Wednesday Apr 20, 2016

A Taste of FinTech: Bitterballen and Banking in the Cloud with Profource

Financial technology (#FinTech) innovation and the future of banking are hot topics. If you wondered for one tiny moment how the importance of financial applications and the cloud fit into the Oracle Cloud User Experience #PaaS4SaaS enablement that Oracle Applications User Experience (OAUX) offers Oracle Partners, well, here's one rocking example from EMEA!

Recently, we (OAUX) held a hands-on enablement event at Oracle Nederland in Utrecht to work alongside one of our leading EMEA partners, Profource B.V., to design and build a simplified UI Banking Cloud solution using the Cloud UX Rapid Development Kit (RDK) for Release 10. This event was the culmination of upfront design and development exploration done collaboratively between the two teams online.

Profource and OAUX Teams in Oracle Nederland

Part of the Profource team with the OAUX enablers: (L-R): Julian Orr, Lancy Silveira, Ronald van Herpen, Martijn Rijpkema, Pam Koertshuis, and Ultan Ó Broin

Held over 2.5 days, the Microsoft PowerPoint Karaoke was cut to a minimum as design and development teams stormed and formed around the solution requirements and worked fast to iterate designs and build a modern banking cloud solution that was then deployed as a service to the Profource cloud. A great success!

Banking Cloud Simplified UI Launch Page Wireframe

Part of the Banking Cloud simplified UI launch experience wireframe. Wireframing the solution using the RDK tools, garnering agreement, and transferring the design to the development team made for rapid, agile innovation and iteration, right through to deployment.

Banking Cloud Statements Wireframe

Simply that simplified UI again: This time for an Oracle ERP Cloud Release 10 solution. This is a wireframe view of part of the user experience flow, built using the RDK's Oracle ADF page templates and declarative components, the Oracle Alta UI design system, and the agile Learn-Design-Build approach of the RDK's guidance.

You can read more about the Banking Cloud event on Profource consultant Pam Koertshuis's (@pkoertshuis) blog: Simplified UI for PAAS 4 SAAS solution.

Profource consultant, Hakan Biroglu (@hakanbiroglu), said about the event:

"We [the Profource team] have learned a lot. Not just on a technical level, on how to reuse your RDK, but also on an architectural and design level. Your workshop forced us to rethink our UX solution and to evaluate every item on every page in every flow, 'Why is this needed? What information does it provide me? What does it trigger me to do?'" 

If you're heading to OBUG's APPSCONNECTed16 event in Arnhem, check out the sessions about the Profource Banking Cloud and their other Release 10 cloud solutions (HCM, PPM, and Resource Management) and about how you can use the RDK and OAUX enablement to do the same for your business.

Many thanks to the Profource team and to Oracle Nederland.  

If you are an Oracle Partner who wants to get ahead in the Oracle Cloud, you can contact us through the usual OAUX channels or your Oracle PartnerNetwork contacts.

Oracle Usable Apps Catds and Skerches

Oracle Applications Cloud User Experience: Enablement for partners from design to deployment. It starts with a sketch . . . .

Oh, the bittterballen?

Since you asked...

Bitterballen

Bitterballen: An Oracle Nederland culinary delight that somehow always features as part of OAUX enablement events in Utrecht. 

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

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 Dec 27, 2015

Selfies. Social. And Style: Smartwatch UX Trends

From Antiques to Apple

“I don’t own a watch myself”, a great parting shot by Kevin of Timepiece Antique Clocks in the Liberties, Dublin.

I had popped in one rainy day in November to discover more about clock making and to get an old school perspective on smartwatches. Kevin’s comment made sense. “Why would he need to own a watch?” I asked myself, surrounded by so many wonderful clocks from across the ages, all keeping perfect time.

This made me consider what might influence people to use smartwatches? Such devices offer more than just telling the time.

Timepiece Antiques in Dublin

From antiques to Apple: UX research in the Liberties, Dublin

2015 was very much the year of the smartwatch. The arrival of the Apple Watch earlier in 2015 sparked much press excitement and Usable Apps covered the enterprise user experience (UX) angle with two much-read blog pieces featuring our Group Vice President, Jeremy Ashley (@jrwashley).

Although the Apple Watch retains that initial consumer excitement (at the last count about 7 million units have shipped), we need to bear in mind that the Oracle Applications User Experience cloud strategy is not about one device. The Glance UX framework runs just as well on Pebble and Android Wear devices, for example.

