Friday May 15, 2015

"Reports of My Demise Are Greatly Exaggerated," said the CIO

As you know, that headline paraphrases an infamous Mark Twain misquote.

I’ve read countless accounts of how CIO’s are being bypassed in IT business solution decision-making. It conjures up an image of a CIO bursting into the CFO’s office and tattling on some line of business manager who allegedly has purchased and deployed a one off solution without IT’s blessing.

My reaction to these reports has typically been that of skepticism. While I have no doubt that such situations occur, I’ve never talked with a Oracle customer executive who has found this to be a significant problem within their organization. Why? Because successful, growth oriented companies can’t afford to have the left hand not know what the right hand is doing. I believe that maverick IT decision making happens when an immediate challenge needs to be addressed yet that challenge has not grown to a level to be considered strategic. When it does, IT is going to be involved in the discussion on how to face it.

In a recent Forbes OracleVoice article, The Top 10 Strategic CIO Issues For 2015, Bob Evans, SVP of Corporate Communications at Oracle, acknowledges that the extreme change and disruption experienced in the business world during 2014 spawned rumors of the premature demise of the CIO.

He even offers some “crackpot theories” surrounding this whodunit gossip—theories for who may have allegedly killed the CIO:

  • The CMO
  • Mobile Technology
  • Cloud Computing
  • Big data and its data scientist masters

Evans goes on to refute the rumors by saying, “The best CIOs are not only alive and well and far from endangered, but are indeed creating more business value than ever before by collaborating eagerly and openly with those supposed forces of opposition.”

So, ignore those ugly rumors. Long live the CIO!

Learn more about The Top 10 Strategic CIO Issues For 2015:


Jim Lein

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

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

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

Wednesday May 13, 2015

6 Must-Have Enablers for Modern Best Practices

The quarterly Midsize Edition of the Oracle Information InDepth newsletter is out, featuring Steve Cox, VP, Oracle Cloud GTM midsize in an article, '6 Must-have Enablers for Modern Best Practice'.

From the article:

Traditionally, best practices have been templates for action that consist of a fixed number of clearly defined steps. But as the pace of business change accelerates, the very concept of best practices is changing.

"Modern best practices must have flexibility built into their DNA," says Oracle Vice President, Cloud GTM Midsize, Steve Cox. "It's not just about defining prescribed steps, but incorporating performance monitoring—and the tools and processes to foster ongoing innovation and improvement."

Cox identifies six key technologies that enable midsize organizations to take this kind of iterative approach to best practices.

Read the full article.

Learn more about Oracle Modern Best Practice:




Jim Lein

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

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

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

Tuesday May 12, 2015

Warning: You're Not Social if You're Not Listening

Every morning, I sign into my Oracle Social Cloud account, click on "Listen and Analyze", and review what's being said on social media about the topics relating to the content I post (e.g. #OracleMidsize; #OracleModernBestPractice). I do this for two reasons: 1) Because I don't want to just talk. I also want to listen and engage; and 2)  Because I can. My company has provided me with access to powerful tools that make this part of my job easy.

Never mind that I've used "I" a zillion times already in this post. I don't mean to lecture. My point is that your social relationship management (SRM) strategy is not truly 'social' if you're just throwing content out their via your social media activities. Not learning about how well your content resonates within your community. Not adjusting your activities accordingly.

Without the right tools, monitoring the reaction to all your social activities is impractical if not impossible. In the current issue of Oracle Profit Magazine, Meg Bear, GVP, Oracle Social Cloud, extols the virtues of More Conversation while providing an update on Oracle's SRM development strategy. 

“We help our customers understand who is the audience on that platform and what’s resonating with them," advises Bear. "That helps managers make good decisions about how and when to participate.”


To hone your Social Relationship Management strategy, download this free eBook Modern Best Practice for the Social Business, authored by Reggie Bradford, SVP, Oracle SRM Product Development.



Jim Lein

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

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

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


Friday May 08, 2015

Responding to Disruption: PWC CEO Survey

The CEO’s job is to see the big picture and determine priorities across all aspects of the organization: people, systems, processes, growth, finance.

PWC’s 18th Annual Global CEO Survey, ‘The Marketplace Without Boundaries: Responding to Disruption’, tallies CEOs’ insights across five themes:

  1. Growth: Optimism mixed with wariness
  2. Competition: seeking opportunities via digital transformation
  3. Partnering: unconventional collaborations
  4. Diversity: valuing the right mix of talent

When it comes to the fifth theme, Technology, the survey identified mobile, data mining/analytics, and security as strategically most important:


Oracle is uniquely positioned to provide solutions that help CEO's address these priorities (although (Robotics, 3-D Printing and Battery and Power Technologies aren't exactly in our wheelhouse). Organizations planning their digital transformation strategies can now access Oracle's free resources for adopting Modern Best Practice, founded in our experiences helping thousands of customers deploy modern technology solutions. Modern Best Practice exploits enabling technologies, including social, mobile, analytics, and Big Data, to help organizations of all sizes achieve more, faster, and with fewer resources.

