Tuesday Apr 12, 2016

Tour the Oracle Cloud UX Rapid Development Kit (RDK) Resources

Julian Orr (@Orr_UX) and I (@KarenScipi) recently hosted a Customer Connect webinar: Oracle Cloud UX Rapid Development Kit (RDK).

We walked through our Cloud UX Rapid Development Kit landing page, highlighting Learn, Design, and Build resources that you can use for architecting your approach and for designing and building sleek, modern SaaS integrations and custom PaaS applications that share the same user experience and look and feel as Oracle Applications Cloud.

Oracle Cloud UX Rapid Development Kit landing page

Oracle Cloud UX Rapid Development Kit landing page

We're delighted to make our 15-minute webinar available to you. A Customer Connect Community account is required. If you don’t have one, take a moment to register for an account.

Oracle Cloud UX Rapid Development Kit webinar

Oracle Cloud UX Rapid Development Kit webinar

Also, for ongoing information and updates, stay tuned to the OAUX channels.

More Information

Saturday Feb 13, 2016

Integrating Google Maps, IFTTT, and OpenWeatherMap APIs into the Oracle Cloud UX Rapid Development Kit

The Oracle Applications Cloud User Experience Rapid Development Kit (RDK) enables Oracle partners and developers to learn faster, design simpler, and build better. The RDK contains a set of free resources for the design and build phases and includes sample Oracle ADF applications that illustrate how to develop sleek, modern SaaS integrations and custom PaaS applications that have the same look and feel as the Oracle Applications Cloud.

You can find more resources for the RDK at tinyurl.com/PaaS4SaaS, including the code download link. If you prefer to hear about the RDK, tune in to our Oracle HCM Talk Radio podcast to hear how you can tap into the Oracle Applications Cloud User Experience.

In this blog, I explain how to enhance the Oracle ADF application samples in the RDK with integration to third-party services, such as Google Maps, IFTTT (If This Then That), and OpenWeatherMap, using simple HTTP and JavaScript.

What You Need

  • Oracle JDeveloper (11.1.1.9.0 or 12c) available as a free download from OTN.
  • Oracle UX Rapid Development Kit available as a free download from OTN and GitHub.

Where To Start

Download the RDK zip file, and then unzip it to your Oracle JDeveloper working folder. You should see a folder structure resembling the following.

RDK Code Folder Structure

AppsCloudUIKit folder structure

Open the application (AppsCloudUIKit.jws) in Oracle JDeveloper to show the projects that make up the RDK.

RDK Project Structure in JDeveloper

Oracle JDeveloper view of projects in the RDK

At this point, you can run the page Welcome.jspx in the DemoMaster project and interact with the out-of-the-box runnable sample application.

Integrating Google Maps

Google Maps come integrated in the Contacts Map page fragment. You can find this page under the DemoCRM project, which corresponds to the Oracle Sales Cloud, with the code organized under logical business objects - contacts, opportunities, and so on.

Location of Contacts Map page in JDeveloper

DemoCRM project: Page fragment ContactsMap.jsff 

When you run the RDK, dismiss the one-time welcome banner, and then click the Map my Contacts icon to navigate to the Contacts Map page. The finished page has a searchable list of contacts on the left with the map rendered on the right. When you click a contact record, the map renders a pin to mark the geographical location of the contact. Clicking the same contact again removes the pin. You can click more than one contact to see location pins together.

Screen shot of running Contacts Map page

Map My Contacts page

Let us see how to build this.

The Google Maps API is a JavaScript Library. We can add JavaScript to an Oracle ADF Faces page by either adding the JavaScript code to the page source or by adding a reference to an external JavaScript library file. In this case, we will use both techniques. We first add a reference to the Google Maps JavaScript Library using the <af:resource> tag.

<af:resource type=”javascript” source=”https://maps.googleapis.com/maps/api/js”/>

We then add JavaScript code blocks directly into the page source using the same <af:resource> tag. The following code block initializes the map object on the page when the page loads.

<af:resource>
   if (window.addEventListener) {
      /* Modern browsers */
      window.addEventListener("load", onLoad, false)
   } else if (window.attachEvent) {
      /* IE */
      window.detachEvent("onload", onLoad)
      window.attachEvent("onload", onLoad)
   } else {
      window.onload = onLoad
   }

  function onLoad() {
      doMap();
   }
</af:resource>

The doMap function anchors the map container object to a seeded element in the page with the ID mapdiv. It sets a default value for latitude, longitude, and zoom level to the map object in the container for initial rendering. This code block also prepares an array to hold multiple marker references in case of multiple contacts selection.

<af:resource type="javascript">
   var map;
   var geocoder = new google.maps.Geocoder();
   markers = [];

  function doMap() {
      var mapelem = document.getElementById('mapdiv');
      var newLatLng = new google.maps.LatLng(37.75, - 122.42);
      var myOptions = {
         center : newLatLng, zoom : 8
      };
      map = new google.maps.Map(mapelem, myOptions);
   }
</af:resource>

When the user clicks a contact, a client listener triggers the geocodeAndMark() function in the following code block. This function obtains the contact address information, generates a unique marker ID, and then calls the geocodeAddress() function.

<af:resource type="javascript">
   function geocodeAndMark(evt) {
      var comp = evt.getSource();
      var combo = comp.getShortDesc();
      var comboArr = combo.split( "+" );
     var id = comboArr[0];
      var addr = comboArr[1];
      geocodeAddress(id, addr, geocoder, map);
   }
</af:resource>

The geocodeAddress function uses the Google Maps geocoder to geocode the address, save the marker in the marker array, and add a pin to the map.

<af:resource type="javascript">
   function geocodeAddress(id, address, geocoder, resultsMap) {
      if (markers[id] == undefined) {
         markers[id] = new google.maps.Marker(null, null);
      }
      if (markers[id].getMap() == null) {
         geocoder.geocode(
            {‘address' : address},
            function (results, status) {
               if (status === google.maps.GeocoderStatus.OK) {
                  resultsMap.setCenter(results[0].geometry.location);
                  var marker = new google.maps.Marker({
                     map : resultsMap, position : results[0].geometry.location
                  });
                  markers[id] = marker;
               } else {
                  alert('Unable to find address. Geocoding returned ' + status);
               }
            }
          );
      } else {
         markers[id].setMap(null);
      }
   }
</af:resource>

Because this processing is done on the client side, the page does not require full or partial refresh to redraw the map to toggle markers. That is all there is to it!

Integrating IFTTT (If This Then That)

IFTTT is a free web-based service that allows you to conditionally trigger events by writing statements in the formatIf Condition Then Actionreferred to as Recipes. A large number of Channels are available to specify the Condition and Action part of the Recipe. It is a fun, yet powerful, integration or automation service for all things internet-connected. I will assume that you have an IFTTT.com account and that you know how to build IFTTT Recipes.

We will use the IFTTT Maker Channel to trigger a Recipe based on a user event in the RDK. The Maker Channel lets you connect a Web Request as the Condition or Action of a Recipe, and this will be the basis for connecting the RDK to IFTTT. You will need to set up your Recipe with the Maker Channel as trigger and give a specific name to the Trigger Event. You will need to add this in the RDK code, so make it meaningful.

Trigger event screenshot

Trigger event name example

You will also need to note the secret "key" string generated by IFTTT for your Maker Channel instance. (Because it is a secret key, I have hidden mine.)