Basis and Vector Watch: Exciting Offerings in 2015

It's not all about the face. Two exciting devices came my way in 2015 for evaluation against the cloud user experience: The Basis (left) and Vector Watch. 

Overall, the interest in wearable tech and what it can do for the enterprise is stronger than ever. Here's my (non-Oracle endorsed) take on what's going to be hot and why in 2016 for smartwatch UX.

Trending Beyond Trendy 

There were two devices that came my way in 2015 for evaluation that for me captured happening trends in smartwatch user experience. 

First there was the Basis Peak (now just Basis). I covered elsewhere my travails in setting up the Basis and how my perseverance eventually paid off.

Basis Peak: The Ultimate Fitness and Sleep Tracker

Basis: The ultimate fitness and sleep tracker. Quantified self heaven for those non-fans of Microsoft Excel and notebooks. Looks great too! 

Not only does the Basis look good, but its fitness functionality, range of activity and sleep monitoring "habits," data gathering, and visualizations matched and thrilled my busy work/life balance. Over the year, the Basis added new features that reflected a more personal quantified self angle (urging users to take a "selfie") and then acknowledged that fitness fans might be social creatures (or at least in need of friends) by prompting them to share their achievements, or "bragging rights," to put it the modern way.

Bragging Rights notification on Basis

Your bragging rights are about to peak: Notifications on Basis (middle) 

Second there was the Vector Watch, which came to me by way of a visit to Oracle EPC in Bucharest. I was given a device to evaluate.

A British design, with development and product operations in Bucharest and Palo Alto too, the Vector looks awesome. The sophisticated, stylish appearance of the watch screams class and quality. It is easily worn by the most fashionable people around and yet packs a mighty user experience.  

Vector Watch: Style and function together

Vector Watch: Fit executive meets fashion 

I simply love the sleek, subtle, How To Spend It positioning, the range of customized watch faces, notifications integration, activity monitoring capability, and the analytics of the mobile app that it connects with via Bluetooth. Having to charge the watch battery only 12 times (or fewer) each year means one less strand to deal with in my traveling Kabelsalat

The Vector Watch affordance for notifications is a little quirky, and sure it’s not the Garmin or Suunto that official race pacers or the hardcore fitness types will rely on, and maybe the watch itself could be a little slimmer. But it’s an emerging story, and overall this is the kind of device for me, attracting positive comments from admirers (of the watch, not me) worldwide, from San Francisco to Florence, mostly on its classy looks alone.

I'm so there with the whole #fitexecutive thing.

Perhaps the Vector Watch exposes that qualitative self to match the quantified self needs of our well-being that the Basis delivers on. Regardless, the Vector Watch tells us that wearable tech is coming of age in the fashion sense. Wearable tech has to. These are deeply personal devices, and as such, continue the evolution of wristwatches looking good and functioning well while matching the user's world and responding to what's hot in fashion.

Heck, we are now even seeing the re-emergence of pocket watches as tailoring adapts and facilitates their use. Tech innovation keeps time and keeps up, too, and so we have Kickstarter wearabletech solutions for pocket watches appearing, designed for the Apple Watch.

The Three "Fs"

Form and function is a mix that doesn't always quite gel. Sometimes compromises must be made trying to make great-looking, yet useful, personal technology. Such decisions can shape product adoption. The history of watch making tells us that.

Whereas the “F” of the smartwatch era of 2014–2015 was “Fitness,” it’s now apparent that the “F” that UX pros need to empathize with in 2016 will be "Fashion." Fashionable technology (#fashtech) in the cloud, the device's overall style and emotional pull, will be as powerful a driver of adoption as the mere outer form and the inner functionality of the watch.

The Beauty of Our UX Strategy 

The Oracle Applications Cloud UX strategy—device neutral that it is—is aware of such trends, ahead of them even.

The design and delivery of beautiful things has always been at the heart of Jeremy Ashley’s group. Watching people use those beautiful things in a satisfied way and hearing them talk passionately about them is a story that every enterprise UX designer and developer wants the bragging rights to.

So, what will we see on the runway from Usable Apps in 2016 in this regard?

Stay tuned, fashtechistas!