Explore Oracle Modern Best Practice:



Jim Lein

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

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

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


Wednesday May 06, 2015

It’s May: Is Your Customer Service Beachbody Ready?

If you’re trying to shape up your customer service practices, here’s a short and pithy video featuring Louis Ross, Beachbody’s VP of Coach Relations. Beachbody’s the creator of the nation's most popular fitness and weight loss solutions. The company’s mission, as Ross relates, is, “to end the trend of obesity in America and, eventually, around the world”.

Beachbody’s founders built a hyper growth company via their knack for developing brands that resonate with people—including P90X®, INSANITY®, and Hip Hop Abs®. Beachbody first became an Oracle ERP customer in 2008 when they were a much smaller company, with revenues generated by their 16 million customers and 200,000 coaches projected to exceed $1B in 2015. 

Beachbody is constantly refining their customer service processes to meet the needs of customers and coaches, with the cornerstone of offering multi-channel support.

“We see service at Beachbody as a way to extend the brand and be that word of mouth marketer that’s always so attractive and helps companies grow," says Ross. "It’s important that you have the right tools to meet your customers and coaches where they are and that might be on line, on a mobile device, via the telephone, online chat or social media."

Ross shares some facts and figures related to the incident management challenges Beachbody is  now addressing with Oracle Service Cloud:

  • 220k/day—contacts with customers and coaches
  • 33,500 FAQs—via online self service
  • 7.2m answer views—in 2014, up from 300,000 three years ago

Ross also points out that Oracle Service Cloud provides them with the ability to measure all the key performance metrics critical to maintaining their high levels of customer service.

“Quite frankly I can’t imagine how e could have handled the business we’ve seen in the last 12-18 months without Oracle Service Cloud,” concludes Ross.

If you're ready to stop procrastinating and whip your customer service into tip top shape, explore these free resources offered by Oracle to help you adopt Modern Best Practice for Service.


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 30, 2015

False Summits: There is No Finish Line

As an avid mountain hiker, I’ve learned the heartbreak of false summits.(Pictured: the true summit of Colorado's Redcloud Peak, elevation 14,035 ft).  The trick is to push back the inclination to get discouraged and adjust your pace as if there is no summit. You’ll never stop hiking. Atop each summit, you're rewarded with views of other summits-some higher-waiting to be conquered. 

In an article by Mark Leslie, The Arc of Company Life - and How to Prolong It, published by First Round Capital, a venture capital firm that invests in early stage startups. Leslie is a retired entrepreneur and lecturer at the Stanford School of Business.

It’s easy to forget that Oracle, now a $30 billion industry leader, was once a startup, founded by Larry Ellison and friends in a garage. Using Oracle and Amazon as case studies, Leslie provides color commentary to the growth curves of these companies and identifies how they had to figuratively, and literally, knock down barriers to growth (he recounts how Ellison hammered a hole in the wall of an early Oracle office to connect terminals to a mainframe computer).


I’ve seen Oracle transform many times since I came to the company via the PeopleSoft acquisition. Every morning, I read something to put myself in the right frame of mind, reminding myself that we are truly a company of entrepreneurial spirit. It’s never business as usual at Oracle.

As Leslie concludes, “It is sad but true that there is no place to rest,” observes Leslie. “There is No Finish Line."

Plot your growth curve by leveraging Oracle's free resources for adopting 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.

Tuesday Apr 28, 2015

Cloud: All Grown Up

Our son graduates high school next month. It's tempting to fall back on all the cliches and shower him with praise. He's all grown up. But while acknowledging how much he's achieved, we know that he's still very much a work in progress. 

Cloud computing has been growing up at the same time as our son, who has never known life without the internet. A new Harvard Business Review survey (sponsored by Oracle), "Cloud Computing Comes of Age" recognizes how far cloud has come:

...while also acknowledging that there is much room for improvement (or, as we say when referring to my son, "the best is yet to come").

The results of this survey show how organizations are under pressure to identify new business opportunities and innovate faster as cloud computing evolves while also identifying ways they can benefit from the next wave of cloud innovation.

Cloud computing is the cornerstone to any organization's digital transformation, with goals that include lowering costs, enabling innovation, empowering people, and increasing insight.

Oracle now provides extensive free resources to help  your organization adopt Modern Best Practice which is anchored by cloud computing and exploits enabling technologies that make possible new ways of doing business to achieve consistently superior results.

Explore these free 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 22, 2015

Strategic HCM—Creating Value Through Your People


Rush hour traffic. Tuesday morning. The Mission District of San Francisco.

I’m riding shotgun in a Lincoln Town car, on my way to meet Ron Storn, VP of People for Lyft, for breakfast. Ron would be presenting in our customer experiences session at Oracle OpenWorld ’14 later that week.

