Monday Mar 09, 2015

Equity funding for your buyout, startup, spinoff? Executive Insight from Lenley Hensarling


Lenley Hensarling, past GVP and GM of Oracle JD Edwards, provides due diligence and advisory services to private equity and venture capital firms. He is currently engaged as an independent operating partner for Peak Equity Partners. He has over 30 years experience developing engineering and go-to-market strategies for software companies.

Q: What is your role at Peak Equity Partners?

Peak Equity Partners concentrates on buyouts and recapitalizations of enterprise software and solutions companies. We’re most interested in companies that are just past the venture capital stage—not ready to go public and not ready to be sold to another company. My role is to provide advisory services to companies within their portfolio, help identify opportunities for investment, and perform due diligence once a decision has been made that a specific company is interesting. At that phase, we work together to determine the real state of the business—verify that what we think is there, is really there.

Q: What qualities do you look for in potential investment opportunities?

A lot of companies that were on a trajectory to hit success were somewhat derailed by the turn down in the economy. That didn’t mean that what they had wasn’t a good idea or that they weren’t necessarily executing well. The good ones held on—kept the cash flow coming. They got stranded as it were, and private equity is a good vehicle to get them back on a trajectory to deliver their value to customers and to investors.

That ability for a company to deliver value to the marketplace is what we are looking for. Is there a revenue stream? Do they have customers? Is their market of substantial size? Are they likely to get back on a good trajectory and go to the next level with an infusion of capital, advice, and expertise?

Q: How do you find companies like this?

Companies in this situation often hire an investment banker to seek out capital opportunities. There also exists a large network within the investment community. For example, a venture capital firm might have initially funded a company, but for whatever reasons that company is no longer a good fit for their portfolio, or the fund has closed out and their attention is better focused on new opportunities. They still think it’s a good company and the company’s board of directors and management engage with an investment bank to find someone to sell it to.

Private equity firms also proactively look for hidden gems, leveraging their networks and those of their operating partners. The call around and have some conversations. Sometimes those conversations go somewhere and sometimes they don’t.

Part 2: What happens after a company receives a capital infusion?

Part 3: How does Oracle fit into the picture?



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 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.

Monday Mar 02, 2015

Getting Started With Your Social Relationship Management Strategy-Reggie Bradford, SVP, Oracle Product Development

Reggie Bradford, SVP, SRM Product Development, Oracle

Reggie Bradford joined Oracle in 2012 via the acquisition of Vitrue, the leading provider of social marketing software for global brands and agencies; a company he started in 2006. Vitrue is now an anchor component of the Oracle Social Relationship Management (SRM) suite of cloud solutions. Bradford circles the globe espousing thought leadership in such topics as Cloud, Customer Experience and the paradigm shift caused to Brands by the explosive growth of Mobile and Social. Bradford recently authored an Oracle eBook, Modern Best Practice for the Social Business.

Q: What is SRM and why is it so important?

SRM enhances Customer Relationship Management (CRM) with critical social pieces to make it more holistic and answers the question, “How do I build connections and relationships with prospects, co-workers, peers, customers, and influencers to further extend my products and services into the marketplace?” 9 out of 10 people buy products or services based on recommendation from a peer or friend. Since people today are pervasively using social and mobile technology to conduct their personal and business lives, corporations need a comprehensive SRM strategy that provides the full range of customer touch points. Subsequently, they can capture those interactions, learn from them, and build on those relationships.

Q: What is the first step to adopting modern best practice for social?

Develop a plan. Too many companies jump into SRM without a plan and the market tunes them out because they are not engaging with a relevant voice. So first, pull together your key constituents and stakeholders and ask the question, “What is my purpose for doing SRM?” Don’t do it just to be cool and trendy. Do it because you are going to add value by being social. Identify and understand what your unique voice is going to be in order to be relevant to your market.

Q: Should every company have an SRM strategy?

I’m certainly biased but I think social has a role in every product or service because that’s where the customer is. Over 2 billion people are using social networks. It’s not “should you do SRM” but rather “How should you do SRM”. That “how” depends on the product or service you’re offering and what platforms you should engage with and how are you going to connect with your customers and stakeholders. That can certainly include collaborating internally with employees, vendors, and partners.

Q: What are the outcomes of effectively adopting modern best practice for social?

With an effective SRM plan, you’re going to be more in tune and effective in your marketplace. You’ll be doing business the way people are doing business today. You’ll also be able to measure your effectiveness via ROI that might not equal revenue, but actually be “COI”, as David Mingle of GM says—the “Cost of Ignoring”. The COI is that if you’re not engaged across your customer experience you risk becoming irrelevant or obsolete. We see more and more companies that don’t embrace the future fall behind—even Fortune 500 companies.

Q: You’ve started or helped build and sold 3 companies in the last 15 years. What drives you today?

One of the things I’ve strived to be better at is finding balance in life spanning my faith, family, and business. My wife and I have six kids. Chaos reigns in our household. Right now I’m just going through life and loving every minute of it. One of my real passions I have is taking the lessons I’ve learned and sharing them with the next generation of entrepreneurs. I’m very interested in disruption and pivots. That’s why I love working with startups but it’s critical even for established companies to sometimes behave like a startup. Oracle began as a startup and we continue to innovate, especially across our cloud solutions—DaaS, PaaS, IaaS, and SaaS. Innovation—like how we’re building out an end-to-end SRM solution—along with new ideas and business models, are what keeps me engaged and keeps me excited. I like to have impact and have fun.

Download the eBook, Modern Best Practice for the Social Business:



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.

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.


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.

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.

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