Thursday Jun 26, 2014

When You're In Second Place You Try Harder

by Jim Lein, Oracle Midsize Programs

Last week, Oracle announced our Q4 and year end earnings for our FY14, with the headline, "Oracle Becomes the Second Largest Cloud SaaS Company in the World". It reminded me of that iconic Avis car rental ad, "When You're in Second Place, You Try Harder." That the tagline served the company well for over 50 years and was only just retired last year. According to Slate, in the very first year, that ad campaign significantly increased Avis's marketshare vs. its largest competitor.

At Oracle, we love to win, but more importantly, we love to compete. As our CEO Larry Ellison says, "I enjoy the competition, I enjoy the process of learning." When you equate competing with learning, good things happen for customers. Oracle spent over $5B on R&D in our fiscal year 2014. Becoming the Second largest Cloud SaaS Company is validation that Oracle's investments in innovation are providing customers with what they need and want. It is a significant milestone but don't expect Oracle to rest on our laurels.

United under one goal: to be #1 in the cloud

We don't need a catchy slogan to get us there. We'll accomplish our goal by offering solutions that customers love. Those solutions are highly differentiated--a modern and best of breed SaaS portfolio and PaaS on the market leading tech stack. Today, our cloud portfolio is unmatched in breadth and depth of solutions from top to bottom--applications, platform, and infrastructure.

What do YOU know about Oracle and cloud?

It's time to move to the cloud: Oracle Applications Cloud. More SaaS applications than any other vendor. Start your selection process at cloud.oracle.com.





Jim Lein

I evangelize Oracle's enterprise solutions for growing midsize companies. I recently celebrated 15 years with Oracle, having joined JD Edwards in 1999. I'm based in Evergreen, Colorado and love relating stories about creativity and innovation whether they be about software, live music, or the mountains. The views expressed here are my own, and not necessarily those of Oracle.

Wednesday Jun 25, 2014

MedicAlert Wins Gartner Award for CRM Excellence


by Jim Lein, Oracle Midsize Programs

Founded in 1956, MedicAlert Foundation continues to thrive by remaining relevant. No small task when you consider what they do--provide emergency medical information services for its members. I've been following the MedicAlert story more closely since they completely revamped their information systems a little over a year ago.

MedicAlert COO Karen Lamoree, in the Oracle Profit magazine article, "High Alert" describe the company's mission well. “No one ever anticipates being in an emergency. But when you’re in one, you’re at your most vulnerable. When it happens, it’s really nice to have somebody who actually knows your medical information, to make sure that you get the best care. That’s what MedicAlert is all about.”

Last year, Lamoree also shared with me the human resource challenges they faced when retooling their organization around the modern best practices enabled by thier newly deployed Oracle solution, "Sustaining Modern IT & Overcoming the IT Labor Shortage in Small Town America"

MedicAlert won the Gartner award for their PUMA initiative-"Phenomenal Undertaking for MedicAlert". PUMA brings new levels of customer service to MedicAlert's +4 million members. It involved a cultural change across the entire company by eliminating silos of information establishing new standards for collaboration.

Here's MedicAlert's press release, "MedicAlert Foundation Announced as Winner of the 2014 Gartner & 1to1 Media CRM Excellence Awards"


Jim Lein

I evangelize Oracle's enterprise solutions for growing midsize companies. I recently celebrated 15 years with Oracle, having joined JD Edwards in 1999. I'm based in Evergreen, Colorado and love relating stories about creativity and innovation whether they be about software, live music, or the mountains. The views expressed here are my own, and not necessarily those of Oracle.

Thursday Jun 19, 2014

Mary Meeker's Internet Trends 2014 Will Blow Your Mind

by Jim Lein, Oracle Midsize Programs

Maybe I shouldn't have read this report first thing on a Monday morning, Mary Meeker's Internet Trends 2014. But I did, and it blew my mind.

We've been publishing a lot of thought leadership content lately on modern best practice. Modern best practice is flexible, supports growth and innovation, and enables new ways of executing to achieve consistently superior performance. It's enabled by Cloud, Social, Analytics, Big Data, Mobile, and The Internet of Things. It's about leveraging these enablers to do things fundamentally different, sometimes without consciously realizing that we're doing so.

