Tuesday Feb 10, 2015

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.

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 03, 2014

Startup Lessons: Go Big or Go Home

For every startup that succeeds, about nine fail. A recent Inc.com article by Kimberly Weisul, What Went Wrong: 101 Failed Startups Tell All, analyzes extensive post mortem data collected by CB Insights to find five primary causes of failure:

  • No market need—43%
  • Ran out of cash—29%
  • Not the right team—33%
  • Got outcompeted—19%
  • Pricing/cost issues—18%

It’s mission critical for aspiring to analyze why businesses fail but it’s equally important to get advice from successful entrepreneurs. Reggie Bradford is Oracle’s SVP of Product Development for Oracle Social Relationship Management (SRM). Prior to joining Oracle, he was involved in three successful startups, most recently Vitrue which was purchased by Oracle in 2012 and is now a key component of our SRM suite.

In this Forbes article, 8 Lessons In Creating A Lasting Enterprise Startup, Reggie shares his experience of what it takes to not just succeed as a startup but to launch a company, “that can scale to work with the largest brands in the world. No mom-and-pop strategies here—go big or go home”.

A great idea and impeccably crafted business plan is not enough. Success requires passion, perfect team chemistry, embracing risk, continual adjusting (even pivoting) and even support from family.

It’s easy to forget that Oracle was once a startup too, with a garage as our first corporate HQ. Since 1977, we’ve helped thousands of entrepreneurs transform ideas into enduring enterprises. Oracle’s startup customers understand the need to choose technology partners that offer solutions that will continue to meet their needs as they grow and thrive.

Learn more:

Video: Solairus Aviation Soars with Oracle ERP Cloud Service

Blog: Lyft Chooses Oracle HCM Cloud to Adopt Modern Best Practice

Video: Q-See Improves Customer Satisfaction with Oracle Service Cloud

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 May 08, 2014

Simplifying Hybrid Cloud

by Jim Lein, Oracle Midsize Programs

My favorite brain game on lumosity.com is “Train of Thought”. The idea is to make sure every train engine arrives at the right color-coded station by flipping switches at track intersections. The better you get, the more stations you manage and the more trains are in play at once. It gets stressful pretty quick. 

Quite a bit of research lately predicts the rise of hybrid cloud adoption—a blend of on premise, private cloud, and public cloud IT solutions. Growing companies don’t want to rule out a potentially best-fit option based solely on deployment model. Thus, if you want all the good stuff now, you’re probably going to end up with a hybrid model.

That can translate to lots of moving parts—trainloads of information seeking the right station. Even a public cloud solution needs some attention. With a best of breed, hybrid strategy, it’s possible to have a dozen or more systems that need to talk to each other.

In this report, “Cloud for Business Managers in Midsized Organizations: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly” 76% of respondents say their ability to innovate using their cloud apps has been hindered and the main hindrance is a lack of integration (54%). That can be especially challenging for midsize companies with no IT staff or just a handful of employees dedicated to IT. 

The good news is that Oracle and its partners know how to manage all the moving parts. For example, Denovo started out as a traditional IT consulting and services company and, in 2009, began building a robust hosting and managed services practice for Oracle JD Edwards customers. Denovo has the expertise to connect their customers’ private ERP clouds with other on premise and public cloud solutions, from Oracle and other vendors. 

“Our customers want to leverage technology from the driver’s seat,” says Paul Herbka, Director of Enterprise Hosting, Cloud and Managed Services, at Denovo. “Not the other way around. They recognize that cloud is about more than just cost savings. It’s about speed of deployment, flexibility, elasticity, and agility. They want all that without having to manage all the moving parts.” 

Since Denovo started hosting with a strong consulting practice already in place, they have the know-how to build one-of-a kind ERP ecosystems for each customer. They understand how to pull or push information from one application to another, whether on premise or cloud.

“It’s all about being smarter, faster, and cheaper,” says Herbka. “It’s imperative for our customers to visualize their IT strategies through a single pane of glass. That’s why we offer a simple but comprehensive private enterprise cloud. Our clients run their own core business. The let us take care of the chore of delivering that software and infrastructure and concentrating on the technical details.”