Monday Sep 21, 2015

Licht Is Uit? eProseed Shines the Light on IoT and Design Patterns with TopCasuS

At the Oracle government and innovation event held in Rotterdam in the Netherlands, Oracle partner eProseed demoed a public sector solution that brought together the Internet of Things (IoT) and Activity Based Working (hat tip: Erik Veldhoen [@erikveldhoen]) to enhance business processes for customers: TopCasuS.  Oracle Applications User Experience design patterns and guidance helped eProseed to build a great solution in a productive and consistent way. eProseed NL managing partner, Lonneke Dikmans (@lonnekedikmans) explains more.

Overheid en Innovatie

Tijdens de Oracle Overheid en Innovatie beurs liet eProseed met hun oplossing voor gemeenten en centrale overheid zien hoe je met behulp van Internet of Things (IoT) bedrijfsprocessen kan optimaliseren en verbeteren. TopCasuS is gebaseerd op Gemma 2.0 principes en het concept ‘activity based working’. Dit betekent dat de gebruiker toegang heeft tot de juist informatie op het juiste moment.

TopCasuS UI using Oracle Alta UI

TopCasuS gebruikt Oracle Alta UI 

Op dit moment zijn de volgende modules beschikbaar:

  • Sociaal domein. Enterprise-grade oplossing voor gemeenten die hen ondersteunt bij het uitvoeren van de drie decentralisaties;
  • Openbare ruimte. Module die gemeenten helpt de openbare gemeente schoon, heel en veilig te houden;
  • Shared services. Module voor gemeenten die fuseren of een shared service aan het inrichten zijn.

Licht Is Uit

De openbare ruimte wordt niet alleen schoon, heel en veilig gehouden met behulp van regulier onderhoud, maar ook door te reageren op meldingen. De meldingen kunnen worden gedaan door burgers via een app of the gemeentelijke website, door ambtenaren en ketenpartners en door gebruik te maken van IoT technieken.

Luc and Lonneke demo at the event

Lonneke en Luc op het evenement met Licht Is Uit

Tijdens het evenement demonstreerden ze het volgende scenario:

  1. Een lichtsensor in een fietstunnel meet de hoeveelheid licht in de tunnel. Mensen voelen zich veilig in een verlichte tunnel. 
  2. Als de tunnel donker is, bijvoorbeeld omdat het licht stuk is, wordt een notificatie verzonden naar het meldingen buitenruimte proces. 
  3. De ambtenaar die verantwoordelijk is voor het gebied van de fietstunnel ontvangt een notificatie dat er een nieuwe zaak is gestart en hij pakt deze op, op dezelfde manier als wanneer een burger of college de melding gedaan zou hebben.

English Language Version

The eProseed TopCasuS solution is based on Gemma 2.0 principles and Erik Veldhoen's (@erikveldhoen) concept of Activity Based Working. This means that the user has access to the right information at the right time. Right now, the following modules are available:

  • Social services. Enterprise grade solution for municipalities (Dutch local government) to support the implementation of new laws about youth care, work, and decentralized social support.
  • Public domain. Module to help municipalities to keep public services and the environment safe, clean, and working properly.
  • Shared services. Module to support municipalities when merging and when they need to implement shared services.

Licht Is Uit (Light Is Out) Demo

Keeping public areas safe, clean, and working properly is carried out by regular servicing, but also by the local authority's reaction to the prompt notifications of issues with their services. These notifications can be triggered by a citizen reporting an issue using a mobile app or a website or by a local authority employee or contractor noticing an issue. But now it can also be reported automatically using the IoT. At the Rotterdam event, eProseed NL CTO and managing partner Luc Bors (@lucb_) demoed with Lonneke how sensors detect an issue and let the local authority know about a problem:

  1. A sensor in a bike tunnel measures the amount of light in the tunnel. Pedestrians and cyclists can go safely through the tunnel.
  2. If a light bulb in the tunnel fails, or something else causes the tunnel to become dark, the sensor detects the change in lighting conditions and a notification is automatically sent to the local authority, creating a new case in their service system.
  3. The local authority employee responsible for the tunnel maintenance receives a notification that a new case has been started, can then assess the situation and process it, just as if a citizen had filed the issue. 

Watch out for more solutions that partners can build productively with reusable UX design patterns and Oracle technology and for demos of the solutions at an event near you soon.

Read more about our eProseed UX enablement event in Utrecht, too.  

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). 