IFTTT Channel screen shot

Maker Channel page

In the RDK, we will trigger the Recipe every time the Sales Opportunity amount is changed. This can be done quite easily by adding a few lines of code to the managed bean associated with the Sales Opportunity page. Open OpportunityBean.java in the DemoCRM project under package oracle.apps.uikit.crm.opportunities.bean, and then add the event name you created and your secret key.

private static final String IFTTT_MAKER_EVENT = “RDK_Opportunity_Amount_Changed”;
private static final String IFTTT_SECRET_KEY = “################”;

We now invoke the following method when the user saves the changes they make on a page. The method continues processing only if the amount attribute has changed. It effectively sends a HTTP POST to IFTTT that triggers the Recipe associated with the Maker Channel instance identified by event name and secret key. At the time of writing, you can send up to three parameters to the event.

//Alert opportunity amount change
private void _alertOpportunityAmountChanged(String name, String oldAmount, String newAmount){
   if (!oldAmount.equals(newAmount)){
      try {
         CloseableHttpClient httpclient = HttpClients.createDefault();
         try {
            String HttpPostString = "http://maker.ifttt.com/trigger/" + IFTTT_MAKER_EVENT + "/with/key/" + IFTTT_SECRET_KEY;
            HttpPost httppost = new HttpPost(HttpPostString);
            String inputStr = "{\"value1\" : \"" + name + "\", \"value2\" : \"" + oldAmount + "\", \"value3\" : \"" + newAmount + "\" }";
            StringEntity input = new StringEntity(inputStr);
            input.setContentType( "application/json" );
            httppost.setEntity(input);
            String responseBody = httpclient.execute(httppost, responseHandler);
         } catch (ClientProtocolException e) {
         } catch (IOException e) {
         } finally {
            httpclient.close();
         }//try-catch
      } catch (IOException e) {
      }//try-catch
   }//amount has changed
}//_alertOpportunityAmountChanged

// Create a custom response handler
ResponseHandler responseHandler = new ResponseHandler() {
   public String handleResponse(final HttpResponse response) throws ClientProtocolException, IOException {
      int status = response.getStatusLine().getStatusCode();
      if (status >= 200 && status < 300) {
         HttpEntity entity = response.getEntity();
         return entity != null ? EntityUtils.toString(entity) : null;
      } else {
         throw new ClientProtocolException("Unexpected response status: " + status);
      }
   }//handleResponse
};

As part of the Recipe action, you now have a world of exciting things you can do every time the amount attribute of a Sales Opportunity is updated in the RDKblink your lights, send an email, write to a cloud document, tweet. Now go play!

Integrating OpenWeatherMap

OpenWeatherMap is an online service that provides free API access to weather data, including current weather, forecasts, and historical data. To use this service, you will need to register for a free account and obtain your unique APP-ID. I will assume that you have already done this. We will now use this service to display an icon for the current weather at the location for Sales Contacts.

Contacts List View screenshot

Contacts page

The technique involves a simple HTTP request to a specific URL with necessary parameters passed as part of the URL. While the services can be invoked for several cities at a time, I will keep it simple by fetching the current weather for one city. You can use the following URL patterns for your HTTP request.

api.openweathermap.org/data/2.5/weather?q={city name}
api.openweathermap.org/data/2.5/weather?q={city name},{ISO 3166 country code}
E.g.:
api.openweathermap.org/data/2.5/weather?q=london
api.openweathermap.org/data/2.5/weather?q=london,uk

The following piece of code can be used to invoke the OpenWeatherMap service and extract the weather icon reference from the returned JSON payload.

String location = <city>;
String wicon = “”;
if (location != null && location.length() > 0){
   location = location.replaceAll(" ", "+" );
   try {
      CloseableHttpClient httpclient = HttpClients.createDefault();
      JSONParser parser = new JSONParser();
      try {
         HttpGet httpget = new HttpGet( "http://api.openweathermap.org/data/2.5/weather?q=" + location + "&APPID=" + APPID + "&mode=json&units=metric" );
         //Create custom response handler
         ResponseHandler responseHandler = new ResponseHandler() {
            @Override
            public String handleResponse(final HttpResponse response) throws ClientProtocolException, IOException {
               int status = response.getStatusLine().getStatusCode();
               if (status >= 200 && status < 300) {
                  HttpEntity entity = response.getEntity();
                  return entity != null ? EntityUtils.toString(entity) : null;
               } else {
                  throw new ClientProtocolException("Unexpected response status: " + status);
               }//if
            }
         };
         String responseBody = httpclient.execute(httpget, responseHandler);
         JSONObject root = (JSONObject)parser.parse(responseBody);
         JSONArray weather = (JSONArray)root.get( "weather" );
         JSONObject wobj = (JSONObject)weather.get(0);
         wicon = "http://openweathermap.org/img/w/" + wobj.get( "icon" ) + ".png";
      } catch(ClientProtocolException e) {
         //Handle as appropriate
      } catch(IOException e) {
         //Handle as appropriate
      } catch(ParseException e) {
         //Handle as appropriate
      } finally {
         httpclient.close();
      }//try-catch
  } catch(IOException e) {
      //Handle as appropriate
   }//try-catch
}//check location is available

You can display the weather icon in the Sales Contacts list view as shown in the Contacts page above, or anywhere else in the RDK that suits your requirement.

Conclusion

I have shown at a very elementary level, how to call a Web Service (or REST) API by constructing a URL string by using HTTP, receive a JSON payload in response, and parse this to extract the relevant parts. I have also shown how such processing can be easily incorporated into an ADF application by using Java or JavaScript. This gives you a flavor of how to rapidly enhance Oracle Applications Cloud with standalone PaaS applications or PaaS4SaaS integrations, enabling you to offer more UX value to your customers.

Do feel free to share your thoughts in comments, and stay tuned for more. Enjoy!

Resources

Saturday Feb 06, 2016

PaaS4SaaS Developers' Code Is Always 'On': OAUX is on OTN and GitHub

Boom! That's the sound of thunder rolling as PaaS and SaaS developers work as fast as lightning in the cloud. The cloud has changed customer expectations about applicationstoo; if they don’t like their user experience (UX) or they don’t get it fast, they’ll go elsewhere.

PaaS4SaaS developers know their code is always 'on'.

But you can accelerate the development of your PaaS4SaaS solutions with a killer UX easily by now downloading the AppsCloudUIKit software part of the Cloud UX simplified UI Rapid Development Kit (RDK) for Release 10 PaaS4SaaS solutions from the Oracle Technology Network (OTN) or from GitHub.

The Oracle Applications User Experience (OAUX) team's Oracle Cloud UX RDK works with Oracle JDeveloper 11.1.1.9.0, 12.1.3.0.0 and 12.2.1.0.0. The kit downloads include a developer eBook that explains the technical requirements and how to build a complete SaaS or PaaS solution in a matter of hours

Build a simplified UI with the RDK

The AppsCloudUIKit software part of our partner training kit is on OTN and GitHub and is supported by video and eBook guidance.

Build a simplified UI developer eBook

The developer eBook is part of the AppsCloudUIKit downloads on OTN and GitHub.

For the complete developer experience fast, check out the cool Oracle Usable Apps channel YouTube videos from our own dev and design experts on how to design and build your own simplified UI for SaaS using PaaS.

Enjoy. Check in with us on any questions relating to versions or requirements. Share your thoughts in the comments after you've used the complete RDK and stay tuned for more information. It's an ongoing story...

Downloads 

Monday Jan 18, 2016

CrossFit and Coding: 3 Lessons for Women and Technology

Yes, it’s January again. Time to act on that New Year resolution and get into the gym to burn off those holiday excesses. But have you got what it takes to keep going back?

Here’s Sarahi Mireles (@sarahimireles), our User Experience Developer in Oracle’s México Development Center, to tell us about how her CrossFit experience not only challenges the myths about fierce workouts being something only for the guys but about what that lesson can teach us about coding and women in technology too…

Introducing CrossFit: Me Against Myself

Heard about CrossFit? In case you haven’t, it’s an intense fitness program with a mix of weights, cardio, other exercises, and a lot of social media action too about how much we love doing CrossFit.