Herbka will be presenting a live webinar, “ERP Cloud Benefits - from Chore to Core”, on Tuesday, May 13th, 2014 from 9:00am - 10:00am PST. He’ll be covering:

  • Ways to increase agile cloud-enabled business solutions
  • How business leaders are leveraging cloud solutions to drive innovation
  • How to gain support for your own cloud projects and initiatives
  • About success stories of cloud technology that reduced IT cost by up to 18%

Click here to register.

More on this topic:

Building a Hybrid Cloud: Five decision criteria for evaluating and selecting hybrid cloud solutions”, by Irfan Saif is a principal and leader of the postdigital enterprise initiative at Deloitte & Touche, featured in Oracle’s Profit Online magazine.

Jim Lein

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

Thursday Apr 17, 2014

People First! The Priority for Midsize Companies

by Jim Lein, Oracle Midsize Programs

Early in my technology career, I conducted an ROI assessment to help a very large customer update their HCM business processes across seven operating entities and tens of thousands of employees.

Their HR department was a room full of desks, each covered with stacks of blue paper cards. A legion of clerks each spent forty hours a week transferring hand written data from the cards into a main frame system. The scary part? The decision was to be based entirely on anticipated cost savings, not benefits. That was only a dozen years ago!

HR used to be at the bottom of the totem pole when it came to IT spending. Today, Human Capital Management and Talent Management solutions are surging to the top of the priority list at both midsize and enterprise companies. Finally, everyone seems to agree that people are a company's most important asset.

I asked Richard Atkins, EVP of Oracle Cloud applications for UK based Certus Solutions, what is driving investments in Oracle's Human Capital Management.

 "Cloud has changed everything," says Atkins. "We used to work almost exclusively with large enterprises. Now, most of our new clients are growing midsize companies with global operations. Our Cloud solutions enable them to deploy best practices fast and affordably. It's that simple."

Certus works with clients in the UK, Europe, the Middle East, and India. Most are either replacing a Tier 2 solution or have never had an HCM solution in place. In some regions, best practices for recruitment are a priority while, in others, the focus is on internal talent management.

"Our clients with global operations often need to cover both these scenarios,” says Atkins. “On the recruitment side, with social media and other options, it's almost becoming harder to find the right talent because there is just so much information out there. In areas where there still isn’t budget for hiring, internal talent management—like learning—is the priority. Oracle’s HCM cloud solutions covers all these needs for recruitment, social sourcing, learning, and core talent management. Clients have so much more information to make hiring decisions and to more easily spot the right people internally and retain the skills they need."

Growing Midsize Companies Want HCM Best Practices and Mobile

Certus clients are also eager to adopt best practices. "We rarely do requirements gathering anymore," says Atkins. "To our customers, the word 'standardization' is music to their ears. They want an out of the box system that delivers best practices quickly. They are encouraged by the ability of cloud solutions to deliver on that."

And mobile applications have massive appeal. “The kind of company looking at cloud solutions usually has a very mobile workforce,” says Atkins. “Senior management and, often, the entire workforce are working off smartphones and tablets. Oracle’s solutions work beautifully across those devices.”

Find out more about Oracle’s HCM Cloud And Taleo Cloud Service solutions if you’re ready to go mobile, enhance your learning programs, source talent socially, recruit more efficiently, or just replace your version of the blue card. See what Oracle CEO Larry Ellison has to say about managing your most precious assets.

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

Wednesday Apr 09, 2014

Yummy! KIND Snacks selects Oracle JD Edwards EnterpriseOne and Demantra to Support Business Growth

by Jim Lein, Oracle Midsize Programs

Oracle and KIND Healthy Snacks issued a press release yesterday, "KIND Healthy Snacks Selects Oracle’s JD Edwards EnterpriseOne and Oracle’s Demantra to Support Business Growth".

That's delicious news for several reasons.

First, KIND's  Dark Chocolate Cherry Cashew + Antioxidants bar (pictured above) happens to be my favorite hiking, biking, and skiing snack. It's scrumptious and when you bite into it you see exactly what it's made of, unlike so many other energy foods on the market. You have to be careful how you pack it though, as I've melted a couple in my backpack on hot sunny hikes.

