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.

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.

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 Feb 17, 2015

Trends 2015: Oracle Experts Weigh In

Yes, I realize it's the middle of February and not the first week of January. But I was leafing through Oracle Profit Online yesterday and found lots of valuable insight from Oracle experts about what to expect this year in this Special Report, Trends to Watch in 2015. The article includes links to insight on just about every technology subject that is (or maybe should be) on your mind this year--cloud, security, innovation, and big data, to name a few.

Of special interest to me is Trends in the Workplace: Gamification in the Enterprise since I am currently co-authoring an eBook on Modern Best Practice for Work Life Solutions (publishing in mid March). Given today's challenges of hiring and retaining top talent, many organizations are seeking ways to keep their employees more engaged and happier. It's a fascinating subject and I expect that Work Life technology solutions will soon become an important component of Modern Best Practice for HR and 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.

Monday Feb 16, 2015

What Makes a Top Tech Town?

A local news headline, 2 Colorado cities named among top 10 innovative tech hubs, caught my eye. I know that we have a vibrant startup scene but didn't know it was that vibrant.  When I saw that the two cities were Boulder and Fort Collins, my next thought was that both those small cities had large state universities and very high ratings for quality of life.

Indeed, it turns out that the three key takeaways from this NerdWallet study, Americas Most Innovative Tech Hubs are:

  • Silicon Valley is by far the Leader
  • The West Dominates
  • Universities Are Key

Read the story to learn which other cities made the list and why. 

Last week, I published my three part series, From X's and O's to MQL's and SQL's, based on my interview with Jeremy Bloom, a Colorado born and raised athlete and successful entrepreneur. The posts include insight on Jeremy's experiences founding a startup, how his company helps Oracle customers adopt Modern Best Practice for Marketing, and his motivation behind founding Wish of a Lifetime.

Oracle has an impressive track record in providing solutions and expertise to thousands of innovative companies in the technology industry. Here's a link to a list of a couple hundred Oracle technology customer success stories. 


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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Tuesday Feb 10, 2015

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q: Tell me about Wish of a Lifetime

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

Part 1: The Path to Startup

Part 2: On a Mission With Oracle




Jim Lein

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

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

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


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


Part 2: On a Mission With Oracle

Q: What do you like about partnering with Oracle?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Part 1: The Path to Startup

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



Jim Lein

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

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

From X’s & O’s to MQLs & SQls


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


Part 1: The Path to Startup

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

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

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

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

Q: What has your personal startup journey been like?

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

Part 2: On a Mission With Oracle

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



Jim Lein

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

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

Friday Feb 06, 2015

Random Thoughts on Digital Transformation by IDC’s Michael Fauscette

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Jim Lein

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

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

Wednesday Jan 21, 2015

A Lost iPhone & Digital Transformation


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

I had been pick-pocketed by a Yeti!

Expectations Exceeded Without Begging 

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

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


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

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

Oracle customers do this kind of stuff all the time.

Digital Transformation and Modern Best Practice

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

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

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






Learn More About Oracle and Midsize


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Jim Lein

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

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

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.

Tuesday Nov 04, 2014

Lyft Chooses Oracle HCM Cloud to Adopt Modern Best Practice

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

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

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

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

Hyper Growth Amplifies Onboarding Challenges

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Outcomes

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

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


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




Friday Oct 31, 2014

T H March Seeks to Redefine the Jewellery Insurance Customer Experience


A young couple stands in front of a jewellery store window, holding hands and gazing in wonder at the life changing purchase they are about to make—a stunning engagement ring.

It’s a timeless scene until the bride-to-be snaps a selfie with her smartphone to share on social media and the future groom checks the establishment’s reviews on Yelp. Welcome to buying jewellery in the digital age. A short time later, they emerge from the jeweller. She clinging to his arm and radiating happiness. He, strides forward, proud and happy, but his brow is furrowed in concern. How will he pay for his purchase? How will he protect his priceless future heirloom?  That second question will be answered when he dials the number on the business card tucked in his jacket pocket for the firm of insurance brokers recommended by the jeweller.