In our hectic kinetic connected lives we think nothing of downloading a new app or adopting a new communication channel to get what we want or make our lives easier. It's fascinating to see the collective metrics of our actions in this report.

Meeker's identifies how we are globally adopting and leveraging enabling technologies. A couple of highlights from my perspective:
  • Tablet adoption was up 52% in 2013 and growing faster than PCs ever did
  • Mobile is 25% of web usage vs 14% a year before
  • Mobile advertising revenue is up 47% and now represents 11% of total advertising spend.

Modern best practice can be doing something that you never even dreamed possible prior to adopting an enabling technology. Meeker describes this as re-imaging, like this graph relating to re-imagining communications. 

The effectiveness of any single communication channel for each of our sub groups  depends on wholehearted adoption by all members. One guy in my band doesn't use Facebook. So we all communicate via email. Friends get frustrated with me because I don't return calls or texts promptly but they forget I don't get mobile coverage at my house. .

Maybe some day we'll all have the same devices and a single universal communication channel.But for now, I'll just remind myself to be happy that we're not reliant on land lines and answering machines.


Jim Lein

I evangelize Oracle's enterprise solutions for growing midsize companies. I recently celebrated 15 years with Oracle, having joined JD Edwards in 1999. I'm based in Evergreen, Colorado and love relating stories about creativity and innovation whether they be about software, live music, or the mountains. The views expressed here are my own, and not necessarily those of Oracle.

Wednesday Jun 18, 2014

Curse Inc Skips a Level by Jumping to Oracle ERP Cloud


by Jim Lein, Oracle Midsize Programs

As Brandon Byrne, VP of Finance at Curse, says, "What ESPN is to sports, we are to video games. We help gamers get the most out of their game."  I was hooked on video games in my twenties and I wish this resource would have been around to help me reach that next level on Donkey Kong or Defender.

Curse is experiencing enormous challenges brought on by growth, both in terms of increased revenue and in the number of digital media properties they manage.Oracle recently released a couple videos in which Byrne explains why Curse chose Oracle and their goals for moving to Oracle Applications Cloud.  With Oracle, Byrne says that Curse can "take a step out of the accounting software hierarchy" by skipping a second tier solution as they grow.  With Oracle Applications Cloud they get to a top tier solution sooner and that, "takes away a lot of the pain of having to do that second transition."

 A few quotes from Byrne that I really like:

  • "Accounting and finance are the customer service group for the rest of the organization. They are on the front lines driving revenue and growth."
  • "(Oracle ERP Cloud) gets us out of the knuckle head things that happen on a day to day basis with accounting and finance and let's us focus on the big things and strategies and more complex issues."
  •  "Letting Oracle provide the security is a better solution in my mind than having three guys in my IT group securing a server downstairs." 

Here are the videos:


Jim Lein

I evangelize Oracle's enterprise solutions for growing midsize companies. I recently celebrated 15 years with Oracle, having joined JD Edwards in 1999. I'm based in Evergreen, Colorado and love relating stories about creativity and innovation whether they be about software, live music, or the mountains. The views expressed here are my own, and not necessarily those of Oracle.

Thursday Jun 12, 2014

Persevering & Friday Night Big Ideas


by Jim Lein, Oracle Midsize Programs

Every successful company, personal accomplishment, and philanthropic endeavor starts with one good idea. I have my best ideas on Friday evenings. The creative side of my brain is stimulated by end of week endorphins. Free thinking. Anything is possible. But, as my kids love to remind me, most of Dad's Friday Night Big Ideas (FNBIs) fizzle on the drawing board. Usually there's one barrier blocking the way that seems insurmountable by noon on Monday.

For example, trekking the 486 mile Colorado Trail is on my bucket list. Since I have a job, I'll have to do it in bits and pieces--day hikes, weekends, and a vacation week here and there. With my trick neck, backpacking is not an option. How to survive equip myself for overnight backcountry travel was that one seemingly insurmountable barrier. 

Persevering

Lewis and Clark wouldn't have given up so I explored options and, as I blogged about back in December, I had an FNBI to hire llamas to carry my load. Last weekend, that idea came to fruition. Early Saturday morning, I met up with Bill, the owner of Antero Llamas, for an overnight training expedition along segment 14 of the Colorado Trail with a string of twelve llamas. It was a crash course on learning how to saddle, load, pasture, and mediate squabbles. Amazingly, we left the trailhead with me, the complete novice, at the lead.