The press release states, "After evaluating more than a dozen different solutions, KIND selected Oracle's JD Edwards EnterpriseOne 9.1 and Oracle's Demantra to help drive efficiencies and achieve the flexibility required to capitalize on the opportunities presented by fast growth and an ever-changing marketplace". Since I'm writing a blog series on “The (R)Evolution in IT Buyer Behavior” I look forward to learning about how KIND went about their selection process.

And finally, I'm excited that this is an Oracle Business Accelerator project. Again, from the press release, " KIND used Oracle Business Accelerators and the Syntax Accelerate Methodology to reduce the overall project risk and increase the speed of their JD Edwards EnterpriseOne application deployment".

That's a lot of good news from one press release. I'll enjoy a KIND bar at the top of Evergreen Mountain on my mountain bike ride in Alderfer Three Sisters Park this evening, along with a few sticks of red licorice and maybe a micro-brew beer. I know...there's no accounting for personal taste.

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

Wednesday Mar 12, 2014

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

by Jim Lein, Oracle Accelerate for Midsize Companies

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

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

You want to hear something really scary?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday Jan 30, 2014

Year of The Horse--Wishing You Immediate Prosperity

by Angela Wang |Solution Principal Oracle Midsize Programs -Greater China

Tomorrow, we’ll say farewell to the Year of the Snake and welcome the Year of the the Horse. In Chinese history, the horse has always been a beautiful totem, which symbolized strength, speed, and grace. To be positive. To go forward ceaselessly.

Everyone likes horses. Search the internet and you’ll find many cute cartoon horses with money, or a house, or a car, or a couple of elephants on their backs. This is a lucky sign that expresses the will to right away have what we desire. The Chinese word “Ma Shang” means “at horse speed” and is used to mean that something will be done right away. Thus, a cartoon depicting a horse with money on its backs expresses the hope of immediate prosperity. The Chinese words for “a pair of elephants” and “boyfriends/girlfriends” share the same pronunciation. So…a horse with two elephants on its back expresses the hope of getting a date soon. You get the idea. I think, this must express our common willing for 2014.

When Oracle provides services to our midsize customers, we often find they need the same capabilities as big companies. They want the same software as our large customers.

Meanwhile, midsize companies often must face the challenges of fast growth. They need flexible and scalable software that can grow with them to suit the fast changing market. Midsize companies also can’t afford lengthy implementations and high project risks. This is just like choosing the right horse for a wagon while also in a fast changing environment!

It must be a horse—not a donkey, not an ox. The horse can grow stronger while the wagon gets heavier. It can turn easily as the direction changes. It can be easily and rapidly connected to the wagon and run immediately. This doesn’t sound easy, but it sounds quite familiar to me. Isn’t it Oracle Accelerate, the Oracle program designed for midsize customers?

The English word, “Accelerate”, has the meaning of “speed up”. The word makes me think of a galloping horse. Created by Oracle's expert partners, Oracle Accelerate solutions are simple to deploy, industry-specific packaged solutions, designed for fast time to benefit, which means getting the right solution in place quickly, inexpensively and with a controlled scope and predictable returns. Maybe, this is the most suitable horse that our midsize customers are seeking?

We will collaborate more with you via blog, Weibo and Wechat in the coming new year and share with you the thoughts from Oracle and partner experts. Our team will be like the horse that gallops without the raising of the whip! We wish you a lucky and wealthy Year of the Horse!

Wednesday Nov 27, 2013

Get a Number…Give A Number. I give Oracle “7”.

by Jim Lein | Sr. Principal Product Marketing Director | Oracle Midsize Programs | @JimLein

There’s a game currently making the social media rounds in which one friend assigns a random number –let’s say, “twelve”—to another friend. The assigned friend then shares twelve little known facts about themselves.

The “Get a Number…Give A Number” game reminds me that I might not know some of my friends as well as I think I do. It’s a rare occasion when I meet someone who doesn’t have opinions about Oracle. Ask yourself—what do you really know about the second largest software company on the planet? To that end, I have randomly assigned the number “seven” to Oracle (seven is a lucky number and every writer knows list-based posts must have an odd number of items just like all landscaping projects must have an add number of shrubs).

