Wednesday Feb 25, 2015

Exploit Enabling Technologies to Seize Growth Opportunities, says Steve Fearon, Oracle VP, Midsize Apps in Western Europe-Part 2


Steve Fearon is Oracle’s Vice President of Applications for Midsize Enterprises in Western Europe. His organization helps ambitious midsize enterprises reach their full potential by adopting Modern Best Practice enabled by Oracle applications.


 Part 2: Read Part 1 Here

Q: What price do companies pay by postponing the adoption of Modern Best Practice?

I believe that, in most cases, they ‘ll lose. At the very least, they’ll fall behind competitors who are exploiting SMAC and adopting Modern Best Practice. They’ll miss out on the full potential of those new markets and opportunities.

Really, it’s about failing fast. The faster you fail, the faster you learn, and the more productive you become. And you learn fast by using modern technologies that provide immediate feedback and enable agility. Failing fast and learning from it is optimum.

Q: What has it been like to work for Oracle for over 22 years during this incredible time of change?

When I joined Oracle I didn’t own a house, I wasn’t married, and I didn’t have children. Over that time, I’ve owned several different homes, I met my wife through Oracle, and we now have two children. They’ve always known me as working for Oracle. When my 13 year old daughter wanted a mobile phone she said, “How old were you when you got your first phone?” You should have seen the shock on her face when I said, “26”.

I’ve seen Oracle’s culture change as we’ve grown organically and via acquisition. 60-70% of our employees didn’t start with Oracle but we still have a strong commonality of purpose. We don’t put posters up in our offices about it but everybody comes together and works together even though they come from different backgrounds. It’s always about supporting our customers—whether they’re midsize or large enterprises—in their visions and beliefs.



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.

Exploit Enabling Technologies to Seize Growth Opportunities, says Steve Fearon, Oracle VP, Midsize Apps in Western Europe


Steve Fearon is Oracle’s Vice President of Applications for Midsize Enterprises in Western Europe. His organization helps ambitious midsize enterprises reach their full potential by adopting Modern Best Practice enabled by Oracle applications.


Q: What are your customers’ priorities and how do you help them achieve their goals?

Midsize companies want to grow and achieve operational excellence. The global attraction of European brands presents top line growth opportunities via opening new markets in the BRIC countries as well as the Next 11. Also, Western Europe is a well respected global player in innovative design and engineering so there are opportunities to bring new products to market.

But 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. For example, the workforce here is now moving beyond the knowledge worker stage to the innovation worker phase. That presents both opportunities and challenges. How can a company expect to attract and retain innovation workers with HR tools built in the ‘90’s?

We help midsize organizations understand how Modern Best Practice, which is enabled by Oracle’s applications and exploits SMAC, can create growth opportunities out of challenges.

Q: How are your customers adopting Modern Best Practice?

For example, because of technology, buyers have access to almost endless amounts of information. As a result they’re much more informed and self reliant. But what hasn’t changed, is that people are more likely to take a recommendation from a peer rather than rely on a company’s public relations. Modern Best Practice for sales and service gives a framework for engaging with this more informed buyer in the ways that they prefer.

Similarly, Modern Best Practice can bring agility to the finance organization to dramatically accelerate the period close to reporting process by becoming social enabled and collaborative. A modern finance department becomes partners with the rest of the business rather than being viewed as classic transaction workers just trying to close the books.

Part 2: The Price Customers Pay by Not Adopting Modern Best Practice 


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 Feb 24, 2015

Delaware Life Experiences a Real Time View of Actuals to Budgets

Delaware Life Insurance was formed in 2013 via a divestiture of assets from Sun Life Financials. As Rick Woods, Director of Project Services explains in this short video, they started out with zero IT infrastructure. Nada.

Starting from scratch, they wanted to adopt new systems and Modern Best Practice. With a goal of having a zero footprint for data, they sought to deploy best of breed cloud solutions as much as possible.

"As we were seeking an ERP solution, we really wanted to have an independent view and pick the solution that was perfect for our needs," says Woods, "And that’s really where Oracle ERP Cloud shined through."

Today, the company has what they never had before: a solution (Oracle ERP Cloud and Oracle Planning and Budgeting Cloud Service) with excellent usability that provides a real time view of actual to budget numbers, with millions of lines of data rapidly flowing from 26 other systems.



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 Feb 19, 2015

Modern Best Practice Show and Tell

When I started out as an Industry and Product Marketing Manager for JD Edwards back in the 90's it was always a challenge to get high resolution screen shots for PowerPoints etc. Back then, we believed that screen shots were the most credible evidence that we knew what we were doing.  I would roam the halls of development looking for a product manager or developer that had both access to the screens I wanted and a tool licensed on their desktop to get the quality I needed. They were gate keepers to knowledge I needed. It seemed sometimes almost like a schoolyard game of keep away.