CrossFit is also a great way to keep fit and to make new friends. Most workouts are so tough that you’re left all covered in sweat, your muscles are on fire, and you feel like it's going to be impossible to even move the next day.

But you keep doing it anyway. 

One of the things I love most about CrossFit is that it is super dynamic. The Workout of the Day (WOD) is a combination of activities, from running outside, gymnastics, weight training, to swimming. You’re never doing the same thing two days in a row. 

Sounds awesome, right? Well, it is!

But some people, particularly women, unfortunately think CrossFit will make them bulk up and they’ll end up with HUGE muscles! A lot of people on the Internet are saying this, and lots of my friends believe it too: CrossFit is really for men and not women. 

From CrossFit to CrossWIT: Women in Techology (WIT)

Just like with CrossFit, there are many young women who also believe that coding is something meant only for men. Seems crazy, but let's be honest, hiring a woman who knows how to code can be a major challenge (my manager can tell you about that!).

So, why aren't women interested in either coding or lifting weights? Or are they? Is popular opinion the truth, that there are some things that women shouldn't do rather than cannot do?

The reality is that CrossFit won't make you bulk up like a bodybuilder, any more than studying those science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) subjects in school won’t make you any less feminine. Women have been getting the wrong messages about gender and technology from the media and from advertising since we were little girls. We grew up believing that intense workout programs, just like learning computer languages, and about engineering, science and math, are “man’s stuff”. And then we wonder where are the women in technology?!

3 Lessons to Challenge Conventions and Change Yourself

So, wether you are interested in these things, or not, I would like to point out 3 key lessons, based on my experience, that I am sure would help you in some stage of your life: 

  1. Don't be afraid of defying those gender stereotypes. You can become whatever you want to be: a successful doctor, a great programmer, or even a CrossFit professional. Go for it!

  2. Choosing to be or to do something different from what others consider “normal” can be hard, but keep doing it! There are talented women in many fields of work who, despite the stereotypes, are awesome professionals, are respected for what they do, and have become key parts of their organizations and companies. Coding is a world largely dominated by men now, with 70% of the jobs taken by males, but that does not stop us from challenging and changing things so that diversity makes the tech industry a better place for everyone

  3. If you are interested in coding, computer science, or technology in general, keep up with your passion by learning more from others by reading the latest tech blogs, for example. If you don't know where to start, here are some great examples to inspire you: our own VoX, Usable Apps, and AppsLab blogs. Read up about the Oracle Women in Technology (WIT) program too.

I'm sure you'll find something of interest in the work Oracle does and you can use our resources to pursue your interests in a career in technology! And who knows? Maybe you can join us at an Oracle Applications User Experience event in the future. We would love to see you there and meet you in person.

I think you will like what you can become! Just like the gym, don’t wait until next January to start.

Related Links

Sunday Nov 22, 2015

3 Lessons from the Darkness for Cloud Developers: Design Patterns

Simplified UI UX Design Patterns eBook

A visit to a very unusual restaurant in Berlin reveals how following familiar and established user experience (UX) design patterns makes things easy for developers and users of cloud applications alike.

Meat-eaters may like to dive right in and consume the free Oracle Cloud Applications simplified UI UX design patterns first. 

That UX Homework Assignment

Just returned from Berlin. While I was there I completed a reverse UX homework assignment given to me by Oracle partner Certus Solutions Cloud Services VP Debra Lilley (@debralilley): to visit a restaurant called Dunkel.

Dunkel Unsicht-Bar and Restaurant is where you are seated, served, and eat in total darkness (Dunkel means dark in German).

To begin with, you order from a set menu, in the light. Then, your assigned server appears, asks you to put your hands on their shoulders, and to follow you downstairs into the darkness of the restaurant itself.

I entered a world that was pitch black. Really. No smartphone UIs glowing, no luminous wristwatch dials twinkled, not even the blink of an optical heart rate monitor sensor on a smartwatch could be glanced anywhere

The server seats you, gives you a quick verbal orientation as to what is, and will be in front, of you.

All around me was the sound of other diners enjoying themselves.

Yet, I enjoyed one of the best vegetarian meals I’ve had in years.

title=

Instagram pic of the awesome meal I had in Dunkel.

I had no problems whatsoever in finding or using the cutlery, the breadbasket, or eating any of the food served (four courses) in the total darkness. I ate as normal, at my usual pace, and when the meal was complete, I emerged into the light, again guided by the server, and without looking like I had been in a food fight. 

An amazing, one of a kind, experience! I even left a tip! Try it yourself if you visit Berlin.

Lessons from the Darkness

So, what are the UX lessons from Dunkel? Why was it that I could so easily eat there, without ending up in a complete mess, screaming for help?

  1. Firstly, keep it simple. I didn’t have to deal with, for example, a complex floral arrangement or other decoration shoved into the middle of the table. Everything in front of me was functional or consumable.
  2. Secondly, the experience must be what consumers  expect and be about things they are familiar with from everyday use. The layout of the cutlery (and yes, there was more than one spoon and no, I never used my hands), the positioning of the plates, even where my drink was placed, was familiar to me and as expected. They followed a pattern. No nasty surprises!
  3. Thirdly, if you do need to provide guidance, keep it short and about completing the task at hand, but encourage discovery. For example, my dessert was made of three parts (of crème of pomegranate, mango chili sauce, and homemade pralines) and served in one of those little swing-top glass bottles you need to flip open. But, again, no issue in consuming the lot.

Keeping things simple, familiar,  providing concise task guidance and playing on a sense of discovery is an experiential approach also evident in the simplified UIs in Oracle’s Cloud Applications. The UX follows design patterns.

Oracle Cloud Applications simplified UI UX design patterns

The Oracle Cloud Applications simplified UI UX design patterns for Release 10 eBook is available for free.

Your UX Assignment's Solution

If you’re an Oracle ADF developer or partner building Oracle Cloud Applications Release 10 solutions, you can now get the Oracle Cloud Applications simplified UI UX design patterns for free in eBook format and make it easy for yourself and your users too.

Looking forward to my next UX homework exchange with Debra!

Thursday Sep 17, 2015

Oracle Partners ♥ UX Innovation Events

I have just returned from a great Apps UX Innovation Events Internet of Things (IoT) hackathon held in Oracle Nederland in Utrecht (I was acting in a judicial capacity). This was the first of such events organized in cooperation with an Oracle partner, in this case eProseed

eProseed Managing Partner Lonneke Dikmans

Design patterns maven: eProseed managing partner, SOA, BPM and UX champ, Lonneke Dikmans (@lonnekedikans) at the hackathon. Always ready to fashion a business solution in a smart, reusable way.

You can read more about what went on at the event on other blogs, but from an Oracle partner enablement perspective (my main role), this kind of participation means a partner can:  

  • Learn hands-on about the latest Oracle technology from Oracle experts in person. This event provided opportunities to dive deep into Oracle Mobile Cloud Service, Oracle IoT Cloud, Oracle Mobile Application Framework, Oracle SOA Suite, and more, to explore building awesome contextual and connected solutions across a range of devices and tech.
  • Bring a team together in one place to work on business problems, to exchange ideas, and to build relationships with the "go-to" people in Oracle's technology and user experience teams.  
  • Demonstrate their design and development expertise and show real Oracle technology leadership to potential customers, to the Oracle PartnerNetwork, and to the educational, development, and innovation ecosystem.

That an eProseed team was declared the winners of the hackathon and that eProseed scored high on all three benefits above is just sweet!

eProseed NL team demo parking solution

The eProseed NL team shows off its winning "painless parking" IoT solution.

