help your organization adopt Modern Best Practice.

Get started by exploring Modern Best Practice for Finance:


Jim Lein

Oracle for Midsize Businesses

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 Apr 09, 2015

Life at Oracle Rocks: Supporting a Diverse and Talented Workforce

I stumbled across this video Life at Oracle: Jane Glasgow - Loves to Rock in which Jane talks about her experiences as an Oracle employee and as lead singer in her band, Scope Creep, the all-Oracle employee unofficial house band. I had to chuckle because, thanks to Oracle (albeit indirectly), I’m in a band too.

After commuting to Denver for 20 years—an hour each way best case scenario—I became a home based Feral Worker in 2007. The flexibility and freedom associated with this transition directly lead to my being able to hang out at the local open mic on Thursday evenings, something I could only have dreamed of back when I was commuting. Hanging out at open mic almost always leads to being in band. Just ask Head and the Heart.

Oracle’s business processes leverage enabling technologies to support a diverse, mobile, and talented workforce. My team is spread across about a dozen global time zones but we are connected 24/7/365 with our collaborative social network, live chat, video conferencing, and even old fashioned email.  All on our smartphones, tablets, and laptops. We work hard and play hard and sometimes those lives overlap.

If you’re ever in Evergreen, stop by the legendary Little Bear Saloon. There’s a good chance the Mumblin’ Cousins will be playing there.

Learn more about Life at Oracle

Explore our free resources to help your organization adopt Modern Best Practice 


Jim Lein

Oracle for Midsize Businesses

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 Apr 08, 2015

Cloud, Mobility, Analytics in EMEA Update: Spring Edition Oracle One Magazine


I learned a few new things before 8 a.m. today. That's because I read the Spring 2015 edition of Oracle One Magazine, our EMEA-focused quarterly publication that covers topics of interest to midsize organizations.

  • Adoption of cloud solutions in EMEA lags behind adoption in the US
  • The primary driver of cloud adoption in EMEA is different than the primary driver in the US
  • Globally, enterprises expect to boost mobile-related IT expenses by more than 50 % in the next two years 

As Steve Fearon, Oracle's VP of applications for midsize enterprises in western Europe, stated in my interview with him in February, that " to seize those growth opportunities, companies need to exploit SMAC—social, mobile, analytics, cloud—because it has radically changed how technology is applied to business processes."

Oracle Modern Best Practice helps companies of all sizes do just that. Shaped by the latest technology, Modern Best Practice articulates how you execute to achieve consistently superior results.

Learn more here: 



Jim Lein

Oracle for Midsize Businesses

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 Apr 02, 2015

The Best Marketing Video I've Ever Seen: Marketing Automation

OK, to be fair, I guess it's really the best marketing video I've seen for an Oracle product.

I've been scoping a new video to promote the free resources Oracle provides to help companies adopt Modern Best Practice. As part of that exercise, I've been reviewing videos. Lots of videos.

Here' s the video I'm talking about, a promotion for Oracle Eloqua Marketing Automation. It's longer than most videos these days but it held my attention because it is interactive, funny, and informative. Sounds like my wife's idea of a perfect date before she met me.

The only things I didn't like:

  1. I couldn't pause the video

  2. Darrel looks 63, not 43

  3. The dig about Darrel deciding to become an alpaca rancher instead of a chicken farmer ("You're better than that, Darrel"). As an aspiring llama rancher, I took umbrage to that (admittedly, not too much). 

Watch the video and let me know what you think.

I briefly considered sharing examples of the worst marketing videos I'd ever seen but decided that idea was fraught with peril.

There's a link at the bottom of the page during the video to skip to additional resources. I might also suggest you explore our Modern Best Practice for Marketing resources.



Jim Lein

Oracle for Midsize Businesses

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 Apr 01, 2015

Seamless Finance, Projects, & HR Cloud: Solairus Aviation


I admit it…I have a hankering to fly on a private jet. The cushy leather seats, internet TV tuned to a Warren Miller ski flick, and a personal flight attendant serving me a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale with a side of Colorado’s Beau Jo’s pizza.

I’ve often pondered such a scenario from the balcony of the room we reserve at the Marriott McDowell Mountain Ranch every Thanksgiving. It’s right on the flight path for the Scottsdale Airport so I get to watch all sorts of small aircraft land and takeoff.