Buyers in the digital age do a lot of homework on potential technology solutions before they engage with a sales person. They don't want gate keepers standing between them and the knowledge they need to build a short list. It's old fashioned (reminds me of those Comcast Xfinity "Old Fashioned Security" commercials) and frustrating.

That's precisely why we launched our Oracle Modern Best Practice pages last October. It's like Software Show and Tell.  Screen shots still have their place but it's hard to beat graphical representations that walk you through a process end to end. You can also drill down into each step or explore the additional resources we've posted. We're adding more content all the time.

Here's another example. Click on the image to learn more.



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 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.

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.

Wednesday Aug 13, 2014

EPM Investments Deliver 200% ROI over 5 years--Ovum Research Results Webcast Thursday Aug 14

How are leading companies increasing ROI, optimizing business operations, and capturing new market opportunities? According to independent research firm Ovum, they are employing Oracle Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) solutions.

Join us for a live Webcast on August 14 to learn about the proven results Oracle EPM customers are seeing:

  • Enterprise savings exceed their investment delivering
    > 200% ROI over 5 years

  • Long-term usage delivers positive NPV in year 2 reducing cash conversion cycles and boosting productivity

  • Key best practices in implementation, users, and prioritization maximize company returns on EPM investments

Register now to discover how your organization can benefit from modern EPM technology.

Monday Jul 28, 2014

7 Questions for Tony Kender, Head of Oracle North America HCM Sales

Tony Kender, Senior Vice President, leads Oracle’s sales operations for HCM solutions in North America, including an organization dedicated to the unique needs of midsize companies.

Q: What is the most exciting thing happening with growing midsize companies and HCM solutions?

Kender: Midsize companies are often ahead of large enterprises on the technology acceptance curve in terms of HCM cloud. Oracle offers cloud solutions across the entire applications footprint, including ERP, Supply Chain, EPM, and CX, but what I’ve seen is that HCM is often the first cloud application adopted by a midsize company.

Q: Why are midsize companies ahead of large enterprises in adopting cloud applications for HCM?

Kender: Generally, larger enterprises are not quite as agile as midsize businesses and take longer to make the move to a new platform. Often, they have big investments in existing HCM processes—a lot of inertia with people and systems around it. Midsize companies are lighter on their feet due to the way they need to operate. They’re eager to adopt HCM cloud technology because it lowers their cost, helps them innovate faster, and helps them focus on core competencies which are usually not HR and Payroll.

Q: Are midsize companies adopting HCM cloud in a piecemeal or suite strategy?

Kender: We’re seeing that midsize companies want the entire suite, not a piecemeal approach, whereas large companies are more open to a piecemeal approach. Midsize companies don’t have time to deal with three, four, or five vendors across HCM. What they want is a complete solution. If a company looks at some of our competitors across the midsize space they won’t see the full breadth of the solution spanning the whole HCM suite. For example, maybe one has a great core HR but a weak talent product. It takes years to develop a really, really strong recruiting suite. Oracle is unique in that we offer the best of breed functionality that companies require across the entire HCM lifecycle.

Q: Why is Oracle HCM Cloud so popular?

Kender: It’s simple. Oracle is driving new HCM innovation and product functionality faster than anyone in the HCM market. We have an amazing amount of investment in the development of cloud HCM founded on the experiences we’ve gained via our JD Edwards, PeopleSoft and Oracle E-Business Suite HCM customers. We have the knowledge and experience of what an HCM system should do and we combine that with the best cloud technology.

Q: Why are growing midsize companies choosing Oracle HCM Cloud?

Kender: First, midsize companies have the same complexity as large companies but they don’t always have the same amount of resources. Oracle HCM Cloud offers the best, most innovative HCM solution, and eases customers’ worries about upgrading software or hosting it and all the IT expenses related to that. Second, we have a dedicated organization focusing just on the needs of midsize companies—marketing, sales, implementation, consulting, and training. Third, we make it easy for midsize companies to move to cloud by offering incentive programs like Customer 2 Cloud where customers can potentially redirect some of their investment in Oracle HCM on premise solutions to Oracle HCM Cloud applications.

Q: How are changing demographics of the workforce impacting HCM innovation?

Kender: Recently, I had a customer at a midsize company tell me, “If my millennial workforce can’t use this system and aren’t comfortable with it they won’t use it at all. I need the user experience to be easy and impactful. They can’t go through training.”

The Oracle HCM Cloud user experience is designed to be like using a popular social network. You don’t take a training course. You turn it on and use it. It’s like Larry Ellison said in his keynote at Oracle HCM World, “There are no classes for Facebook.”

Q: What price do midsize companies pay by not adopting an innovative HCM cloud solution?

Kender: Now more than ever, people are the key to success in midsize. And midsize companies are competing with large enterprises for talent. The ability to source the right people with capabilities like social sourcing can put a midsize company on the cutting edge of finding top talent. Often times that gives them an advantage over the recruiting practices used by larger, more established companies. Conversely, if you are still sourcing people like you did in the ‘90’s you risk losing out on the best talent. Oracle HCM Cloud helps them win the war for talent.

