Linda Fishman Hoyle

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Updated: 13 hours 26 min ago

This customer has great advice for anyone moving to Oracle’s cloud applications

Wed, 2016-11-30 14:20
“Talking to other customers has made more of a difference to us than anything else.” ─ Katie Eure, Accounting Manager, Alex Lee, Inc.

No matter how many times we say something, it means a lot more coming from a customer. That’s why we’re so appreciative of customers like Alex Lee, Inc., who are willing to do the talking for us. This $3 billion, privately-owned retail grocery store and food distributor headquartered in Hickory, NC, gave the lowdown on its Oracle ERP Cloud implementation to a captive audience at OpenWorld. Maybe it was the forthright discussion or the lively Q&A, or both—this session was a hit.

7 things to know about implementing Oracle’s cloud applications

Katie Eure and Derrick Walters, Alex Lee’s accounting and corporate applications managers respectively, shared seven things they learned from their cloud implementation. Here’s what they told the audience.

1. Think through configuration options.

Take time to consider the downstream effects of your configuration decisions. For example, a long ledger name can take up valuable screen space in the reporting tools. If you don’t know the impact of a certain configuration, you should ask your implementation partner.

2. Embrace the idea of no customizations.

When people push back on the no customization rule, they probably don’t understand the configurability of Oracle’s cloud applications or the extensibility that PaaS offers. But don’t let that deter you. Eure and Walters reiterated the benefits of cloud: “Putting a system in place that prevents customization can work in your favor. It helps you through the upgrade and maintenance process.”

3. Don’t underestimate change management.

Based on Alex Lee’s experience, “change management is going to be a bigger challenge than you think.  Even if you get up and running quickly in the cloud, it doesn’t mean any less change for your people.” In fact, Eure reported that they pushed out the go live dates for Oracle Procurement and Travel & Expense Management Clouds so that Finance could get comfortable with Accounts Payable. It wasn’t a matter of the system not being ready; the people weren’t ready.

4. Communicate the positive impact of moving to the Cloud.

Make sure users understand the tradeoffs between on-premises and cloud software. For example, if people complain that they no longer can call IT and demand immediate help, remind them that changes to on-premises software on average come every 10 years or so, whereas changes to cloud applications occur multiple times a year. In addition, Oracle now has a window into how organizations use the software which they didn’t have before.

5. Consider Oracle Support as part of your project team.

In a cloud implementation, you’ll be working with Oracle Support from Day 1. They’re still there to address issues, but they also provide help with new functionality and a path to cloud operations. For example, if you want to make a production-to-test copy or a test-to-test copy, you contact Oracle Support. Learn how to navigate the Support organization while you’re in the implementation phase because that will put you on a strong footing going forward.

6. Start the upgrade process right away.

As soon as you know your upgrade window, be sure to allow for a couple months in your test environment. You’ll want to look at new functionality and learn how to take advantage of it. At Alex Lee, the majority of training happens through testing.

7. Leverage your partnership with Oracle.

If you need advice or have a problem, find the right people in Oracle to help you. As Eure told the audience, “most people have never heard of Alex Lee. But we feel like Oracle listens to us and wants to partner with us.”

December 7: G&J Pepsi-Cola Bottlers, Inc—Oracle HCM Cloud Customer Forum

Mon, 2016-11-21 13:35

Join us for an Oracle HCM Cloud Customer Forum call on Wednesday, December 7, 2016, at 9:00 a.m. PT.

Christina Walker, Executive Vice President of Human Resources at G&J Pepsi-Cola Bottlers, will discuss the company’s journey to the HCM Cloud. G&J Pepsi was dealing with disparate systems, paper-based processes, manual data entry, inaccurate payroll calculations, and lack of visibility across its entire organization.

Register now to attend the live Forum and learn more about G&J Pepsi-Cola Bottlers’ experience with Oracle HCM Cloud.

Oracle’s Work Life Solutions can support every industry—especially this one

Thu, 2016-11-17 14:59

Mining is an industry that is pivotal to the world’s economy. We wanted to share this recent article from Australia Mining that reports on the needful intersection of the mining industry and Oracle’s HR cloud applications.

As with many industries, mining is being reshaped by external forces, which is causing challenges for human resources.

One of those challenges is the result of increased automation. HR professionals need to ensure the company retains its talent amidst “the drive toward increased productivity and innovation,” says John F Hansen, Oracle’s vice president for Human Capital Management in JAPAC.

Another challenge is the staff’s mental health. The mining industry pays well, but the work can be in remote locations, time intensive, and physically challenging. According to PWC research, conditions such as these can lead to absenteeism, reduced productivity, and compensation claims.

Help comes in the form of innovative HR strategies. Both of these issues can be addressed by the latest generation of HCM technology. Hansen points to Oracle’s Work Life Solutions, which “can be used to help employees manage the intersection of their work and personal lives.”