Watch the videoI’ve also pondered the business side of private jets ever since I chatted with a couple of corporate pilots in the lobby of the Hyatt Boston Harbor. They set me straight about the challenges of keeping owners happy.

That’s why this Oracle customer video for caught my eye. Solairus Aviation’s CFO Mark Dennen articulates clearly what Modern Best Practice means for his growing midsize business.



Jim Lein

Oracle for Midsize Businesses

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 Mar 30, 2015

Bad Vision Can be Devasting: Sales Strategies

Have you ever made a bad decision because you could only see outdated or incomplete information? What were the consequences of that(those) bad decision(s)?

  • Fewer than 50% of firms currently provide mobile access to critical sales and customer information
  • An estimated 27% of customer data will change this year.
Those are just two amazing facts presented in this Oracle infographic.

Most likely, sales is one of the last places you want decisions being made based on bad information. You can have the best sales force on the planet and still not be as efficient as competitors who exploit enabling technologies to make it possible for sales reps, managers, and executives to see accurate information in real time on any device. 

Explore the free resources Oracle offers to help you craft the most effective practices for Sales.


Jim Lein

Oracle for Midsize Businesses

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.

Friday Mar 27, 2015

Is Your Digital Transformation Stalled?


Digital Transformation is more popular than Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper movies are right now and that's saying something. Organizations that exploit the enabling technologies of cloud, analytics, social, mobile, Big Data, and IoT are running circles around their competition in their self-driving cars.

But not every organization is rocketing down the digital highway and I believe the culprit is the lack of a good navigation system.

Read the rest of my guest post in the Oracle Cloud Solutions blog.  


Jim Lein

Oracle for Midsize Businesses

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 Mar 25, 2015

Is Your Social Strategy Light On Its Feet?


Strategists at social media platform providers are adjusting their tactics in real time. Are you doing the same with your Social Relationship Management (SRM) strategy? More importantly, do you even have an SRM strategy?

Listening to what your extended community—customers, prospects, partners, employees, analysts, media—is saying about your brand on social media isn’t a once a year task.And reviewing your social media content strategy on a quarterly basis is soooo 1990’s.Personally, I learn something every day whether I’m trying to or not.

Even if you have a mature SRM strategy, it might be a good time to do a gut check and consider why you’re in social media in the first place.

Consider how Reggie Bradford, Oracle’s SVP of SRM development, answered this question when I interviewed him for my blog awhile back:


To learn more on getting started with SRM or fine tuning your current strategy, download Reggie’s new eBook, Modern Best Practice for the Social Business.




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 Mar 20, 2015

Is Your IT IPO Ready?


Oracle just published Preparing to Go Public: IPO Readiness Best Practice Guide featuring insight and advice from Oracle customer executives and Steve Hobbs, Managing Director at Protiviti. Protiviti is a global business consulting and internal audit firm composed of experts specializing in risk, advisory, and transaction services. 

This brief focuses on the role IT plays in IPO readiness. As Hobbs states,

"First and foremost, you must have the ability to scale the business, and that means making certain that you have the information systems in place that allow you to scale. Companies also need to consider the process side of the business. Among other things, you need to have mature governance, internal controls, and processes around critical areas such as security and privacy.”

Here are the 4 Best Practices for Modern Finance IPO Readiness discussed in the brief: 

  1. Establish IT Governance and Processes that Enable Growth
  2. Plan for Future Growth
  3. Establish a Systematic and Disciplined Financial Close Process
  4. Replace Spreadsheets with Modern Planning, Budgeting, and Forecasting Applications

For more on this subject, read my interview with Lenley Hensarling, former GVP of Oracle JD Edwards and now an independent operating partner with Peak Equity Partners, entitled Equity funding for your buyout, startup, spinoff?


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 Mar 13, 2015

Personalize Your Cloud

It’s OK to get excited about moving your applications to the cloud and the promise of having newfound abilities to personalize everything. But its not OK to let that enthusiasm gloss over platform challenges.

Cost conscious midsize companies need to drill down past the pretty demo and consider the big picture when choosing SaaS solutions, including the availability and cost of resources to build extensions or integrations.

Oracle is unique in our ability to support cloud strategies from the bottom up with standards-based solutions for IaaS, PaaS, DaaS, and SaaS.