Instead of trying to impart three decades of knowledge on me in two days, Bill taught me two things: "Go With the Flow" and "Plan B". It worked. There were times I would be lost in thought for long stretches of time until one snort would remind me that I had a string of twelve llamas trailing behind.

A funny thing happened along the trail...

Up until last Saturday, my plan had been to trek all 28 segments of the trail east to west and sequentially. Out of some self-imposed sense of decorum. That plan presented myriad logistical challenges such as impassable snow pack on the Continental Divide when segment 6 is up next. On Sunday, as we trekked along the base of 14,000 ft peaks, I applied Bill's llama handling philosophy to my quest and came up with a much more realistic and enjoyable strategy for achieving my goal.  Seize opportunities to hike regardless of order. Define my own segments. Go west to east for awhile if it makes more sense. Let the llamas carry more creature comforts. Chill out. 

I will still set foot on all 486 miles of the trail. Technically, the end result will be the same.And I and my traveling companions--human and camelid--will enjoy the journey more. Much more.


Got Big Ideas of Your Own?

Check out Tongal. This growing Oracle customer works with brands to crowd source fantastic ideas for promoting products and services. Your great idea could earn you cash.


 Looking for more news and information about Oracle Solutions for Midsize Companies?

Jim Lein

I evangelize Oracle's enterprise solutions for growing midsize companies. I recently celebrated 15 years with Oracle, having joined JD Edwards in 1999. I'm based in Evergreen, Colorado and love relating stories about creativity and innovation whether they be about software, live music, or the mountains. The views expressed here are my own, and not necessarily those of Oracle.




Tuesday Jun 10, 2014

Proven Approach to Financial Progress Using Modern Best Practice


by Larry Simcox, Sr. Director, Oracle Midsize Programs

Top performing organizations generate 25 percent higher profit margins and grow at twice the rate of their competitors.

How do they do it?

Recently, Dr. Stephen G. Timme, President of FinListics Solutions and Adjunct Professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology, joined me on a webcast to answer that question. I've know Dr. Timme since my days at G-log when we worked together to help customers determine the ROI of transportation management solutions. We were also joined by Steve Cox, Vice President of Oracle Midsize Programs, who recently published an Oracle E-book, "Modern Best Practice Explained". In this webcast, Cox provides his perspective on how best performing companies are moving from best practice to modern best practice. 

Watch the webcast replay and you'll learn about the easy to follow, top down approach to:

  • Identify processes that should be targeted for improvement

  • Leverage a modern best practice maturity model to start a path to progress

  • Link financial performance gaps to operational KPIs

  • Improve cash flow by benchmarking key financial metrics

  • Develop intelligent estimates of achievable cash flow benefits

Click HERE to watch a replay of the webcast.

You might also be interested in the following:

Video: Modern Best Practices Defined 

AppCast: Modern Best Practices for Growing Companies


Looking for more news and information about Oracle Solutions for Midsize Companies?


Larry Simcox

Senior Director, Oracle Midsize Programs responsible for supporting and creating marketing content ,communications, sales and partner program support for Oracle's go to market activities for midsize companies. I have over 17 years experience helping customers identify the value and ROI from their IT investment. I live in Charlotte NC with my family and my dog Dingo. The views expressed here are my own, and not necessarily those of Oracle.

Thursday Jun 05, 2014

Can Kind People Finish First?

by Jim Lein, Oracle Midsize Programs

In an earlier post, I expressed my undying love for KIND Snacks' products. This month's Oracle Profit magazine features an interview with KIND Healthy Snacks Founder and CEO Daniel Lubetzky entitled "Better Business". Lubetzky expresses his vision for making KIND a "not for profit only" company. 

All great companies start with a good idea. In this case, that one great idea was to offer a healthy snack with ingredients you can "see and pronounce". That's one of things I really like about this company--that coupled with the fact that their snacks taste great. They compete in an over crowded playing field but I've found that it's rare to find an energy snack that both tastes good and is good for you. 