These applications can produce a more engaged productive workforce. Equally important is that the “ROI for these programs in the mining industry is the highest across all industries.”

What a Difference a Year Makes

Thu, 2016-11-10 11:05

A Guest Post by Oracle's CSO and GVP Jon Chorley, SCM Product Strategy (pictured left)

A lot can happen in a 12-month span. And I’m not talking about the US presidential election, BREXIT, or even the “battle of the long-time losers” which was the 2016 Baseball World Series. I’m talking about Oracle Supply Chain Cloud.

We delivered SCM Cloud as promised

When we delivered Release 11 in early 2016, we crossed a real watershed. I’m sure many of the attendees at OpenWorld 2015 were skeptical about our plan to roll out the most comprehensive and innovative built-for-the-cloud SCM suite.

But we did it. With applications as diverse as Order Management, Product Development, Manufacturing, and Planning and Logistics, our Supply Chain Cloud was a real option for customers who wanted to modernize and digitize aspects of their supply chain. It also was very appealing to those who wanted a comprehensive cloud solution, including supply chain across their entire business.

The result? We now have more than 1,000 customers who have purchased and are implementing our Supply Chain Cloud. What’s more, it’s part of almost every customer’s current IT planning process.

So how did this change the vibe among SCM customers at OpenWorld this year?

Every conversation that we in Development had with customers, partners and analysts was not an “if” conversation, but a “when” or “how” conversation. The fear, confusion, and uncertainty from 2015 was replaced by a desire to learn, plan, and act in 2016. Even concerns over Apps Unlimited versus cloud had dissipated.

Customers recognized that Oracle had made an enormous investment in building an all-new SCM cloud solution that is ready when they are.

We are solidly in execution mode. We’re building a skilled and experienced ecosystem. We’re producing assets to accelerate and de-risk deployments. And as a result, we have assembled a community of happy and referenceable customers.

Customers got a preview of more innovation to come

Having crossed one watershed, we felt it was important to show that we’re on to the next with a steady stream of innovation. After all, that’s why people move to the cloud—they want an SCM application platform that innovates at the speed of their business.

We were pleased to demonstrate several planned new products targeted for Release 13, as well as aspects of the Adaptive Intelligent Supply Chain and Internet of Things.

I suppose that, having put our reputation on the line at OpenWorld in 2015, we did the same thing this year. But that’s just how we roll.

Why a Complete Cloud Suite Matters to Your Business

Thu, 2016-11-10 10:37

A Guest Post by Oracle’s Lisa Schwartz, Cloud Business Group (pictured left)

We tell customers all the time that Oracle has the most complete, unified cloud suite in the industry. But do you know why having a complete suite is so important?

The simple answer is because your customers expect your business to act as one business, not separate departments with discrete jobs. Employees and partners expect a unified business too, and in some cases, regulatory environments require it as well.

Customer expectations are very high

In a 2016 Harvard Business Review article entitled “Focus on Keeping Up with Your Customers, Not Your Competitors,” the author says the greatest challenge businesses have today is keeping up with customer expectations, not with competitors. Think about it: we don’t compare the customer service of one company to that of its competitors, but to the best service we’ve received anywhere.

Silos can ruin the customer experience

If you’ve ever had an unsatisfactory customer experience, it may have been due to departmental silos and disconnected business processes. Here are a few examples of how that can play out:

Your Preferences: Let’s say you receive a marketing promotion from your communications provider addressed to MS. Jane Doe, but the monthly bill lists you as MR. Jane Doe. Not a big deal, you say? Studies show that churn rates increase when customers have the impression a company doesn’t know them even after many years of doing business together.

Your Time: If you’ve ever had a family member with a serious illness, you know how frustrating it can be when the insurance company delays reimbursement. It might take you multiple calls to get through to the right person, and you have to repeat the same information every time. During the next benefits open enrollment period, you might decide to look at other health insurance options.

Your Information: Or maybe your credit score goes down because a payment processor acquires your auto loan, but your account information isn’t transferred properly and your payments aren’t processed. Next time you’re in the market for a car, you might need to broaden your search based on financing terms.

Having multiple clouds from different providers is costly, whether in the form of integration or disgruntled customers. These are just a few examples as to why a complete and unified cloud suite matters. I’m sure you can think of many more.

Salesforce Says Einstein, I Say Frankenstein

Fri, 2016-11-04 08:53

A Guest Post by VP Des Cahill, head evangelist for Oracle's CX Cloud Suite

After completing (and recovering from!) my first CX Central at Oracle OpenWorld, I made my way to Moscone Center in San Francisco one more time to check out Dreamforce 2016.

