I need to admit that you can easily have a déjà-vu if you visit UNLEASH year after year. So was it Groundhog Day again? Monsters at the entry, stairways to the left, lobby, meeting area (if you would like to have a more detailed picture check my live streaming replay).
But, “what a difference a year makes!” With a white, modern, fresh, open spaces, and two stories!! So, Oracle was the only vendor with its own Executive terrace which enabled a fantastic view over the entire exhibition area. But this was definitely not the only reason why Oracle had continuously more traction at the booth in comparison with the other vendors. A new increased interest in Oracle HCM Cloud was tangible. The new "Enjoyable, Smarter and Supportive" release is grabbing more and more attention in the market. Oracle's new positioning in Gartner's Magic Quadrant as innovation leader in HCM Cloud reflects this well and helps to boost interest, too.
So, what is it that creates this interest? The new release of Oracle's HCM Cloud displays itself in an entirely new look and feel. You can scroll the front pages just as on LinkedIn etc. (we call this Newsfeed design). Intuitively everybody understands what to do. Complex drop-Down menus? No. Smart pre-selection of information narrows down the reasonable fields for a much easier navigation in the Suite, and this makes information finds you instead of the other way round. Chatbots, Machine Learning, AI - it is all integrated. And, it is fully mobile because it is ONE Cloud. You start a process on one device and continue on another. No problem. Data always real-time accurate. Or you just do workflows, which have been complex in the past, with a couple of clicks on your smartphone.
Additionally to the booth, we had a separate meeting area for executive 1:1s. With a couple of thousands HCM Cloud installations worldwide, you can imagine that our Oracle executives have a vast knowledge of projects: what went well, what could have been handled differently or how to approach a digital transformation whilst keeping everybody on board. June Farmer and Guy Waterman, both from Oracle US Product Strategy, did one executive meeting after the other, as did Daniel van den Broeck and Steve Fearon, Oracle EMEA Business VPs. Flanking the demos, this was a perfect occasion to have an unfiltered exchange on the managerial aspects of such projects. Besides the technology, the managerial side is equally important as is the adoption among the employees. And even beyond HCM: Think of connected enterprises, think of IoT and smart devices in your organization - your HCM system will need to "speak" with other areas of your business, e.g. your Resources Planning or Finance system or your Marketing and Sales systems. Agile enterprises appreciate and already implement this agility and ad-hoc insights which come along with it.
And even beyond these very beneficial exchanges on executive level, we tried to capture the most boundary pushing ideas in our Otalk studio. Otalks are TED talk like short video pieces, where we try to filter the essence of all the hundreds of great ideas which are presented all over the two days in dozens of smaller and larger sessions. Josh Bersin shared some newest findings with us, as well as some key partners of ours or influencers. Another highlight was my interview with the buddhist monk Matthieu Ricard ( https://www.matthieuricard.org/en).
He added interesting perspectives on our responsibility to make something out of the new technological possibilities which we now have at our hands to make the world a better place. It was easy to engage with him once I told him about our mission to "make Work more human!". A very inspiring interaction.
I need to re-emphasize that in these two fully packed days @UNLEASH you can find an enormous amount of knowledge, interesting people and down-to-earth discussions. We wanted to share all of this via a 30 minute live streaming. Marc Coleman, the founder and father of UNLEASH was with us as well as I was interviewing some key people on their perception and experiences. I was told afterwards that we had a lot of attention especially from our key competitors doing this. For a good reason. We showcased the beauty of our new UX is, how our prospects adopt it, as well as the integration of advanced technologies as AI and the power of an integrated cloud solution. Much to speak about, and a lot of value coming with it for customers.
Demo after demo after demo. We are evangelizing it over and over again: the best software needs adoption, otherwise it is useless. The individual user is in the center of our new HCM Cloud. This needs to be experienced. Logically we demonstrated this live and directly to many interested people. We even had people queuing for demos and it came to a point where we had a hard time keeping to the schedule because people were so interested in the new easy-to-use, personalized and self-learning experience in HCM Cloud.
You can imagine that this is quite exhausting for everybody. For us, but for our customers and prospects too. So, what else would be a perfect closing of such a day then a good companionship, some drinks and a decent dinner with ongoing intelligent exchanges? In good tradition, we had our Cocktail Party at the Oracle Booth. And I can tell you it was packed! Directly followed by our "Oracle International Dinner". Around 150 top notch attendees have been our guests on a historic boat, the "Prins van Oranje". A fantastic place, great dinner and lovely guests. We continued discussing in a very informal and pleasant environment. Our executives shared their experiences, as did Product Strategy and our EMEA Thought Leadership team. A great occasion to network and create plans for your tomorrow, today.
You think this was it? This was only day 1!! Day 2 was great too. We continued Otalking, Exec Meetings, demos, etc. We had a very interesting panel discussion with two very convinced customers, Staples and Westmidlands Police, run by Bart van Keer. Overall, there are dozens if not hundreds of sessions. So, UNLEASH is not only very effective in terms of relationship building with executives, but also is a vast pool of great ideas. You will discover a couple of these when we will release the Otalks online soon.
So, what was the difference? It was the vibe and attitude all around our booth. The new release of our HCM Cloud, as well as the very positive market perception (Gartner Magic Quadrant), changed something. I won’t be able to quantify this, but everybody radiated a lot of energy. A new confidence was there and that resonated with our customers.
Two exhausting days, but as far as I know, a great success for us and a great benefit for all our customers and prospects.
We can be proud of this team and community. I am.
HCM Strategy Director