Wednesday Feb 25, 2015

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 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.

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.

Monday Dec 08, 2014

Cloud Solutions Drive Real Results

New Video Showcases What Modern Means to Oracle Cloud Customers

Oracle released a short (2:34) compilation video today featuring rapid fire snippets of customer testimonials. Each customer, in their own words, describes benefits their company has realized by deploying Oracle cloud applications and adopting Modern Best Practice. 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.

Here are a few highlights. Click on the image to view additional videos featuring each customer's story:





Go to Oracle’s customer and partner successes home page to see more customer videos.


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 Oct 29, 2014

Fin, Feather, & Fur Outfitters Chooses Oracle to Drive Digital Transformation


How does a hometown sporting goods retailer compete with specialty big box giants? The answer is: you exploit their weaknesses. Ohio-based Fin, Feather, and Fur Outfitters has averaged 30-40% year over year growth since 2010 by doing what the big guys can’t.

Shawn Gilronan, CIO at Fin, Feather, and Fur Outfitters, 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.

“We have built our competitive advantage by carrying a broad selection of branded firearms and accessories that closely reflect what are customers want to see,” says Gilronan. “We also take pride in our knowledgeable sales associates who are highly trained in programs sponsored by such top tier vendors as Sig Sauer, Rocky Boots, Columbia Sportswear, and Under Armour.”

Fin, Feather, and Fur Outfitters’ executive team knew that profitable growth could only be sustained by transforming the company from a local mainstay to one that can go toe-to-toe with industry juggernauts. As Gilronan guides the company through a “Crawl/Walk/Run” Oracle deployment strategy over three phases, the company could potentially be a case study supporting this MIT Sloan Management Review research, “The Nine Elements of Digital Transformation”.

Software Selection Via the 21st Century Good Ol’ Boy Network

“We knew we needed to change,” says Gilronan. “The systems we had weren’t scalable, reliable, and couldn’t cope with the volume of transactions. We knew we needed a ERP system with deep and broad industry capabilities to build a foundation on. Plus we also needed a robust front end solution for our cashiers to get customers in and out the store efficiently.”

Prior to deploying Oracle, Fin, Feather, and Fur Outfitters had no enterprise wide IT platform in place—something not necessarily vital to a company with just four stores, no shared services warehouse/distribution system, and no eCommerce presence whatsoever. Many non-standard processes and procedures were in place, born out of necessity, rather than formed out of intelligent, thought driven planning. High growth quickly exposed the deficiencies in the company’s existing IT systems. The company reached over capacity on system SKU’s. They experienced frequent system outages. The executive leadership team worried that sales revenue was being left on the table.

Fin, Feather, and Fur Outfitters’ customers prefer quality brands with reputations established over time amongst their friends and peers. Brands like Carhartt, Case Knives, and Smith and Wesson. Likewise, when Gilronan sent out a growth focused RFP, Oracle quickly rose to the top based on the local reputation of JD Edwards EnterpriseOne for finance and distribution as well as the industry penetration and well known ability of Oracle’s eCommerce solutions ATG and Endeca for eCommerce to support sustained growth.

“Oracle rose to the top for a number of reasons,” says Gilronan. “First, the robust distribution management capabilities in JD Edwards align well with our company growth model. Plus, Oracle offers a user-friendly application environment. And finally, our selection was based on a “best fit” approach in terms of using a local partner, the right cost, and the fact that Oracle and our partner aligned well with our company’s morals and values.”

The Outcomes of Digital Transformation

As identified in the MIT Sloan Management research, “Executives in all industries are using digital advances such as analytics, mobility, social media and smart embedded devices as well as improving their use of traditional technologies such as ERP to change customer relationships, internal processes and value propositions.” Also, “Executives are digitally transforming three key areas of their enterprises: customer experience, operational processes, and business models.” Not by coincidence, Fin, Feather, and Fur Outfitters’ digital transformation will dramatically impact all three of these key areas.

“Our customers’ experience will be enhanced by Oracle’s state of the art POS system, optimized inventories, and online purchasing options,” says Gilronan. “We’ll be adopting modern best practices for our industry with Oracle’s out of the box capabilities and standardizing training across all operations. Our business model will be radically enhanced by developing a compelling online presence and by tripling our number of stores and moving to building a modern warehouse and distribution facility.”