Here are seven facts you might not know about my company:

  1. My home state of Colorado ranks third in the nation for concentration of tech workers in the public sector (8.7%). Oracle is a major contributor to that statistic, having inherited multiple Colorado campuses via acquisition including JD Edwards (Denver Tech Center), Sun Microsystems (Broomfield), and BEA Systems (Boulder).
  2. More than two thirds of Oracle’s customers are midsize companies .
  3. Oracle headquarters in Redwood City occupy reclaimed tidelands and the 66 acre site was originally Marine World/Africa USA.
  4. My first boss at Oracle was a guy who I had met years before when we worked on the same floor at JD Edwards. I didn’t know what his job was back then but we had pleasant conversations at the copier (remember those things?). But I digress…
  5. Oracle wins numerous awards for philanthropy including being ranked #7 in the Silicon Valley Business Journal Corporate Philanthropy Awards.
  6. Oracle OpenWorld ‘96 (the first) featured 420 sessions and 17,200 visitors at San Francisco’s Moscone Center. Many superstar acts have performed over the years at the Oracle OpenWorld Customer Appreciation Events including Elton John, Sting, Billy Joel, and (my favorite) Counting Crows but the farthest back anyone could remember was Oracle OpenWorld ’98 at which KC and the Sunshine Band, Dave Wakeling (of The English Beat fame), Asleep at the Wheel, and Cherry Poppin’ Daddies performed.
  7. Oracle’s smallest customers run the same applications as our largest customers. For example, Land o’ Lakes (14B USD, USA) runs Oracle’s JD Edwards EnterpriseOne and so does Felsineo (<100M USD, Italy). And Ingersoll Rand (14B USD, Ireland) runs Oracle E-Business Suite and so does PressureJet Systems (<100M USD, India). And Skanska AB (60,000 employees, Sweden) runs Oracle Taleo Talent Management and so does Be The Match (875 employees, USA). You get the picture.

If you haven’t yet guessed, this post is a thinly veiled attempt to get you interested in learning more about the kind of company Oracle is today. This is not your father’s Oracle. Today Oracle has 120,000 employees and many of us honed our skills and gained experience prior to joining Oracle at such great companies as JD Edwards, PeopleSoft, Primavera, Siebel, Taleo, Eloqua, and Hyperion . That’s where we’ve been but now our heads are in the cloud. So get to know us better. If you’re not an Oracle customer now, odds are—you may soon be one.

Thursday Oct 10, 2013

New Study Reveals SMB Companies Are Increasing Adoption of Modern Marketing Techniques

Survey Highlights Business Value of Modern Marketing Techniques and Factors Driving Increased Adoption

Click here to read the press release.

Wednesday Oct 09, 2013

When It Comes to ERP-Nobody Likes Surprises

by Jim Lein | Sr. Principal Product Marketing Director | Oracle Midsize Programs | @JimLein

I joined JD Edwards in 1999 and quickly learned a few ground rules. Think thrice before using the word “easy” to describe anything about ERP. The only constant in ERP is change. And customers hate surprises.

Syntax—Specializing in Oracle JD Edwards and Oracle Accelerate From the Get-Go

From the beginnings, Oracle JD Edwards enterprise applications have been known for having deep industry functionality and for being THE low risk and low TCO Top Tier option. Recently, I caught up with Gary Shaffran, Sr. Vice President and Co-Owner at Syntax, an Oracle Accelerate Partner and Platinum level partner in Oracle PartnerNetwork.

Syntax was founded in Toronto in 1972. Gary joined the company in 1981 and was part of the executive team that made the decision to hitch its ERP consulting wagon exclusively to JD Edwards in 1996. The company was also one of the original Oracle Accelerate Partners dating back to when the program was launched in 2007.

"The most consistent themes we're hearing from our customers are that they want cost certainty and industry best practices," says Shaffran. “They don’t want to reinvent the wheel. From the start, the Oracle Accelerate approach has given our customers a reason to select Oracle’s JD Edwards with the confidence that they will get return on their investments quickly.”

Rigid Template--Bad. Configurable Template—Good.