Many thanks to eProseed for bringing a team from across Europe and for working with Apps UX Innovation Events to make this event such a success for everyone there!

Stay tuned for more events on the Apps UX Innovation Events blog and watch out for news of the FY16 PaaS4SaaS UX enablement for Oracle partners on this blog.

Pictures from the IoT hackathon are on the Usable Apps Instagram account

Monday Sep 07, 2015

Every Word Counts: Translating the Oracle Applications Cloud User Experience

Loic Le Guisquet. Image by Oracle PR.

"Successfully crossing new frontiers in commerce needs people who understand local preferences as well as global drivers. In addition, technology has also been a great enabler of globalization, so the right balance between people and tech is key to success."

- Loïc Le Guisquet, Oracle President for EMEA and APAC

Oracle's worldwide success is due to a winning combination of smart people with local insight and great globalized technology. The Oracle Applications Cloud experience (UX)—that competitive must-have and differentiator—is also a story of global technology and empathy for people everywhere.

UX provides for the cultural dynamics of how people work, the languages they speak, and local conventions and standards on the job. So, how do we deliver global versions of SaaS? Oracle Applications UX Communications and Outreach's Karen Scipi (@karenscipi) explains:

How We Build for Global Users

Oracle Applications Cloud is currently translated into 23 natural languages, besides U.S. English, using a process that ensures translated versions meet the latest user expectations about language, be it terminology, style, or tone.

Oracle HCM Cloud R10 Optimized for Global Working on YouTube

Global Workforce Optimization with Oracle HCM Cloud Release 10: More than 220 countries or jurisdictions supported.

Oracle Applications Cloud is designed for global use and deployment, leveraging Oracle ADF’s built-in internationalization (i18n) and translatability support to make development and translation easy. For example:

  • Translatable text is stored separately (externalized) from the application code for each language version (called a National Language Support [NLS] version).
  • Externalized text is contained in industry-standard XML Localization Interchange File Format (XLIFF)-based resource bundles, enabling not only safe, fast translation but also easy maintenance on a per language basis.
  • Currency, date, time, characters, reading and writing directions, and other local standards and conventions are automatically built in for developers. Oracle ADF uses the industry-standard i18n support of Oracle Java and Unicode.

In addition:

  • Users can enter and display data in their language of choice, independent of the language of the user interface: relying on what we call multilingual support (or MLS) architecture.
  • The software includes global and country-specific localizations that provide functionality for country- and region-specific statutory regulatory requirements, compliance reporting, local data protection rules, business conventions, organizational structure, payroll, and other real-world necessities for doing business with enterprise software.
  • Users can switch the language of their application session through personalization options.
  • NLS versions can be customized and extended in different languages by using Oracle composer tools to align with to align with their business identity and process. Translated versions too rely on the same architecture as the U.S. version for safe customizations and updates.

How We Translate

During development, the U.S. English source text is pseudo-translated using different language characters (such as symbols, Korean and Arabic characters), "padded" to simulate the longer words of other languages, and then tested with international data by product teams. This enables developers to test for translation and internationalization issues (such as any hard-coded strings still in English, or spacing, alignment, and bi-directional rendering issues) before external translation starts.

Hebrew version of Oracle Sales Cloud Release 8

Internationalized from the get-go: Oracle Sales Cloud in Hebrew (Release 8) shows the built-in bi-directional power of Oracle ADF.

For every target language, the Oracle Worldwide Product Translation Group (WPTG) contracts with professional translators in each country to perform the translation work. Importantly, these in-country translators do not perform literal translations of content but use the choice terms, style, and tone that local Oracle WPTG language specialists specify and that our applications users demand in each country or locale.

Mockup of French R10 Oracle Sales Cloud

Mockup of an Oracle Sales Cloud landing page in French. (Image credit: Laurent Adgie, Oracle Senior Sales Consultant)

NLS versions of Oracle Applications Cloud are made available to customers at the same time as the U.S. English version, released as NLS language packs that contain the translated user interface (UI) text, messages, and embedded help for each language. The secret sauce of this ability to make language versions available at the same time is a combination of Oracle technology and smart people too: translation, in fact, begins as soon as the text is created, and not when it's released! 

And, of course, before the NLS versions of Oracle Applications Cloud are released, Oracle language quality and functional testing teams rigorously test them.

The Language of Choice

Imagine an application that will be used in North America, South America, Europe, and Asia. What words should you choose for the UI?

  • The label Last Name or Surname?
  • The label Social Security Number, Social Insurance Number, or National Identification Number?
  • The MM-DD-YYYY, DD-MM-YYYY, or YYYY-MM-DD date format?

The right word choice for a label in one country, region, or protectorate is not necessarily the right word choice in another. Insight and care is needed in that decision. Language is a critical part of UX and, in the Oracle Applications Cloud UX, all the text you see is written by information development professionals, leaving software developers free to concentrate on building the applications productively and consistently using UX design patterns based on Oracle ADF components.

Our focus on language design—choosing accurate words and specialized terms and pairing them with a naturally conversational voice and tone—and providing descriptions and context for translators and customizers alike-also enables easy translation. Translated versions of application user interface pages are ultimately only as accurate, clear, and understandable as their source pages.

In a future blog post we'll explore how PaaS4SaaS partners and developers using the Oracle Applications Cloud Simplified UX Rapid Development Kit can choose words for their simplified UIs that will resonate with the user’s world and optimize the overall experience.

For More Information

For insights into language design and translation considerations for Oracle Applications Cloud and user interfaces in general, see the Oracle Not Lost in Translation blog and Blogos.

Saturday Aug 22, 2015

Bucharest's Oracle EPC Ambassadors Show 'n' Wow with Oracle Applications Cloud UX

The Oracle EMEA Presales Center (EPC) team (@OracleEPC), based in Bucharest, Romania has delivered an awesome Oracle Applications Cloud User Experience (UX) day. 

UX Team in Readers' Cafe Bucharest

The team carries the message: Passion and enthusiasm for UX. In style.

The event was for local customers and partners to find out more about the Oracle Applications Cloud UX strategy, to see and hear how we innovate with UX, and to explore the Oracle Applications Cloud in a personal, hands-on way. I was honored to kick off the proceedings, being keen to gauge the local market reaction to the cloud and innovation, and to answer any questions.

Services, PaaS, and IOT: Still part of UX

Look mum, no UI! But there's still a UX! IoT and web services are part of our Cloud UX story.

An eager and curious audience in Bucharest's Metropolis Centre was treated to an immersive UX show about strategy, science, and storytelling: What's UX? What does UX mean for users and the business? Simplicity, Mobility, Extensibility, Glance, Scan, Commit, the Oracle Cloud as platform, wearables, IoT and web services, and PaaS4SaaS, it was all covered.

The Oracle EPC team was the real enablers. Upstairs in the very funky Readers Café, these UX ambassadors brought the Oracle Applications Cloud UX message to life for customers in style, demoing "by walking around", and staffing stations for deeper discussions about the Oracle HCM Cloud, Oracle Sales Cloud, Oracle ERP Cloud, and PaaS4SaaS.

Oracle EPC team styling the Simplicity, Mobility, Extensibility UX message

The new wearables: Simplicity, Mobility, Extensibility.  

The Oracle EPC team let the UX do the talking by putting the Oracle Applications Cloud into the hands of customers, answering any questions as users enthusiastically swiped and tapped on Apple iPads to explore for themselves.

Oracle ERP Cloud demo in Readers Cafe Bucharest

Oracle Applications Cloud UX orchestration: Music to customer and partner ears.