Gilronan expects dramatic ROI as the each of the three phases are completed. For the first time, managers will have integration between sales, inventory, and financial management. Fin, Feather, and Fur Outfitters has succeeded by accurately matching their inventory to their customers’ preferences but, without modern inventory best practices, that has resulted in high inventory carrying costs. With the adoption of Modern Best Practice for inventory management they’ll be able to perform detailed analysis to determine profitability at a more granular scale such as store square foot allocation by product and the carrying cost of products at the store level. Gilronan expects to reduce inventory levels by 30-40% even as they continue to grow dramatically.

“Our digital transformation will allow us to continue our organic growth model,” says Gilronan. “We’ll be opening many new locations and exploring new-to-us concepts without being impeded by technology. We’ll be a more formidable and direct competitor with larger big box stores.”

Wednesday Sep 17, 2014

10.02.2014 We are going to say (a lot) more on Modern Best Practice


9.9.2014? Yes, Apple-I like your style when it comes to building excitement! In fact, it's inspired me.

If you're interested in substantive news that will help you grow your business, we'll be announcing some pretty interesting stuff on 10.2.2014 during our session at Oracle OpenWorld, Understanding and Adopting Modern Best Practice for Fast Time to Value

You might ask, "What is Modern Best Practice?" Think of it this way...

BEST Practice (per Wikipedia) is, "a method or technique that has consistently shown results superior to those achieved with other means".

MODERN Best Practice is flexible, supports growth and innovation and enables new ways of executing to achieve radically superior performance. Exploiting new capabilities made possible by Cloud Computing, Mobile, Analytics, Social, The Internet of Things & Big Data, modern best practice enables organizations of all sizes to achieve more, faster and with less resources.

At Oracle, we're proud to be contributing to the amazing achievements our customers are accomplishing as they adopt modern best practice.

Our Oracle OpenWorld session will feature thought leadership and practical insight on Modern Best Practice from:

  • Steve Cox, VP, Midsize, Applications Business Group

  • Fred Wilkinson, CEO of BPI OnDemand, an Oracle partner and EMEA's leading SaaS Cloud CRM Consultancy for the Small to Midsize businesses.

  • Walt Zipperman, President of DAZ Systems, Inc., a North American Oracle partner who has implemented hundreds of projects across Oracle's product portfolio

If you're attending Oracle OpenWorld, use the schedule builder to add this session to your calendar. Stay tuned to this blog for more news on Oracle and Modern Best Practice.



Session Information

And...don't miss our session highlighting Oracle's growing customers:

  • CON7281: Customer Voices: IT Strategies and the High Growth Organization
  • Wednesday, October 1, 10:15 AM - 11:00 AM, Moscone West - 3006 

 Learn more about Oracle for Midsize Companies at Oracle OpenWorld HERE

Tuesday Sep 16, 2014

What do Lyft...Fin, Feather, & Fur...Mouser Electronics...& TH March Have in Common?

The answer is...

Executives from each of these Oracle customers will be sharing their thought leadership and insight during our Oracle Open World session,

"Customer Voices: IT Strategies and the High-Growth Organization”
Wed., October 1, 2014; 10:15 am – 11:00 am; Moscone West – 3006; Session ID: CON7281

We’ve gathered a compelling assemblage of speakers across a diverse mix of industries and company life stages: 

  • Ron Storn—VP, People at the Lyft, a Bay Area company with one of the hottest brands in ridesharing that is adopting Modern Best Practice for human resource management with Oracle HCM Cloud.

We’ve asked each customer to share their perspective on:

  • Evaluating and selecting technology solutions in the 21st Century
  • The impact of growth on people, processes, and systems business
  • How adopting modern best practice enabled by technology solutions will help solve their business challenges

Personally...I expect that this eclectic mix of customers and the solutions they'll be discussing will result in the most interesting and thought session we've hosted since launching Oracle Accelerate at Oracle OpenWorld in 2006.

 I'm looking forward to it. Hope to see you there.

Register for Oracle OpenWorld; then use the Schedule Builder to plot your course


Another "Don't Miss Session, "Understanding and Adopting Modern Best Practice for Fast Time to Value

CON7282, October 2, 2014: 1:00 pm – 1:45 pm  Moscone West – 3004


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