A couple of interesting facts I learned from reading this article:

  • 9 out of 10 consumers who try a KIND bar will purchase a KIND product again and recommend it to others
  • KIND has the highest Net Promoter Score among the top 10 brands in the nutritional bar category (I confess I've never heard about this rating before but now that I have it's pretty cool)

KIND's coporate mantra, "Do the Kind Thing" both encourages people to do random acts of kindness and provides easy mechanisms for doing so. Not coincidentally, I think, KIND is indeed a story about how nice guys can finish first. KIND has doubled in size every year for the last ten  years and now employees over 300 people, with sales exceeding $120M annually.

Growth Applies Pressures

One thing I know for certain from interacting our with fast growing customers over the last fifteen years is that growth applies myriad pressures across the organization--resources, processes, technology systems, and leadership agility. And it's easy to forget that Oracle was once an entrepreneurial startup and experienced all those same pressures that other growing companies are experiencing today.

When asked by Profit Editor in Chief Aaron Lazenby, " What sort of pressure does KIND"s growth and success place on operations?", Lubetzky responded, "We have a demand planning process right now that is manual to a significant extent, and it just takes so much management time. It takes us days and sometimes weeks to produce information that is critical to our business—and by the time we get the results, we need revised data. Our sales leadership could go out selling, but instead they’re talking to our team about forecasts."

Hitching Your Wagon to Oracle

Lubetzky and his team selected Oracle for what I believe is our company's greatest strength: hitch your wagon to Oracle and you can trust that we will be there for the long run with the solutions you need and financial staying power.

In Lubetzky's words, "The KIND philosophy requires you to have a long-term view of things; taking shortcuts may be the fastest way to get things done, but in the long term that can come back and bite you. Oracle is the type of company—and has the kind of platform—that is here for the long term. It’s not going to go away tomorrow. And Oracle is going to invest all the necessary resources into staying ahead of the game and improving."

o next time you're in the supermarket or an REI (my favorite store in the world) or any of the other 80,000 locations that carry KIND, give one a try. Maybe some day you'll want to become a KIND Brand Ambassador. 


 Looking for more news and information about Oracle Solutions for Midsize Companies?


Jim Lein

I evangelize Oracle's enterprise solutions for growing midsize companies. I recently celebrated 15 years with Oracle, having joined JD Edwards in 1999. I'm based in Evergreen, Colorado and love relating stories about creativity and innovation whether they be about software, live music, or the mountains. The views expressed here are my own, and not necessarily those of Oracle.

Wednesday Jun 04, 2014

CFOs: Do You Have a Playbook for Growth?

by Jim Lein, Oracle Midsize Programs

In most global markets, CFOs are optimistic about their company's growth opportunities. Deloitte's CFO Signals Report, "Time to Accelerate" found that:

  • In the U.K. business optimism is at its highest level in three-and-a-half years

  • Optimism in North America rose from a strong +42% last quarter (Q2 to Q3 2013) to an even stronger +54%.

  • The inaugural Southeast Asia survey, 44% of CFOs reported a positive outlook despite worries over the Chinese economy and political uncertainty.

Sustainable and profitable business growth doesn't usually happen by accident. Company's need a playbook for growth that's owned by the CFO. And today, that playbook must leverage the six enabling technologies--Social, Big Data, Mobile, Cloud, Analytics, and The Internet of Things (or, as Oracle president Mark Hurd explains, "The Internet of the People").


On Monday June 9 at  2:00 pm Eastern, CFO.com is hosting a webcast,

"The CFO Playbook on Growth: How CFOs Can Boost Efficiency and Performance with Automation".

“Investing in technology begins with a business metric driven business case with clear tangible business results expected," says John Lieblang, Affiliate Partner with Waterstone Management Group. "The progressive CFO has learned how to forge a partnership with the CIO to align everyone in the 'result value chain' to be accountable for the business results not just for functional technology.”

Click HERE to register



 Looking for more news and information about Oracle Solutions for Midsize Companies?


Jim Lein

I evangelize Oracle's enterprise solutions for growing midsize companies. I recently celebrated 15 years with Oracle, having joined JD Edwards in 1999. I'm based in Evergreen, Colorado and love relating stories about creativity and innovation whether they be about software, live music, or the mountains. The views expressed here are my own, and not necessarily those of Oracle.

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