Later, I was given a walking and video tour of the Oracle EPC operation in the fab Oracle building in Bucharest, co-ordinated by Oracle HCM Cloud and UX champ Vlad Babu (@vladbabu). I learned about the central work that EPC do so passionately across EMEA and APAC in providing content, context, and services to enable the Oracle sales effort: bid management, cloud and technology learning, making web solutions, demos and POC creation, video storytelling, rainmaking with insight, building mobile and PaaS4SaaS integration demos, and more.

I was blown away. To echo Oracle CEO Mark Hurd's (@markvhurd) words, "I didn’t know you did that. I didn’t know you had that."

I do now. And so do our customers.

Our Commitment to UX 

Be clear about what this event meant: It's a practical demonstration of Oracle's tremendous investment in user experience with great design, people, and technology and a testament to global success through bringing it all together. It's a clear message about the UX team's commitment to putting boots on the ground in EMEA, and other regions to listen, watch, and enable. That's why I'm here in EMEA.

Listening to the people who matter. And responding. That's UX.

UX is about listening to customers, partners, and users. It's about empathy. It's about being there.

The Bucharest event is just the beginning of great things to come and even greater things to happen for Oracle Applications Cloud customers and partners in EMEA and APAC. I'll be back. See you soon!

Be Prepared 

If you missed the event, check out our free Oracle Applications Cloud UX eBook, and find out how you can participate in the Oracle Cloud UX and future events in your area from the Usable Apps website. Keep up to date by following along on Twitter (@usableapps). 

Shout-out 

Thanks to Vlad Babu and Monica Costea for making it all happen, the co-ordination skills of the Oracle Applications UX team in the U.S., to Oracle EPC management for their support, and to Marcel Comendant for the images used on this page and on Twitter.

The Romanian magazine Cariere also has coverage of the event (in Romanian): Şi tu foloseşti Cloud-ul, doar că nu ştii (Google Translate provides a decent gist translation of the article). 

Saturday Jun 27, 2015

Apple Watch Impressions with Jeremy Ashley: Time for the Best User Experience in the Enterprise Cloud

In part two of a three-part series, Ultan O'Broin (@usableapps) talks with Jeremy Ashley (@jrwashley) about his impressions of the Apple Watch and other insights during a day in the life of a Group Vice President in Oracle. Read part one.

"Perhaps it's an English thing,” says Oracle Applications User Experience Group Vice President, Jeremy Ashley, "but just being able to keep eye contact with someone when we're talking means I can pay closer attention to people."

Group Vice President Jeremy Ashley: Inspiring Cloud UX in Oracle

Jeremy Ashley: Inspiring user experience leadership of strategy, science, and storytelling.

"A glance at my Apple Watch and I know immediately if something is important. I can decide if I need to respond or it can wait. I don't have to pull out my smartphone for that."

This story of combining the personal convenience of wearable technology with empathy for people is typical of the man who sets the vision for the Oracle Applications Cloud user experience (UX).

It’s just one of Jeremy's impressions of the iWatch, as it's known. Now that he's used the Apple Watch for a while since we first chatted, I wanted to find out about his experience and what it all means for enterprise UX.

iWatch iMpressions

"I just love the sheer build quality of the watch; so utterly Apple," Jeremy begins. His industrial design background surfaces, bringing together traditions of functionality, classic craftsmanship, and exuberance for innovation: "Sweet. I can even use it to tell the time!"

A bloke with an eye for pixel-level detail, Jeremy has explored how to get the best from the Apple Watch, right down to the exact precision needed for the force touch action on the built-in Maps app. He's crafted a mix of apps and favorite glances to suit his world, such as for battery life, his calendar, and stocks. He admires the simplicity and visualizations of the built-in Activity app too, swiping the watch face to see his latest progress as we talk in his office full of what's hot in technology and a selection of clocks and traditional woodworking tools.

Microtransactions at a glance from the wrist

Microtransactions at a glance from the wrist delight the wearer and make life—and work—more convenient.

"The watch really shows how the idea of context automates the routine and looks after the little things that make life easier and delight you in simple ways, such as not having to swipe a credit card to pay for coffee."

In the enterprise world, these kinds of little experiences, or "microtransactions" as Jeremy calls them, translate to wearer convenience when working. For example:

  • Automatically recording the time spent and location of a field service job
  • Accepting terms and conditions when attending a confidential demo meeting as you check in at reception
  • Adding data to the cloud, such as updating a win probability as you walk away from a sales engagement
  • Seeing at a glance that a supply chain fulfillment is complete

Oracle Glance and the Enterprise

Oracle's concept of glance is device agnostic and reflects a key UX strategy—mobility—or how we work flexibly today: across devices, pivoting around secure enterprise data in the Oracle Cloud.

"Smartwatches are like mobile dialog boxes," Jeremy explains. "They start that user conversation with the cloud in simple, 'in-the-moment,' deeply contextual ways. Glance and the cloud together automatically detect and deliver the who, what, and where of microtransactions, yet because it's all on a watch, the experience remains personal and familiar. That really resonates with wearers."

The smartwatch is a personal and familiar paradigm in the enterprise too

Jeremy Ashley: The smartwatch is a personal and familiar paradigm that also resonates in the enterprise.

Jeremy shared some thoughts on where such innovation is heading:

"The Apple Watch won't replace the smartphone, for now. We still need that identifier device—a kind of personal beacon or chip, if you like—that lets us make an elegant 'handoff' from a glance on our wrist to a scan for denser levels of information or to a commit to doing less frequent tasks on other devices. The watch just isn't designed for all that."

Activity app Stand goal glances on Apple Watch

Apple Watch Activity glances for stand goal progress

A perfect example of Oracle Cloud UX strategy and design philosophy together. Jeremy glances back at his Activity app and sees his new stand goal progress. That standing desk is paying off!

But, innovating user experience in Oracle is an activity that definitely does not stand still. We'll explore how such innovation and design progress pays off for enterprise users in a future blog post.

Got Time Now?

Discover more:  

Sunday Jun 21, 2015

From Tea 'n' Cakes to Tablets: Oracle ERP Cloud UX Bakes In Exceedingly Better Business*

Robots—software, really—continue to revolutionize enterprise finance departments. Automation is replacing traditional financial roles and transforming others, offering even more innovative opportunities in the enterprise.

Accounts payable clerks, accounts receivable specialists, inventory control admins, and more enterprise positions, are being automated completely, freeing up headcount for new roles to deliver more business effectiveness. The Oracle Applications Cloud user experience (UX) strategy reflects these kinds of trends and innovates accordingly.

And yet, the birth of such financial innovation was in the least likely, most un-sci-fi place, you might imagine: the teashops of post-World War II Great Britain. In 1951, British catering giant J Lyons & Co. kick-started ERP as we now know it by introducing the first enterprise computer: LEO (Lyons Electronic Office).

Computing was not new, of course. What was innovative was how Lyons used it in business. Starting with the replacement of dull, repetitive tasks performed by clerks collecting and entering data, LEO went on to manage the Lyons payroll, the catering supply chain, and more.

LEO led the world in business computing at the time, and gave rise to today’s systems engineering. And all because of a dream of one day being able to add up the receipts for Lyons's iced buns in the teashops of Great Britain.

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) user experience (UX) is no longer just icing on the cake. It's central to user happiness and business productivity, satisfying that ever-ravenous appetite for consumer-like apps in the enterprise. UX is now that must-have item on the menu of enterprise cloud software adoption.

David Haimes glances across the Oracle ERP Cloud

Number-munching: David Haimes glances across the Oracle ERP Cloud UX over the best of Oracle HQ catering.

I chatted with David Haimes (@dhaimes), Senior Director of Oracle Applications Product Development and all-things Financials Cloud UX champ, about financial departments moving from cupcakes to computers and now to the cloud.