Aaron, my driver, takes the advice of his navigation app and leaves the clogged freeway to follow a series of detours that lead us to the front door of Boogaloos, a local neighborhood mainstay. Ten minutes early, I get out of the Lincoln, wish Aaron a good rest of his day, and tap the screen in my Lyft iPhone app a couple of times. We’re done. My first rideshare experience is a success.

I've been following the progress of Lyft ever since that September morning. Six months later, Oracle just released a video providing an update on Lyft’s experience with Oracle HCM Cloud.

As Ron states, he joined the company when they had about 85 employees. Now they have 400+. As VP of People at a hot Bay Area startup in a hypergrowth industry, he has a challenging job. His target workforce wants three things:

  1. Great talent around them
  2. Have an impact 
  3. Feel passionate about their company

“I’m using Oracle for us to win the war for talent,” Ron says. “If we don’t win that war in keeping, growing, and retaining talent than we’ll never win as a product.”

To meet HR challenges, Lyft’s strategy is to deploy Oracle HCM Cloud in a modular approach starting with core HR, succession planning, and compensation. The idea is to set a new tone for strategic HR.

“In past HR has been known to be a very administrative paper pushing type function,” Ron explains. “We’re trying to change that in order be a very fast moving enabler of growth. Instead of being bureaucratic we want to be a change agent that can be a partner to all of our clients.”

Lyft’s circumstances are very similar to that of many growing midsize organizations looking to Oracle for not just products but also expertise and advice.

“Being a start up that is growing so fast, we didn’t know what they didn’t know,” Ron says. “So working with the Oracle team as well as the implementation partner helped us generate and create a tool that would work for us today but also help us scale into the future.”

Explore Modern Best Practice for HR and Talent: 



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.

Tuesday Apr 21, 2015

Deadline April 29: Partners-Showcase Your Modern Best Practice Success at Oracle OpenWorld ‘15


We launched Modern Best Practice at Oracle OpenWorld last September. The response has been overwhelming. The pages are getting more traffic than I-25 through Denver at rush hour.

Shaped by the latest technology—cloud, social, mobile, analytics, Big Data, IoT—Modern Best Practice articulates how you execute to achieve consistently superior results.

Deadline for Submitting Proposals for Oracle OpenWorld ’15 Sessions is Wednesday April 29!

This year at Oracle OpenWorld ’15 we look forward to seeing sessions that illustrate Modern Best Practice. Adopting Modern Best Practice allows our customers to do business in ways that their old systems could not support; do business in ways they might not even imagined to be possible.

Here are a few examples:

Solairus Aviation—Seamless Finance, Projects, & HR Cloud enables competitive advantage, “ When our CEO goes into new business pitches he’s going to be able to demonstrate this transparency that Oracle ERP Cloud is able to give us and it’s going to set us apart from the marketplace.”—Mark Dennen, CFO

Dell—“Within the first four months of launching this tool, we had over 7900 job shares through the Oracle social sourcing tool so what could have taken several months to do we can now do in a matter of days.”—Diane Paquet, Director of HR Technology

Lifesize, USA—“The Oracle Marketing Cloud is at the forefront of driving our customer growth. We’e generated over $100 of pipeline generated just from the marketing programs we ran.” Megan Lueders, VP of Marketing

Feel free to contact me if you have ideas you’d like to discuss (jim.lein@oracle.com).

Go to Oracle Call for Proposals to learn how to submit your proposal.


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.

Tuesday Apr 14, 2015

Suffering From Bloated SaaS?


When it comes to SaaS can there be too much of a good thing? Many SaaS-adopting organizations now find themselves with dozens of precariously connected solutions, primarily because line of business buyers bypass the offices of finance and IT. 

Matt Blumber, CEO and founder of Return Path, recently penned this fun post Honey, Does this Make My SaaS Look Big?. Blumber inventories his company’s SaaS stockpile off the top of his head (50+ solutions; 50+ vendors) and acknowledges that there may be overlap because, “it’s easy for people to put small charges on credit cards and not realize other pockets of the organization are using different or even the same tools”.

I understand how this happens. And I’m not one to talk. I have over a dozen personal social media accounts, including five Facebook pages. But no harm no foul. My strategy may be chubby but it’s not hurting me.

In contrast, a bloated SaaS strategy can cost your company time and money as well as create misinformation nightmares associated with integration challenges.

Oracle strives to be our customers’ one stop shop for efficient SaaS. In addition to an extensive portfolio of applications, we offer solutions that allow you to :

  • Connect all your line of business applications—whether on premise or cloud—to the rest of your business,
  • Connect any person with all your applications anytime, anywhere
  • Connect any intelligent device
Learn more:

Video: How to Avoid Cloud Connection Headaches

Video: Choosing the Right SaaS With SaaS Facts 


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 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.

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.


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.


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