Syntax’s clients want best practices but not at the expense of flexibility. They need assurance that the solution of choice will bring best practices to their organization but not shoe horn them into a stagnant template that locks them into one version of industry best practices.

“One company’s definition of best practices is different than another’s,” says Shaffran. “Smaller companies are smaller—not simpler. An old-fashioned template approach based on rigid industry best practices is misguided because it won’t take into account that every company is different.

In Shaffran’s experience, that’s why Oracle Accelerate Solutions and Oracle Business Accelerators are unlike anything else in the market. Syntax leverages the embedded best practices to get customers set up on starting point based on the experiences of similar companies. But from there, each company has the ability to tweak their processes within the system—without customizations—to meet their changing needs as they grow and adapt their businesses to changing market conditions.

“Today, customer expectations are more complex because their businesses are more complex,” adds Shaffran. “The Oracle Accelerate approach gets our customers to that starting point more quickly and with more cost certainty.”

The Oracle Accelerate Resource Library Helps Customers Visualize Success

Syntax’s consultants leverage the thousands of assets in the Oracle Business Accelerators Resource Library not just for the implementation but also as tools to help each customer understand what life will be like with their new solution. The end result, Shaffran says, is that the project teams aren’t blindsided by unexpected barriers to success.

“We use assets in the Resource Library starting with our first presentation and all the way through post go-live training,” says Shaffran. “Those assets—such as business flow models and videos—help customer visualize what the solution will look like when it goes live. They gain confidence that the Oracle applications and the project team can handle all the complexity thrown at them. They know they will get to a great starting place and that, as they get their hands on the software and start working with it over time, they will have the knowledge and skills to expand, adapt, and configure as need be.”

Staying One Step Ahead of the Curve

For decades, Syntax has closely paid attention to the needs of their clients and strives to stay one step ahead. They continue to augment their Oracle applications services with complementary tool sets and industry specific add-ons developed, maintained, and enhanced by their consultants for their industries they focus on. They become trusted advisers to their clients, helping them to develop actionable strategies for adopting new technologies such as Cloud solutions for which important factors like an integration strategy can be overlooked.

Shaffran emphatically believes there’s never been a better time to be an Oracle JD Edwards customer than now. The same can be said for being an Oracle Partner dedicated to a JD Edwards practice.

“Adopting the Oracle Accelerate approach has made us better able to demonstrate to customers that they can have best of breed software—leading edge, top right side of the quadrant—without incurring the risk and cost uncertainty normally associated with going that route,” says Shaffran. “We now have offerings that fit the needs of any company—compelling solutions delivering rapid time to benefit rolled up with industry specific capabilities. Plus, we offer managed services, hosting, SaaS—the entire gamut of solutions. No surprises; all from one provider.”

Wednesday Oct 02, 2013

Now Available: A Podcast Teaser for the Blog Series "The Growing IT Labor Shortage"

by Jim Lein, Programs Management Sr. Principal, Oracle Midsize Programs

We just released an Oracle Accelerate for Midsize Companies AppCast that is a 9 minute teaser/summary of our ongoing blog series, "The Growing IT Labor Shortage: Are You Feeling It?"

I'll be wrapping up the series later this month.  It's been fun because I've had the opportunity to speak with many smart, dedicated, and impassioned professionals--partners, customers, and Oracle subject matter experts--on the subject of how to attract and retain the best talent.

Meanwhile listen to the AppCast for the gist of the thought leadership and advice in the series.

Each of the posts in the series are accessible via links on the right side of this blog.

And...to listen to more Oracle Accelerate for Midsize Companies AppCasts go here

Friday Sep 06, 2013

Don’t Miss the Oracle Midsize Sessions at Oracle OpenWorld 2013

Click here to see the Oracle Midsize sessions and activities taking place during Oracle OpenWorld in San Fancisco, September 22-26.

Friday Jul 19, 2013

Mastering the New Recruiting "Game" with Taleo Social Sourcing

Attend the July 23rd webcast with Qualcomm to find out how Oracle's Taleo Recruiting with Social Sourcing Cloud Service can help you unlock hidden connections to top talent, improving recruiting and hiring efficiency by as much as 50%.

Register today.



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