Over the best of Oracle HQ Building 300 bakery cakes, David explained:

“That mundane, day-to-day work of calculations has been transformed by enterprise software. Now finance departments do things automatically, faster, and with fewer errors. Oracle ERP Cloud enhances daily activities, enabling departments to analyze data for profit, revenue, and cash flow insights for business planning and financial forecasting, and to manage by exception.

For example, with the Oracle ERP Cloud visualizations of financial data, finance departments can easily spot trends and opportunities to run the business better. At a glance, a department can see those outliers and exceptions that may be threats and deal with them before they become real problems.”

What's going on here? Glance at Oracle ERP Cloud and the Finance Department's questions are answered

What's going on here? At a glance, period close, revenue, expenses, and more questions are answered for the finance department using Oracle ERP Cloud.

David demonstrated how the Oracle ERP Cloud user experience enables higher-value finance department activities using the Glance, Scan, Commit design philosophy. At a glance, from one page an analyst can see what’s going on with a company’s finances, what needs attention, and then scan for more detail and commit to act on it easily, if necessary.

Oracle ERP Cloud user experience is no amuse-bouche, but the main course for CIOs and decision makers, saving their businesses time and labor costs. With the median number of full-time financial employees falling in big companies by about 40% since 2004, there are now about 70 finance people needed for every $1 billion of revenue, according to consultants, the Hackett Group. It's all about ROI. Oracle ERP Cloud serves up a great recipe for user satisfaction (key ingredients: zero training, talent attraction, and retention) too. 

Oracle ERP Cloud watchface

Oracle ERP Cloud watchface on Android Wear smartwatch. With financial data in the cloud, the glance design philosophy enables finance departments to work seamlessly across devices.

We’ve already busted that myth that financial departments are far from social, and now another stereotypical view of accountancy is up-ended. Emerging financial roles have become sexy, the analysts required for today’s financial departments are hot talent demanding higher remuneration.

This is one sweet story about Oracle Cloud ERP and an awesome baked-in UX: automating the routine; enabling a eminently more interesting world of work for real people previously dismissed as being disinterested in such things; delivering benefits across the entire business; and being easily customized to suit any business taste.

Now, who wouldn’t want a slice of that action?

Time for Tea?

David Haimes takes the time to glance at Oracle ERP Cloud

Take some time to explore the Oracle ERP Cloud user experience more with our online resources.

Find out more about the Oracle Applications Cloud User Experience and Oracle ERP Cloud on YouTube and the Oracle VOX blog.

And, watch out for some tasty ERP Cloud sessions at Oracle OpenWorld 2015.

David Haimes blogs on the Oracle Intercompany Financials Blog.

* With apologies to Mr. K

Monday Jun 08, 2015

Oracle Partners ♥ APIs for PaaS and IoT User Experience

Platform as a Service (PaaS) and the Internet of Things (IoT) are two ginormous business propositions for Oracle partners. But together they’re a new game-changer of seemingly endless possibilities.

But how do PaaS and IoT work together? Is there a user experience (UX) dimension? And, what should Oracle Applications Cloud partners be thinking about for SaaS?

The IoT train is arriving at your platform now. Be on it.

The IoT train is arriving at your platform. Prepare to board.

PaaS and IoT

The PaaS business proposition might be summarized as "Bring Your Code" to a very productive way to innovate and build custom app and integrations. IoT relies on ubiquitous connectivity across devices of all sorts, with the “things” exchanging bits of data along the way.

Platform as a Service: 5 Ideas - Oracle Profit Magazine

Platform as a Service offers awesome ideas for rapidly innovating, developing, and deploying scalable applications.

I discussed PaaS and IoT with Mark Vilrokx (@mvilrokx), our all-things PaaS UX architect from the AppsLab (@theappslab) crew, and how we might put a business shape around the concept for partners.

"These 'things' don’t need UIs. For PaaS, all they need is a web API", says Mark. “Developers need to think about how IoT devices talk to SaaS applications using APIs and about what kind of PaaS infrastructure is needed to support building these kind of solutions."

"Oracle is up there, with an IoT platform to simplify building IoT solutions. Developers now need now to adopt an approach of not writing UIs, but writing UI services: APIs are part of the Cloud UX toolkit."

IoT in the Enterprise: Connecting the Data

To illustrate what all this might mean for customer solutions, let's assume we have a use case to track items across a supply chain using the cloud.

IoT is all about the data. Using IoT we can gather the data unobtrusively and in a deeply contextual way using devices across the IoT spectrum: beacons, proximity sensors, wearable tech of all sorts, drones, and so on. We can detect where the item is in the supply chain, when it’s expected at its destination, who will receive it, when it arrives, and so on. The item’s digital signature in the Internet of Things becomes data in the cloud.

There are lots of other rich possibilities for PaaS and IoT. Check out this Forbes OracleVoice article, for example.

PaaS for SaaS and IoT

PaaS with SaaS is also a perfect combination to rapidly innovate and keep pace in a fast-moving, competitive space of cloud applications solutions.

SaaS is not done in a vacuum in the enterprise world of integrations, and is an innovation accelerator in its own right, but with PaaS and IoT added into the technology mix, we have an alignment of technology stars that are a solution provider’s dream.

We can use APIs to integrate IoT data in our supply chain example, but we can also use PaaS to build a bespoke app with a dashboard UI for an inventory administrator to correct any outliers or integrate our supply chain with a freight company’s system. For SaaS, we can now also integrate the data with, say, Oracle ERP Cloud, using the Oracle Java Cloud Service SaaS Extension (JCS-SX).

And guess what? Our UX enablement has already helped partners build pure PaaS and PaaS4SaaS solutions, all using the same Oracle ADF-based Rapid Development Kit!

APIs as UX Design

Where does this leave UX? UX takes on increased power as a key differentiator for partners in the PaaS, SaaS, and IoT space. The UX mix of science and empathy makes the complications of all that technology and the machinations of enterprise business processes fade away for users in a delightful way and deliver ROI for customer decision makers.

Developers: Learn to heart APIs

Developers: Pivot and learn to ♥ APIs. At the heart of the Cloud UX toolkit to win business.

So, the user experience for a task flow build using API connectivity must still be designed to be compelling and to provide value. And, when UIs are required, they must still be designed in an optimal way, reflecting the UX mobility strategy, even if that means making the UI invisible to users.

For example, going back to our use case, we would glance at a notification on a smartwatch letting us know that our item has entered the supply chain or that it’s been received. The data comes from contextual sensors and is communicated in a convenient, micro-transactional way on our wrists.

Oracle Partner UX Enablement

Web APIs are the new Cloud UX for connecting data and devices. That APIs are UX design is not really a new idea, but what is emerging now are new business opportunities for partners who exploring are PaaS, SaaS, and IoT innovation.

Be sure of one thing: The Oracle Applications User Experience team takes a strategic view of Cloud UX enablement for partners. Whether it is PaaS, SaaS, or IoT, our enablement is there to help you take your business to a higher level.

For partners who say "Bring It On", you know where to find us and what our enablement requirements are

Wednesday May 27, 2015

Deep-Diving Oracle UX PaaS4SaaS Partner Enablement in Asia

Just back from our fantastic Oracle Applications User Experience (OAUX) communications outreach events in Asia. The VoX blog has great recaps of the highlights and takeaways from two tremendous events in Singapore and Beijing.

Oracle Applications User Experience Outreach in Beijing and Singapore: Chinese visa shown

Oracle Applications Cloud user experience in Asia: Enabling a local user experience. Empowering global capabilities.

The second day in each location comprised of a deep-dive workshop about the Oracle Applications Cloud user experience extensibility and PaaS4SaaS capabilities. Together, they’re a powerful competitive differentiator that empowers customers and partners to really make that cloud their own.

