Wednesday Apr 01, 2015

Finally, My PaaS4SaaS Workshop Blog

By Debra Lilley, guest contributor

Debra Lilley (@debralilley), Oracle ACE Director and Vice President of Certus Cloud Services at Certus Solutions, offers her reflections on the PaaS4SaaS workshop that took place in January 2015 in London*.

I know this posting is a bit late, but at the end of January I took part in a proof of concept workshop for PaaS4SaaS, and it’s been a rollercoaster ride ever since.

When I was thinking about moving to Certus, one of the things that attracted me was their intent to write extensions for Oracle Cloud Applications using the just announced PaaS4SaaS solution.

I attended Oracle Open World with an open mind and tried to learn as much as I could about the solutions. The Larry Ellison (Oracle Executive Chairman and Chief Technology Officer) demo was really impressive but then Oracle has always been a brilliant marketing company.

I came back to the UK and set about validating what was available, some of the components Database and Java Cloud had been available for a while but I wanted or would want to also use the Process and Integration Cloud offerings.

As regular readers of my blog will know, I am an Oracle Applications User Experience advocate and am very committed to the user experience work that goes into Oracle Cloud Applications. Extensions delivered by Certus will have this same user experience, and I made this video on behalf of Certus.

YouTube video: Debra Lilley, Certus Solutions

Click here to watch Debra's YouTube video.

The user experience team has been given funding by Thomas Kurian, Oracle President, Product Development, who is personally committed to making PaaS4SaaS work, to carry out a number of proof of concept workshops with Oracle partners. The Oracle Applications UX team asked Certus to be part of this. Certus has not been a development company, and so in the same way customers come to us because we are the best at implementing cloud applications, we looked for a partner to help us with development. We selected eProseed who have the same commitment to UX as we do.

The workshop took place in London at the end of January with four people from each of Oracle Applications UX, eProseed, and Certus taking part. We worked through a use case taken from an existing application from one of our customers who is considering modernizing this and moving it to the cloud. In three days we were able to build a working application and prove to ourselves that when the customer says “go,” we will be able to deliver what they need.

Oracle Applications UX team have in their blog already covered the workshop and I have also written about it in the Oracle Fusion Middleware blog I am a guest author for. The following month I took part in the Partner SOA Community Forum in Budapest when we had the opportunity to work with product management teams of both the Process and Integration Cloud offerings and further validate our approach, understanding the possibilities and the constraints. The Oracle Applications UX team also had a stand there.

Lonneke Dikmans of eProseed and Debra Lilley of Certus Solutions

Lonneke Dikmans (@lonnekedikmans) Managing Partner eProseed Nederland and Debra Lilley of Certus Solutions

I was very pleased on behalf of both Certus and eProseed to accept the first Community Cloud award. These awards are a bit like the Oscars and awarded to individuals Lonneke Dikmans from eProseed and myself, however we had a similar thank you to all those involved in our acceptance speech.

The Community Leader Jürgen Kress (@soacommunity) said:

“I awarded my first SOA Community Outstanding Contribution for Cloud to Debra Lilley of Certus Solutions and Lonneke Dikmans of eProseed because they not only took on board the messaging of PaaS4SaaS from the last Oracle Open World, but also their collaboration between an Applications partner and a Middleware partner, sought out answers and training and with Oracle Development giving feedback and validating their approach in this area. All good things but bringing that back to the community and sharing is the outstanding contribution.”

I have written a White Paper, which will be published for Collaborate in a few weeks and Certus along with Oracle Applications UX will be presenting this twice both for OAUG and Quest. I’ve also had an article published in this month’s Profit Magazine.

Thank you to the Oracle Applications UX team and the SOA Community. I’m still not technical enough to do this but I am technical enough to understand that PaaS4SaaS is a game changer and will continue to be seeing more and more in our community.

* This article was originally published here

Monday Jul 14, 2014

Oracle Social Network: Enabling Employee Engagement with Oracle Cloud Services

Julien Laforêt (@julienlaforet), Procurement Sales Consultant, Oracle Social Network Business Leader, and User Experience Sales Ambassador tells us how the Oracle Social Network Cloud Service enables employee engagement and helps attract and maintain talent.