Here's a short (2 min) video that will give you some food for thought.


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 Mar 09, 2015

Equity funding for your buyout, startup, spinoff? Executive Insight from Lenley Hensarling Part 3

Lenley Hensarling, past GVP and GM of Oracle JD Edwards, provides due diligence and advisory services to private equity and venture capital firms. He is currently engaged as an independent operating partner for Peak Equity Partners. He has over 30 years experience developing engineering and go-to-market strategies for software companies.

Part 1: What qualities do you look for in potential investment opportunities?

Part 2:  What happens after a company receives a capital infusion?


Part 3

Q: How does Oracle fit into the picture?

Oracle is showing their commitment to investing in cloud solutions. Cloud is driving the disaggregation of software that enables you to decide what specific problems you want to address with subscription based solutions and buy only what you need now knowing that you can buy more later when you need it.

I’ve always been a big fan of encouraging smaller companies to put better systems in place. The cloud and subscription models have made more sophisticated software and more complete solutions available to a much broader set of companies. It used to be that you would say, “You have to be this big before you can put really good financial systems in place”, or “You have to be another step up before you can really start to think about tying sales, marketing, services all together and managing both quality of that and the flow of revenue from the field in that way”.

But now you can decide to be as sophisticated as you need to be to run your business in the right way from the get-go. It’s not a big burdensome thing of putting in a big IT shop. You wind up with companies with a guy who’s running IT part time and the rest of the time providing internal IT support to the development group. These days that development platform might wind up being a Platform as a Service play.

Q: You told me that you moved down valley from Park City to Heber City because, “The fishing season is longer than the ski season”. Tell me a good fish story.

This year I started getting into steelheading. They’re big trout—10 pounds or more—that go out to sea for two years, come back in through northwestern rivers, and swim up river to spawn. My wife loves to fish too so we go on a fishing trip every year for our anniversary. When I told her—I mean suggested—that we were going steelheading this year, she said, “I don’t’ know if I want to do that. It’s a whole new way of casting. I’ll just bring my fly rod.”

The guide convinced her to give it a try and the second morning out she caught a huge fish. That trip, I caught 1 small fish and she caught 2 huge trophy fish. So she has bragging rights for now and she won’t let me forget it. But like the guide told me, “You’ll always be able to go steelheading now. Your wife is hooked.”



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.



Equity funding for your buyout, startup, spinoff? Executive Insight from Lenley Hensarling Part 2

Lenley Hensarling, past GVP and GM of Oracle JD Edwards, provides due diligence and advisory services to private equity and venture capital firms. He is currently engaged as an independent operating partner for Peak Equity Partners. He has over 30 years experience developing engineering and go-to-market strategies for software companies.

Part 1: What qualities do you look for in potential investment opportunities?


Part 2

Q: What typically happens after a company receives a capital infusion?

There is a saying in our business, “There’s smart money and dumb money. Dumb money is just money”. It sounds harsher than it is. Sometimes a company just needs working capital to cash out existing investors who have lost interest.

For example, a company might have been part of a 5 year fund that is closing. And maybe that company needs 8 years not just 5. So money may be all or most of what is required. But sometimes, new connections through new board members, new perspectives on market approaches, and new members to the management team go along with the capital. That is what I call “smart” money – it comes with expertise and understanding of the technology world.

Often times, infused capital will be invested in talent. Good investment firms can bring in a network of people—with deep understanding in their area of expertise—to the board of directors, advisory board, or even to operating roles. Getting some fresh eyes and skills on the problems can have a great effect in moving a company forward.

Because of the Great Recession, it’s pretty common that many companies have under invested in developing their sales and go-to-market strategies. If you bring in the right sales management, marketing, and upgrade the sales force they can once again reach a velocity to grow fast and create incremental value.

Q: How does Modern Best Practice come into play?

A lot of these companies are at the inflection point where they've been running on QuickBooks or maybe one of the Microsoft Dynamics solutions. And they may or may not have a cloud based CRM solution. Quite often we'll find that the marketing side has no systems. Sales have basic CRM that isn't tied back to the financial side.

We start by having conversations about opportunities to put such systems in place. This is where cloud based solutions can add business discipline and modern best practice. If you’re a smaller organization—maybe 5 to 25 people in the field—and trying to keep costs down, you need those people to collaborate without flying everybody back to the home office all the time. And maybe they don’t have a sales operations person in every region or even at the home office. That’s where the social and mobile components built into cloud CRM solutions become must haves.