It’s worth calling out the comments of co-worker Greg Nerpouni (@gnerpouni) again. Greg really nails the excitement and enthusiasm for what we shared when he says:

"The extensibility and PaaS4SaaS stations were mobbed by our Chinese and Korean partners, especially when they realized the combined power of our extensibility and PaaS4SaaS capabilities. At the extensibility station, they saw tangible ways to increase end user participation and overall success of their cloud rollout for our mutual customers. And at the PaaS4SaaS station, they saw immediate value in being able to leverage the UX rapid development kit to emulate Oracle’s user experience in their own PaaS implementations - and seamlessly integrate their PaaS applications into Oracle Cloud Applications."

Greg Nerpouni deep-dives Oracle Applications Cloud Extensibility in Singapore

Greg stylin' the Cloud UX extensibility deep-dive action in Singapore. (Singapore image via Shy Meei Siow [@shymeeisiow])

Now, the “Why Should I Care?” business propositions for the OAUX PaaS4SaaS Oracle Partner enablement and the requirements for same are clear (read them again). If you've seen our roadshow you'll know that part of my PaaS4Saas story includes “the wisdom of the cloud crowd”.

That wisdom is PaaS and SaaS insight and knowledge from Oracle Partner leaders such as Debra Lilley (@debralilley) of Certus Solutions, who have proven the business proposition, and from cloud influencers and shapers such as Mark Hurd (@markvhurd) and Steve Miranda (@stevenrmiranda).

The latest addition to the celestial book of wisdom comes from Oracle CIO, Mark Sunday. Mark, explaining that enterprise applications aren't a siloed concept, underpins the need for partners to integrate fast and how SaaS with PaaS is a must-have differentiator when he declares, in his own inimitable way (using HCM by way of example):

“Absolutely without a doubt, the integration of a suite always wins... I think it’s more important than any given function. If you think HCM stands alone as a silo inside of an enterprise, you’re nuts.”

If you're a partner, therefore I think you’d be somewhat remiss not to take up on opportunities for enablement to make PaaS4SaaS happen for you too!

Ultan O'Broin Storytelling the Selling the UX Message in Beijing

Storytelling that UX. Winning more business with our Cloud enablement. (Beijing image via Shy Meei Siow)

So, if you’re a partner in the Asia region (or elsewhere for that matter) that wants to go places, start that enablement conversation by following @usableapps on Twitter or reach out to us through your Oracle Alliances and Channels or Oracle PartnerNetwork contacts.

Ultan in action in Beijing

Come on Beijing, you know you want that enablement! (Beijing image via Shy Meei Siow)

Oh, did I mention I did some running in Beijing, by the way of UX research into smartwatches?

Thursday Apr 30, 2015

Partners, Don’t PaaS On an Opportunity to Grow Your Oracle Applications Cloud Business

I attended the Oracle HCM Cloud Partner Enablement Summit near Milan, Italy to explain the Oracle Applications User Experience (OAUX) enablement strategy of using Oracle Platform as a Service (PaaS) to extend the Oracle Applications Cloud. We enable partners to offer their customers even more: a great user experience across the Software as a Service (SaaS) applications portfolio. We call this PaaS4SaaS.

The central part of my charter is to drive an OAUX PaaS4SaaS strategy that resonates with the business needs of the Oracle PartnerNetwork (OPN) and our own sales enablement worldwide, but with the EMEA region as focus.

We have a great team that delivers Oracle PaaS and SaaS enablement and direct deal support, scaling our outreach message and running events so that the proven resources to win more business get into the hands of our partners and our sales teams.

Rapid Development Kit available for PaaS4SaaS

The OAUX team PaaS4SaaS enablement is based on a rapid development kit (RDK) strategy of simple development, design, and business materials. After a few hours, partners walk away from one of our events with Cloud solutions they can sell to customers.

Let me explain more broadly why our PaaS4SaaS approach is a partner differentiator and a competitive must-have, and about how you can be in on the action!

RDK simplified UI deployed to Oracle Java Cloud Service - SaaS Extension live!

During the event in Italy, I deployed live a tablet-first Oracle Applications Cloud simplified UI from the RDK to the Oracle Java Cloud Service - SaaS Extension (JCS-SX), demonstrating that our apps are not only simple to use, but easy to build, and therefore easy for partners to sell.

Make no mistake; PaaS4SaaS is the partner differentiator when it comes to competing in the cloud. Our enablement means partners can:  

  • Build Oracle Applications Cloud simplified UIs productively using Oracle PaaS and SaaS.
  • Offer customization and integration confidence to customers in the cloud: they’ll get the same great user experience that Oracle delivers out of the box.
  • Identify new reusable business opportunities in the cloud and win more deals.
  • Accelerate innovation and SaaS adoption and increase the range of value-add PaaS solutions offered to customers.
  • Sharpen sales and consulting strategies using the user experience message, and take your position in the partner world to a new level.

But don’t just take it from me, check out the wisdom of the cloud, and what our partners, the press, and Oracle’s leadership team have to say about PaaS and SaaS:  

Here are the partner requirements to start that conversation with you about OAUX enablement: 

  • Do you have use cases for PaaS and the Oracle Applications Cloud? 
  • Do you want user experience (UX) as the partner differentiator? 
  • Are you an Oracle Applications Cloud (ERP, HCM, Sales) partner who wants to lead and influence
  • Do you have Oracle ADF, Oracle Fusion Middleware, SOA, Cloud or other development skills in-house or by way of an alliance? 
  • Are you willing to participate jointly in Oracle outreach and communications about your enablement and the outcome? 

So, if you want what other partners in EMEA and the U.S. have already experienced, and you tick all the requirements boxes, get in touch with me.

For more information on our PaaS4SaaS enablement, check out these links:  

Monday Apr 27, 2015

Interested in Lift-Off for Your Cloud Business?

Julian Orr (@Orr_UX), Senior Usability Engineer in the Oracle Applications User Experience Communications and Outreach team reflects on the OAUG Collaborate 15 conference.

Much like the very real sand cloud that enveloped Las Vegas during this year’s OAUG Collaborate 15, the conference itself is getting drawn deeper into the Oracle Cloud, as more Oracle applications lift off and soar towards the Oracle Applications Cloud user experience and look and feel.

I co-presented three sessions with Oracle Cloud Applications partners at the conference. All three sessions focused on how to extend and complement the functionality of the Oracle Applications Cloud using a combination of PaaS for SaaS (or PaaS4SaaS as we call it). Common themes included:

  • PaaS is an agile, effective means used to extend SaaS cloud applications as proven by our partners.
  • Oracle PaaS is not just used to extend SaaS functionality, but it’s also used to extend the user experience benefits of the Oracle Applications Cloud simplified UI to your users.
  • Applying best practices helps users reap the many benefits of the simplified user experience.

In the Oracle Fusion Middleware for the Cloud panel session, Sandeep Banerjie, Senior Director, Oracle Product Management, did a great job of setting the table with comprehensive coverage about Oracle Cloud current and future offerings.

Julian Orr, and Basheer Khan at the Oracle Fusion Middleware for the Cloud panel

(L-R) Sandeep Banerjie, Julian Orr, and Basheer Khan at the Oracle Fusion Middleware for the Cloud panel [Photo by Natasha K. Rogers (@NatashaKotovsky)]

I used my time to describe how the Oracle Applications User Experience team worked with Basheer Khan, (@bkhan) CEO of Knex Technology and OAUX Speaker, and its customers in an intensive onsite design workshop to rapidly develop a simplified approach for accurately assigning a constantly changing cadre of new hires to project resources to enable accurate management and accounting. Basheer followed my coverage of the simplified design process with a live demo the PaaS application that we co-designed.