A recent Gallup poll revealed that 70% of employees surveyed disliked their jobs or were so completely disengaged that even incentives and extras were not sufficient to improve how they felt about work.

Disengaged employees means trouble for businesses in many areas

Can't contribute, won't contribute. Disengaged employees means the entire business suffers.

This statistic is important because we know that employees who are disengaged:

  • Do not exceed growth goals 
  • Rarely contribute to innovation  
  • Frequently limit their productivity 
  • Often share their thoughts and feelings on social media internally and externally, which contributes to negative publicity about the company 
  • Sometimes, they leave the company, meaning a loss of investment, incurred cost of replacement, and so on 

But, engaged and happy employees participate in ways that often yields more opportunities for the company itself to be successful, and opens the door to other talented people who are attracted to similar  high levels of work satisfaction.

Social media is a key that may help improve employee satisfaction and engagement. In this blog, we look at how to use it to enable positive employee engagement and results.

Communicating Internally

For any employee, growing their skills and knowledge, promoting their expertise and their successes, and collaborating across teams and networks in the company are important activities. These foster community and collaboration, a feeling of belonging to something larger than their current projects.

Most of the time, these kinds of growth opportunities and acknowledgements have only been possible in small social circles, for example, direct-line managers and immediate colleagues. How do you promote your employees to people in other regions or services?

Oracle Social Network allows people to connect and share in scalable, effective ways. It allows employees to create networks and:

  • Showcase their value and share their successes and expertise  
  • Participate in the life of the company: create, innovate, participate, share, improve  
  • Reduce the time spent managing emails and performing administrative tasks

Oracle Social Network Cloud Service

Showcasing Value and Sharing Successes

With public conversations on Oracle Social Network, an employee can create knowledge communities where all employees can contribute. Participating is easier than ever as employees uses the Oracle Social Network global search to quickly find people and conversations that align with their areas of interest, and then follow those people or join those conversations at any time.

Creating and Innovating

Oracle Social Network makes collaboration easy, reinforcing employees, their knowledge, and contributions as assets to a company. With employees creating, innovating, or proposing ideas, companies are more successful, employees feel valued, and unique talents of contributors are showcased in teams engaged in product innovation and competitor-killing ideas.

Nike, Inc. follows a similar model for their customers. Customers can propose designs for shoes, and the best “liked” designs might be awarded and launched in production, encourages customer engagement. Applied to employees, the model reveals that creative thinking and innovation is not limited to the R&D department in your company. Developing better products and refining processes and innovation through collaboration social process is game changer in a competitive business world.

Reducing Time Spent Managing Administrative Tasks

Oracle Social Network allows contributors to publish information to their walls and in conversations dedicated to a topic, where only followers and conversation members interested in the conversation participate. Unlike email notes distributed widely, using Oracle Social Network to publish information on walls instead allows employees to manage information overload and flooded inboxes. Information is published in dedicated identifiable conversations, easily located by employees who are empowered to join in. The conversation history is accessible to newcomers so that they can find everything that has been said earlier, a practice that prevents knowledge from being lost when employees leave a company, and it enables new employees to ramp up quickly.

Only Oracle Social Network allows private, secure conversations to be initiated directly from business applications and enables two-way tracking: from Oracle Social Network conversations to the original transaction and data in the application, and from the application to conversations related to a transaction or related data.

Initiating an OSN Conversation from an Application task flow

Initiating an OSN Conversation from inside an Oracle Applications Cloud task flow 

This practice removes the administrative overhead of exchanging information outside of the application's transactions, which occurs in disconnected silos, such as conversations between the requester and the buyer, project or transaction summary emails, reminders, and so on. Conversations in Oracle Social Network are contextual.

Employees can participate in business transaction-related conversations securely, too. Conversations may be private and information can be exchanged securely and in confidence among members of those conversations authorized to have such access.

OSN on simplified UI

Oracle Social Network is a great solution for tablets too. Oracle Applications Cloud Release 8 simplified UI shown. 

When you start using Oracle Social Network, you just might find yourself asking, “How did we run our business before Oracle Social Network?” Just like smartphones revolutionized our everyday lives, Oracle Social Network will revolutionize your everyday work-life for the better.