Thursday Aug 06, 2015

Visitas estudiantiles a Oracle MDC

Sarahi Mireles (@sarahimireles), User Experience Developer, nos cuenta de la reciente visita del Instituto Tecnológico de Estudios Superiores de Zamora para conocer el Centro de desarrollo de Oracle en México (MDC), como parte de un programa de Oracle MDC para estudiantes de TI.

Sarahi and Karina at the Event in MDC

Sarahi con Karina Nava (Database developer) explican algunas de las áreas donde los estudiantes de TI pueden desarrollar su carrera en Oracle

Cada semestre en Oracle Mexico Development Center (A.K.A. MDC) le damos la bienvenida a cientos de estudiantes del área de Telecomunicaciones e Informática como una oportunidad de conocer el centro de desarrollo y las distintas áreas en las que Oracle es líder en el mercado.

Students learn about the important role of Oracle MDC and IT

Estudiantes aprenden acerca del importante rol de Oracle MDC en el desarrollo de nuevas tecnologías y el trabajo que ahí se hace.

Estudiantes de diferentes universidades de todo el país han llegado para conocer más sobre Oracle y cómo estamos revolucionando no sólo nuestro país sino el mundo con las nuevas tecnologías de información. Junto con otros compañeros, yo soy parte del equipo que recibe a estos estudiantes y les damos una charla corta y divertida sobre qué es Oracle, cómo está impactando las tecnologías de manera global, porqué México para un centro de desarrollo, qué hacemos aquí, cómo es nuestro ambiente de trabajo y lo increíble que es trabajar para una empresa de nivel y reconocimiento internacional.

Students gather on the balcony at MDC for a group photograph

Los estudiantes de las distintas universidades toman un pequeño recorrido por las instalaciones de Oracle MDC. Aquí, los estudiantes en uno de los balcones.

Te gusta la idea de visitarnos y eres estudiante o maestro del ramo de Tecnologías de Información? Ponte en contacto con Laura Ramos o para conocer los detalles y programar una visita.

Flying Monkeys! Fun at work with UX. What's on your desk?

Oracle Applications User Experience mezclando la diversión y el trabajo en la nube!

Puedes leer más acerca de Oracle MDC en nuestra página de Facebook y conocer más acerca del equipo Oracle Applications User Experience en el website de Usable Apps.

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

Friday May 29, 2015

Oracle Usable Apps @ Smashing Conference Los Angeles: Performance Time!

Sarahi Mireles (@sarahimireles), User Experience Developer on the Oracle Applications User Experience Communications and Outreach team, shares her exciting experience and thoughts about SmashingConf in Los Angeles.

In April I attended SmashingConf (@smashingconf) LA organized by Smashing Magazine. The venue was the great Hotel Casa del Mar, located right on the beach by the Santa Monica pier.

The views were amazing, the people were fun, and the conference was even more exciting than I expected.

Santa Monica: beach scene.

More than 300 people, including front-end developers, designers, and user experience (UX) experts attended, all eager to hear what 15 different speakers had to say about user experience, design tactics, performance optimization, responsive design, the future of the web, and other interesting topics.

Pictures of the conference setting

The conference started with a really cool opening in 3D (glasses included) and a talk from Steve Souders (@souders) about design and performance and what happens when designers and developers don't work together. It might look a little like the image below:

Pillow fight scene illustrating what happens when developers and designers don't work together

User experience is not only about design; it is also about performance. And actually, speed is the key reason why most people decide to either keep looking at a website or to close their browser window. As Patty Toland (@pattytoland) said in her talk, “How we define and deliver: responsive design": "Your analytics won't tell you who left your site before it showed up. If you have never considered performance before, it may be a good time to start thinking of it.”

If you don't have performance you don't have anything. Start telling your customers that story

One of my biggest takeaways from the conference is that user experience has everything to do about the guy sitting in the chair designing the experience. Samantha Warren (@samanthatoy) sums up my thoughts nicely: “As UX designers, or UX developers we have to think like a guerrilla: flexible, fast and persistent. Do the work you love with the tools you know. There's not an absolute way or tool to get something done.”

There is nothing more dangerous than an absolute in a tactic or tool

Those are just a few of the things that I loved the most from the amazing web wisdom in the room.

You’ll see how some of the things I learned at SmashingConf will help make your experience using the Oracle Usable Apps website even faster and more responsive in the future. And, if you’re a developer, stay tuned to hear about how we integrate better performance, responsive design, and UX across our online presence.

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?

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