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

Thursday Jan 09, 2014

Oracle Applications User Experience and AMIS: Applied Vision and Strategy Together


The folks on the AMIS team have always knocked me out whenever they cross my path at conferences, user group meetings, and events such as Oracle OpenWorld. Their participation is always in demand. With their deep know-how about Oracle technology and a commitment to the business benefits of user experience, AMIS really “gets it.”

AMIS is a leading powerhouse when it comes to building solutions using Oracle Applications Development Framework (ADF) and is always eager to learn more about how to expand its possibilities and offer more. For these reasons, it was no surprise to see AMIS at the Oracle Applications User Experience (OAUX) expo held at OpenWorld 2013. Oracle ACE Director and AMIS Services CTO Lucas Jellema commented after the event:

“The expo provided out of the box thinking and inspiration with regards to the interaction between business users and computers and IT systems in general. It suggested approaches that are both realistic as well as fun. It also instilled a certain confidence that Oracle is really onto something with UX, and we are betting our money on the right horse.”

This March, OAUX and AMIS will take their relationship to a higher level, bringing a user experience and technology expo event to Nieuwegein in the Netherlands and sharing with others the latest thinking and concepts on user interface design and user experience.

Learn about simplicity, mobility, and extensibility at the UX event.

Simplicity, mobility, and the extensibility of applications, all built with Oracle technology, along with the latest device trends and integrations in the cloud will be some of the innovations that demonstrate the OUAX vision and strategy at the AMIS-hosted expo.

Oracle customers, partners, industry experts, and invited guests will get to see the latest user experience innovations built using Oracle technology that provides modern and compelling applications to enable today's workers to be more productive than ever.

This event is about engaging with, and inspiring, a broad set of stakeholders in the enterprise information technology ecosystem by showing off the result of Oracle’s investment in UX and the thought leadership, passion, and vision that drives the simplicity, mobility, and extensibility of applications used in today’s enterprises.

AMIS will also share what it takes to be a leading Oracle knowledge partner, what this partnership means for partner business and for clients seeking solutions with Oracle ADF, and what it takes to be a respected voice in the enterprise methodology world of applications development.

See you in the Netherlands. Who knows what secrets will be revealed about the future of UX and Oracle technology!

Details of the event, including registration, are on the AMIS website. (Dutch version)

Sunday Dec 15, 2013

PeopleSoft User Experience: Jeff Robbins and Jim Marion Customer Update at OOW13

What is Oracle doing for PeopleSoft customers to make their users even more productive and satisfied in work? Listening to their needs and investing in user experience is what!

For example, a new user interface is on the way, more usable than ever. Based on a user experience (UX) that is the essence of context and easy configuration for different business processes, the PeopleSoft UX  enables users to be flexible by personalizing their applications to suit how they work, and providing users with fast entry and a streamlined experience along the way to easy task completion.

In this Oracle OpenWorld 2013 video, introduced by Oracle Sales Consultant Jim Marion, hear about the UX strategy update from Jeff Robbins of PeopleTools about delivering the new UI and more. You'll also hear Jeff explain how PeopleTools provides solutions for desktop, tablets and smart phones while taking advantage of opportunities for simplification, too.

It's all there, and more, taking our PeopleSoft customers applications investment even further.

Wednesday Jul 31, 2013

User Interface | Design Considerations

When it comes to creating superior applications, the central design considerations remain the same, no matter whether you’re building interfaces for desktop or mobile workers. Karen Scipi explores user interface (UI) design for enterprise applications, an area even more prescient as cloud-based applications offer opportunities for optimized UIs of different types using the same data. 

You must understand who your workers are, what work they do, and the functionality that will most enable them and their productivity in their specific work environments.  

  • A desktop user interface refers to an interface that’s optimized for tasks that are performed over extended periods of time, usually in an office.  
  • A simplified user interface refers to an interface that’s optimized quick access, high-volume, self-service tasks that can be completed on any device and from any location.

For example, the task flow for an accounts payable clerk who typically works in an office would differ from the sales manager who travels and works mostly on his mobile device. Which user interface design would work best in each of these scenarios? The answer depends on several heuristics and data points.

When considering which user interface to design, think about multiple aspects of the workers, their roles, and their tasks. 


Consider how workers’ experiences can vary. Keep in mind that the one-size-fits-all analogy doesn’t work when it comes to designing a user interface. 
Even those who use desktop interface functionality for the majority of their tasks can benefit from simplified user interface flows. But getting a sense of who your workers are and how they are working most of the time will help you better understand what Oracle Fusion Applications functionality they will most benefit from and which user interface might better enable their work and productivity. 

When you think about workers’ experiences, ask yourself questions like these:

  • Where in the world do these workers work? 
  • What do workers’ work environments look like? For example, do they work primarily in an office, on a train, or in a warehouse?
  • With whom do the workers engage, and how to they engage with others? For example, do they use collaboration tools or social media?

For example:

 Worker Role  Typical Work Environment
 Order Processor  Office
 Sales Representative  On the go


Identify tasks that are central to workers’ roles. But what constitutes a central task? Central tasks are typically the 10% of tasks that 90% of the workers spend 90% of their time performing.

When you think about worker tasks, ask yourself questions like these:

  • What specific tasks do workers’ perform? 
  • Are the tasks self-service tasks for all workers?
  • Which tasks are central to workers’ roles?
  • How do workers perform these tasks? 
  • How frequently are these tasks performed?
  • Do the tasks require short or long periods of time to complete?
  • Do the tasks require significant or minimal data entry activities?
  • Where do workers work? On a bus, a train, in a warehouse?
  • Based on workers’ roles, work environments, and tasks, which applications, devices, and tools best support their work? 

For example:

Worker Role  Typical Work Environment  Typical Work Tasks Example Applications, Devices, and Tools
 Order Processor  Office Data entry

  • Order management and email applications
  • Computer with keyboard
  • Phone

 Sales Representative  On the go Engages with existing and prospective customers to maintain and establish relationships and to sell products and services

  • CRM and email applications
  • Mobile and tablet devices
  • Phone, collaboration, social media tools

Information and information design

When you think about information and design considerations for different types of information, ask yourself questions like these:

  • What types of information, such as customer or vendor records, accounting data, trends, issues, news, ratings, and so on do workers need access to? 
  • How would information best be displayed to enable the interpretation of it? In a workbook, in a form, in a list, in an analytic? 
  • What key information does the worker need in a specific task flow?
  • Can the information be simplified by reducing data and features, or by eliminating corner cases that are displayed in the user interface?

For example:

 Worker Role  Typical Work Environment Examples of Information and Information Display Types
 Order Processor  Office

  • Existing and new customer order records
  • Forms, lists, workbooks

 Sales Representative  On the go

  • Existing and new customer records, including customer contact, ratings, and qualification information
  • Sales, trends, and issues analytics
  • Lists, notes

Interested in learning more?



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