Then, once talent is hired, midsize companies need modern best practice for learning, development, and succession planning. You have to keep them excited, comfortable, and engaged by providing a fantastic user experience. That’s what today’s worker expects and demands and you need all that to reduce turnover because turnover is expensive and disruptive. With Oracle HCM Cloud, midsize companies can have the sophistication that large companies enjoy along the entire continuum of the HCM experience—the features and look and feel that today’s workers expect—minus the cost and complexity of on premise systems.


Learn more:

Infographic: Get Ready for a New Era of HR

Harvard Business Review Global Modern HR Survey: The Age of Modern HR

Modern HR for Dummies

Is Your Human Resource Management System Attracting a Modern Workforce? 

Oracle HCM for Midsize Companies


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 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.

Wednesday Mar 12, 2014

"Spreadsheets are Perfect for Planning & Budgeting," said no one. Ever.


by Jim Lein, Oracle Accelerate for Midsize Companies

I started using spreadsheets for planning and budgeting a loooooooooooooong time ago when I was controller for a chain of ski shops. Pretty simple stuff. A couple of dozen lines.  I can't imagine what it must be like to use them today for complex budgeting, forecasting, and planning functions. It would give me an ice cream headache.

My colleague Jennifer Toomey, Sr. Director of Marketing in our Business Analytics Product Group, tells me that 75% finance managers still rely on spreadsheets for financial planning and budget control.

You want to hear something really scary?

Research studies have showed that vast majority of spreadsheets-88% in this study--have errors and those errors are costing companies billions

Thousands of growing companies have replaced spreadsheets with Oracle's top rated Hyperion planning and forecasting solutions. As of February 18, Oracle customers now have another option,  Oracle Planning and Budgeting Cloud Service (PBCS).

Oracle PBCS is not simply Oracle Hyperion in the cloud. It’s a next generation SaaS solution that reflects a major architectural rework and a vastly improved user experience. Oracle PBCS delivers on the cloud's promise of simplicity, low upfront cost, and fast time to value expected of a cloud solution while delivering the enterprise level functionality previously found only in on premise planning and budgeting products. It runs on an Oracle Engineered Systems platform, and enables fast processing of complex calculations for large volumes of data through optimal use of Cloud memory and resources. 

I encourage you to download Jennifer's recently published whitepaper, "Accelerating EPM Deployment with Planning in the Cloud" or watch this video to learn more.


UK-based Oracle partner Qubix Now Offers an Oracle Accelerate Solution for Oracle Planning Cloud

This week, I also spoke with Paul Johnston, GM at UK-based Qubix International, about their Oracle Accelerate Solution for Oracle Planning Cloud. Qubix was the first company to implement Hyperion Planning in the UK and has completed more than 150 Hyperion and related customer engagements

Johnston says there is a large, under-served market of growing companies that don’t yet know about Oracle’s great story for planning and budgeting. Qubix’s new solution unlocks a pricing and delivery model that both provides a fresh way of communicating that story and makes robust planning and budgeting capabilities accessible to companies of any size.

“Our clients will see a 30-40% cost savings when compared to a traditional on premise deployment,” says Johnston. “Plus, a traditional on premise project spanned 4-6 months. We deliver Oracle PBCS in 30, 60, or 90 days based on which pricing tier the client chooses-Express, Professional, or Enterprise. The idea is keep it simple and affordable without compromising capabilities.”

Qubix's solution features pre-built apps—ready to go templates that are free to customers. These apps complement the work Oracle has done by transforming the Qubix engagement from a deployment to a collaborative “fit-to-gap"  analysis.

Visit Qubix's Planning in the Cloud page to learn more about their solution, including access to their new TCO calculator


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Jim Lein evangelizes Oracle Accelerate, Oracle's Applications Strategy for growing midsize companies. He recently celebrated 15 years with Oracle, having joined JD Edwards in 1999. He is based in Evergreen, Colorado and loves relating stories about creativity and innovation whether they be about software, live music, or the mountains. 

Friday Jan 18, 2013

Oracle Business Accelerators Customer Reference Booklet

The new Oracle Business Accelerators Customer Reference Booklet showcases 20 success stories that demonstrate the power of Oracle Business Accelerators, and how Oracle partners have delivered projects rapidly, safely, and reliably using Oracle’s cloud-based configuration tools as part of their Oracle Accelerate solutions.

Read more.

Tuesday Dec 18, 2012

New Success Story: McGrath RentCorp Improves Business Reporting and Analytics Capabilities with Cloud-based Business Intelligence Solution

McGrath RentCorp worked with Jade Global, an Oracle Platinum Partner, to scope, design, and execute the deployment, using its Oracle Accelerate solution to jumpstart the process and accelerate the time to value.

Click here to view the full story.

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