You don’t want to interfere with what the teams are supposed to be focused on—selling, implementing, and supporting solutions—but you still need them tied into the systems so that you have visibility into the status of all those areas without it being onerous.

Cloud solutions for mobile and social are ideal in areas such as this because they don’t require a big capital outlay. You can buy what you need now and add incrementally as revenue grows and you add sales people. It winds up being a real attractive picture for growing smaller companies.

Part 3: How does Oracle fit into the picture?


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.


Equity funding for your buyout, startup, spinoff? Executive Insight from Lenley Hensarling


Lenley Hensarling, past GVP and GM of Oracle JD Edwards, provides due diligence and advisory services to private equity and venture capital firms. He is currently engaged as an independent operating partner for Peak Equity Partners. He has over 30 years experience developing engineering and go-to-market strategies for software companies.

Q: What is your role at Peak Equity Partners?

Peak Equity Partners concentrates on buyouts and recapitalizations of enterprise software and solutions companies. We’re most interested in companies that are just past the venture capital stage—not ready to go public and not ready to be sold to another company. My role is to provide advisory services to companies within their portfolio, help identify opportunities for investment, and perform due diligence once a decision has been made that a specific company is interesting. At that phase, we work together to determine the real state of the business—verify that what we think is there, is really there.

Q: What qualities do you look for in potential investment opportunities?

A lot of companies that were on a trajectory to hit success were somewhat derailed by the turn down in the economy. That didn’t mean that what they had wasn’t a good idea or that they weren’t necessarily executing well. The good ones held on—kept the cash flow coming. They got stranded as it were, and private equity is a good vehicle to get them back on a trajectory to deliver their value to customers and to investors.

That ability for a company to deliver value to the marketplace is what we are looking for. Is there a revenue stream? Do they have customers? Is their market of substantial size? Are they likely to get back on a good trajectory and go to the next level with an infusion of capital, advice, and expertise?

Q: How do you find companies like this?

Companies in this situation often hire an investment banker to seek out capital opportunities. There also exists a large network within the investment community. For example, a venture capital firm might have initially funded a company, but for whatever reasons that company is no longer a good fit for their portfolio, or the fund has closed out and their attention is better focused on new opportunities. They still think it’s a good company and the company’s board of directors and management engage with an investment bank to find someone to sell it to.

Private equity firms also proactively look for hidden gems, leveraging their networks and those of their operating partners. The call around and have some conversations. Sometimes those conversations go somewhere and sometimes they don’t.

Part 2: What happens after a company receives a capital infusion?

Part 3: How does Oracle fit into the picture?



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 Mar 06, 2015

5 Steps to a Successful Cloud Implementation


Yes, you should expect a cloud implementation to be faster and easier than an on premise deployement. But you still need a good plan.

That's the subject of this new Oracle whitepaper, Roadmap to a Successful Cloud Implementation: 5 Steps to Consider for Ensuring a Successful Implementation.

As identified in the paper,"things to consider are successful data migration from the systems you are replacing and taking advantage of bestpractices and modern capabilities built into the applications."

For more resources on Modern Finance visit Oracle Finance Solutions for CFOs.

And, visit our Modern Best Practice pages for Oracle expertise across all areas of your buisness. 



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.

Thursday Mar 05, 2015

Turn Your Pirouette into a Pivot with Social Tools

Here’s a great article by Reggie Bradford, SVP of Oracle SRM Product Development, How Social Tools Can Help Your Business 'Pivot' Successfully. That’s pivot as in quick, dramatic shift in course, something that many of the best brands do so well today.

Nowadays, it’s easy to assume that every brand you recognize—be it love, hate, or ambivalence—has a carefully orchestrated SRM strategy. Not the case, I learned, while working with Reggie to publish his new eBook, Modern Best Practice for the Social Business (released just this week).

Many of the brands you know are still spinning (i.e. pirouetting) aimlessly with tactical activities in siloed social fiefdoms across the organization. The right click doesn’t always know what the left click is doing.While Oracle provides many resources to social champions across the full spectrum of SRM maturity, Reggie’s new eBook identifies the 7 Steps to Modern Best Practice for Social.


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.

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