The panel was well received, with a few nods for involvement of end users in the design process and demonstrated success in PaaS rapid development. The majority of the questions we addressed were focused on cloud security features.

Debra Lilley extols the user experience value of using PaaS for SaaS solutions.

Debra Lilley extols the Oracle Partner business value of using PaaS for SaaS solutions.

In the two sessions about using Oracle PaaS to Extend Oracle Cloud Applications, I joined Debra Lilley (@debralilley), Vice President of Cloud Services at Certus Solutions, Oracle ACE Director, and OAUX Speaker; and Ian Carline, Executive Vice President - Product Development at Certus Solutions, to discuss the design workshop we conducted with Certus to use PaaS to extend the Oracle HCM Cloud cloud functionality.

Debra and Ian did powerful jobs of stressing the absolute need and value of having a consistent user experience across PaaS and SaaS applications. My part of the presentation emphasized how to achieve a simplified user experience by focusing on these three things:

  • Design work: Before coding begins, employ a simplified design process that involves use-case review with end users and user advocates, sketching, and wireframing.

Following the presentation, much of the discussion centered on how to determine which use cases would make prime candidates for PaaS4SaaS projects.

As more partners and customers start designing and building PaaS solutions for the Oracle Applications Cloud SaaS offerings, I expect we will see that questions will begin to focus more and more on user experience. If it is not already, it will become, clear that to differentiate and win business in the cloud partners building and customizing enterprise apps need to compete on user experience as well as functionality. 

Interested in lifting off your business?

Sunday Apr 26, 2015

Book Review with a Real-World Application from a Master | Keeping It Simple, SaaSy

By Floyd Teter, Director, Strategy Group, Oracle Higher Education Practice at Sierra-Cedar, Inc., and guest contributor

Floyd Teter (@fteter), Oracle ACE Director, Oracle Applications User Experience Speaker, ORCLville blogger, and main man behind ”simple is the new cool” shares his thoughts on a book about Lean UX.

A few months back, I received an interesting request from my Oracle Applications User Experience sensei, Ultan O’Broin (Mr. @usableapps). Ultan asked me to read and share opinions on the book Lean UX: Applying Lean Principles to Improve User Experience (Jeff Gothelf with Josh Seiden). I read a few reviews myself and got excited about what Gothelf was trying to do: build a framework for applying Lean principles to user experience (UX) design. I agreed to give it a go.

Lean UX: Applying Lean Principle to Improve User Experience on Amazon

Lean UX: Applying Lean Principles to Improve User Experience by Jeff Gothelf with Josh Seiden

First, let’s be a bit more specific about the book. The intent is not just to apply broad Lean or Agile principles (Gothelf references both, sometimes interchangeably); the real intent is to apply the Scrum methodology to UX. It’s no secret that I’m a bit of a fan and heavily engaged with both Scrum and UX, so I was excited to dive in.

The meat of the book is divided into three sections: Introduction and Principles, Process, and Making It Work. Each section contains multiple chapters.

In the first section, Gothelf lays out the argument for Lean UX: internet-based software distribution, lower barriers to market entry, continuous integration, agile software development, continuous deployment—all activities that put pressure on teams to shorten cycles to release product early and often, critical to meeting the faster innovation cycles in the SaaS and PaaS world.

Gothelf proposes Lean UX as a deeply collaborative and cross-functional method that enables teams to build a shared understanding about UX design by focusing on objective goals rather than being distracted by deliverables and documents. Having presented this argument, Gothelf then discusses the three foundations of Lean UX: design thinking, agile software development, and the Lean Startup method of build-measure-learn feedback loops, originally founded by Eric Ries.

Design thinking, as defined by design firm IDEO CEO and president Tim Brown, is “innovation powered by . . . direct observation of what people want and need in their lives and what they like or dislike about the way particular products are made, packaged, marketed, sold and supported . . . a discipline that uses the designer’s sensibility and methods to match people’s needs with what is technologically feasible and what a viable business strategy can convert into customer value and market opportunity.” That’s a real mouthful, but it comes down to designing elegant and simple solutions that people will want to use.

Gothelf defines Agile methods by reviewing the Agile core values and utilizing Scrum to apply these core values. This is not new, but it was good to see Gothelf sign up for using Scrum in UX design. Makes sense.

Finally, Gothelf promotes build-measure-feedback loops. I’m still mostly onboard here, although my preferred viewpoint is a build-observe-learn approach (with observe being mostly watching and listening).

Throughout Part I, which is really a discussion of principles and theory, I’m thinking Gothelf could be my twin brother from a different mother. We’re both singing off the same sheet of music. Part II does seem to be more of a “difficult second album” though.

In Part II, Gothelf applies the principles discussed in Part I, a journey where the metaphorical wheels begin to come off the tour bus. Lean UX relies heavily on written deliverables and formal structure for starting up a UX design effort:

  • A hypothesis statement, with assumptions, hypotheses, outcomes, personas, and features 
  • A problem statement, with product and/or system goals, problem description, and a description of an explicit request for improvement that doesn’t dictate a specific solution 
  • A business assumptions worksheet, including prioritized assumptions 
  • A recommendation for written subhypotheses 
  • A written declaration of metrics to be used along with current state of each metric 
  • A written list of features matched to groups of user personas 

After we’re done with writing (he comments “finally!”), Gothelf proceeds to lay out some pretty formal structure for design studio sessions, including time-boxing presentation and critique, iteration and refinement, and team idea generation. Gothelf also argues for creating a style guide prior to design (as opposed to building concurrently as you progress and learn).

This is the point where Lean UX stopped making complete sense in my world. Agile and Scrum make a point of minimizing written deliverables, especially anything that might be a barrier to getting started with the actual design and build work; the idea being the sooner you get into feedback loops, the quicker you’ll deliver a product of outstanding quality. Gothelf acknowledges this in Part I, yet his recommended process is based on the opposite. Gothelf continues with the formality and structure throughout Parts II and III.

I’m now hard-wired against formality in development; software development cycles in the cloud almost demand that. Partners and developers need to create real solutions fast—formality presents the risk of getting wrapped up in management processes that distract from the essential tasks required to design, innovate and build rapidly.

A final point of contention for me comes with how feedback loops are addressed. These loops are mentioned a founding principle of Lean UX in Part I, yet there is almost no discussion of how to leverage their value (by observing and learning). How do you elicit feedback? How is feedback filtered for relevance and priority? What techniques are used to assure the user that he/she was heard . . . which, in turn, elicits even more feedback. Discussion? Tips? Techniques? Zip. Zero. Bupkis. Notta. Nothing.

My own applied techniques? I suggest following the discover-design-deploy approach on the Oracle UX Direct website.

Discover-Design-Deploy from Oracle UX Direct

Discover-design-deploy approach from UX Direct

Begin by recording the required features on Scrum story cards, cutting to the essence of what’s important from your discovery stage. I’d then follow the Scrum process for estimating and prioritizing features prior to starting the first design sprint. Now, I’ve tried lots of virtual Scrum boards for geographically-dispersed project teams to keep track of everything, but Trello remains a favorite. Sprint productivity can be further accelerated by use of UX design patterns and guidelines so that developers can focus in on technical areas.

Trello

Trello virtual Scrum board

In summary: The book presents great conceptual ideas, but the approach and implementation didn’t rock my world of delivering on enterprise applications UX today. It left me hoping for more.

My point of view would be to stay away from structural overheads and formality, and stay truer to Agile concepts. I’d recommend a mix tape The Elements of Scrum (Chris Sims and Hillary Louise Johnson) and the simple discover-design, and deploy approach to UX on the Usable Apps website.

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Read more Floyd Teter insights on ORCLVille.

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