London based T H March is the UK’s largest and most experienced firm of insurance brokers specializing in all aspects of insurance for the jewellery trade, with 60% of the commercial market and tens of thousands of consumer clients.

Founded in 1887, the firm is a trusted advisor and preferred partner to the UK jewellery trade and its customers. Over the decades, the company’s customer experience practices have embraced new technology including the use of the internet and email.  However, on the whole, T H March (like most of its contemporaries) has continued to remain heavily reliant on traditional manual and paper-based processes – until now!

Neil McFarlane, Managing Director at T H March, was recently an executive customer speaker in an Oracle OpenWorld session devoted to strategies for adopting Modern Best Practice in high-growth organizations. Modern Best Practice exploits new capabilities made possible by emerging technologies—Cloud, Mobile, Analytics, Social, The Internet of Things, and Big Data—to enable organizations to achieve more, faster and with less resources.

“Insurance by nature is an impersonal business,” says Neil. “You don’t get a tangible product. You get a piece of paper with a promise. Our antiquated manual processes had become shockingly inadequate. For example, once a year we write to our clients and, essentially, ask for money. Those letters began with, ‘Dear valued client’. No personalized salutation. In this day and age, that’s inexcusable. It wasn’t difficult to work out we had a bit of a problem. We needed to change that dynamic.”

Finding the Right Solution to Take T H March Further Into the Digital Age

Behind that harsh self assessment is a sincere desire by Neil and his leadership team to better engage with their valued clients and to offer products that are most relevant to them. He knows too well the motto of the insurance business: If you win on price, you lose on price. The only way to establish differentiation is by offering a unique service proposition. T H March’s disparate, fragmented, and largely manual systems were stretching the firm’s resources and impacting response times, innovation, and service.

“Nearly all our competitors are ex-employees,” says Neil. “They have an inside track on our business. They drop our name in their elevator pitches to get the opportunity to provide quotes to our clients. They brag about having worked at T H March but then go on to say that they offer a ‘fresher, newer’ perspective. It’s very frustrating.”

When he began searching in earnest for new approaches to sales and marketing in 2011, Neil was T H March’s Sales and Marketing Director. Oracle wasn’t on his list because he believed the company only worked with large clients and not small but growing firms like T H March with its 100 employees. Neil’s opinion was swayed after attending an Oracle Eloqua marketing automation solution road show. While he was quick to appreciate  the solution’s capabilities and ease of use, he simultaneously became aware that they would need to adopt an overarching strategy to modernize not just marketing but also sales and social relationship management.

“Oracle demonstrated immediately that they really did get what we are trying to achieve,” says Neil. “They were the only company who understood our main driver was marketing automation, not basic CRM. They also fully involved Enigen, our implementation partner from the very outset, so that together they always seemed to be 1 or 2 steps ahead of the competing vendors.  Oracle and Enigen were the only vendor team that took the time to understand what our needs were and personalized a solution to those requirements.”

Outcomes

The Oracle and Enigen team helped Neil visualize how solutions for sales, marketing, and social relationship management (SRM) would work together to enable the firm to adopt modern best practice customer relationship management. His expectations go well beyond the customer relationship, sales, and territory management in Oracle Sales Cloud. He believes they already do a pretty good job at that but acknowledges they can do better by adopting Modern Best Practice for Sales.

Neil believes that the most impactful outcomes will be realized by putting together very personalized marketing campaigns with automated responses to nurture client and prospect relationships. And, by adopting social relationship management they will be better able to judge the effectiveness of those campaigns by listening to what people are saying about the firm and its brand and then responding and adapting accordingly.

“We intend to leverage Oracle CX Cloud to engage with our customers on a personal, very real basis and be relevant to them at the right time with the right information,” says Neil. “By creating a complete understanding of how, when, where and why our clients contact us, we can design personal and individual responses and campaigns based on their own needs. None of our competitors are even close to adopting that Modern Best Practice.”



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