Thursday Dec 19, 2013

Oracle Social Network: Collaboration and Productivity Enabled with Oracle Cloud Services

Julien Laforêt (@julienlaforet), Procurement and Financials Sales Consultant, Oracle Social Network Business Leader, and User Experience Sales Ambassador, tells us why social network integration with enterprise applications is revolutionizing business communications and how Oracle customers and partners can collaborate efficiently using Oracle Social Network Cloud Service.

Millions of people (about one in seven worldwide) today are connecting using social media. The world of business has joined the trend and is now taking advantage of these same collaborative technologies. Enterprises now use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social media applications externally to share knowledge about their products and services; to create user or customer communities; to communicate about events; to inform the market of product offerings; to respond to customer requests and issues; to find opportunities, influencers, new employees; and much more...

But what about social collaboration inside the enterprise?

Prior to the advent of social media, enterprises have been limited to email and meetings as a means of collaboration—tools that some have found are not always the most efficient means of communication. Take for instance this YouTube video that shows an actual collaboration business case that an enterprise “managed” using email. I had to laugh at the complexity and frustration that resulted! But such inefficiency—an email tree that involved 61 exchanges to arrive at a single decision—is no laughing matter for businesses whose priority is to increase productivity.

More and more companies are exploring enterprise social networks as an alternative and more productive means of collaboration. And the enterprise applications market is responding to this interest by delivering modern technology solutions that users are already familiar with from the consumer world.

But to bring about a return on investment, when we talk collaboration inside the enterprise, we must link it to enterprise requirements and goals. That means not just connecting people in the enterprise, but also connecting them in a secure environment with all of their business transactions, data objects, and daily tasks. For example, we might use social media to enable collaboration when working to resolve invoice discrepancies that require justifications, when negotiating or awarding contracts, when collecting information on suppliers, or when involving multiple stakeholders at different levels of authority or expertise in an approval process or transactions of common interest.

Oracle Cloud Services recognizes the value of social networking collaboration applications in the enterprise environment and has introduced Oracle Social Network—a powerful, yet intuitive application. Whether your employees use Oracle Human Capital Management, Sales, Marketing, Financials, Procurement, Projects, or other applications, Oracle Social Network provides a means of collaboration that seamlessly integrates business task flows and objects.

Oracle Social Network also provides users with the flexibility to match their preferred way of working: they can collaborate from anywhere at any time and on any device—from tablet to smart phone—using any modern web browser, or Microsoft Outlook. The result is optimal business efficiency through employee participation, sharing, and streamlined communication around tasks and objects.

Collaboration in action with Oracle Social Network: auction creation

In this example, we see how, directly from an auction, a buyer, Calvin Roth, has started a conversation so that the key stakeholders can review the contract terms and propose any amendments. See how Roger Bolton, responsible for final execution of the contract, is kept informed centrally, while other employees without access to the auction itself can still see important information about it and can collaborate on establishing a new contract template.

Shared auction in Oracle Social Network

Auction collaboration in Oracle Social Network.

Stakeholders securely collaborate on the auction document using Oracle Social Network

Stakeholders securely collaborate on the auction document using Oracle Social Network.

Directly in the document, employees can collaborate on and annotate any part of the document with their review comments:

Annotating a document with review comments.

Annotating a document with review comments. Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Adobe PDF, and so on formats can be attached to the conversation.

The document remains attached to the auction using an Oracle Social Network conversation, which conversation members can access securely and contribute to at any time. The beauty of Oracle Social Network is if newcomers are added as contributors to the conversation, they will see all the historical conversations and work already completed by their peers.

And your company? 

Think about how your company might manage this kind of negotiation today. Visualize the number of email exchanges, the effort required to orient everyone involved in the process, and the challenges of tracking transaction progress and history.

If thinking about that makes you feel anxious about lost productivity today, then imagine how frustrated you will feel tomorrow, learning that your competitors are using collaboration tools to effectively link their employees, transactions, and business data in one seamless, productive user experience!

But don’t lose heart. Oracle Social Network Cloud Services provides a solution that enables collaboration inside your company. So those using this application can sleep better tonight knowing that their businesses are communicating efficiently—bringing the right people together to collaborate on tasks and to provide the right answers at the right time.☺

Julien is one of our latest User Experience Sales Ambassadors. You can find out more about the SAMBA program on the Oracle Applications Blog


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