This time I wouldn’t be worried about my slides or prepping for analyst briefings or a video interview with the Cube. Instead, it would be an opportunity to see how the competition runs its event and to listen for the key messages it is sending to the market.

Salesforce always does a good job with event production.

And this year was no different. The DJ playing funk on the first floor of Moscone set a positive tone from the moment I walked in to register. The conference followed a National Parks theme and key customers were identified as “trailblazers.” This theme was carried out to the nth degree in signage, props, t-shirts, cutesy mascots, slide templates, and other production elements.

Salesforce galvanized its presenters around a single, overarching technology message: AI.

I’m always impressed by Salesforce's ability to prominently weave an overall message into the fabric of the event. The key message this year was artificial intelligence, in the form of Einstein, the umbrella brand for Salesforce AI efforts. And yes, there was even an Einstein mascot roaming around during the keynotes.

Cute as the Einstein mascot was, he couldn’t make the message compelling for me.

The AI message fell flat for three reasons:

1.  In some cases, Einstein was simply a re-brand of an old feature. If any feature even remotely smacked of AI, Salesforce slapped the Einstein brand on it.

As a CMO, it’s hard for me to remember a time when marketing automation software wasn’t capable of lead scoring. But it must be new to Salesforce Marketing Cloud, because Salesforce suddenly branded it as Einstein. What? It didn’t have lead scoring before?

Same with Salesforce Commerce Cloud: Salesforce just bought DemandWare in June, but apparently it was built with Einstein even before it was acquired. Because yes, the shopping recommendation engine is powered by Einstein. (And the shopping demo I saw was nothing new.) This transparent attempt to elevate the Einstein brand only served to diminish its value.

You can’t fool customers, Salesforce.

2. There isn’t a lot of intelligence behind Einstein. Intelligence is the ability to acquire and apply knowledge, and Salesforce isn’t providing any new knowledge to customers. Unlike Oracle, Salesforce can only apply its AI to the data you’ve collected in Salesforce apps. What if you just started using its apps? What if you’re a smaller customer without a lot of data?

With Oracle Data Cloud and Adaptive Intelligent Apps, customers can augment existing customer data with rich, third-party data, in order to drive really intelligent offers, actions, and decisions. Einstein cannot do this.

3. Einstein faces a bit of a hype backlash in achieving widespread adoption by Salesforce customers. One analyst I spoke with noted that most Salesforce customers are still uneasy about embracing last year’s Dreamforce hype—Lightning. That same feeling applies to Einstein, and Salesforce didn’t do itself any favors with “everything but the kitchen sink” positioning.

So, what do you get when you take a bunch of existing parts from across your platform, slap them together, and relabel them as something new?

Frankenstein—not Einstein. And it is really scary.

These customers are having a viral effect on our on-premises customers

Thu, 2016-11-03 10:59

A Guest Post by Group Vice President Hari Sankar, Oracle EPM Product Management (pictured left)

The single, unambiguous takeaway from the EPM track at this year’s OpenWorld event was this: Hundreds of customers are up and running with Oracle EPM Cloud, and their success is having a strong viral effect on our on-premises customers.

Customers Share their Success

The signs were first evident on Monday when three EPM Cloud customers shared their experiences on a customer panel for industry analysts. These customers were a perfect representation of the variety we are seeing in EPM Cloud adoption in terms of organization size, industry vertical, and scope of deployment:
  • The Gap represented a large, global organization adding Oracle Planning Cloud to its on-premises deployment
  • Bluebird Bio came in at the other end of the spectrum as a high-growth startup going straight to the cloud with Oracle EPM
  • Universal Health Services gave its point of view as a larger on-premises customer migrating its core planning system to the cloud

All three customers highlighted some core benefits of EPM Cloud: faster implementations, completed in 8-16 weeks; less dependence on IT resources; and plans to extend the use of EPM beyond finance into other areas such as HR, sales, and marketing.

The Viral Effect of Customer Success

The theme of EPM Cloud customers talking about their success continued throughout the conference. No fewer than 27 customers presented sessions or participated in customer panels. These customers represented every part of the world and many industry verticals. They also covered a rich breadth and depth of use cases within and beyond finance.

The list included large organizations such as The Gap and Hilton discussing their global deployment of Oracle Planning Cloud. In many cases these had more users than what they ever had on-premises. Along with startups such as Bluebird Bio, audiences also heard from  mid-size businesses such as Mechanics Bank discussing how they replaced manual Excel-based planning and reporting processes.

After many of these sessions, the presenters were literally mobbed by customer attendees. Some wanted to discuss specific questions related to their plans for EPM Cloud adoption; others wanted to know if they should consider a move to the cloud instead of an on-premises upgrade.

EPM goes beyond Finance

We detected another pattern from customers: their desire to deploy Oracle Planning Cloud in operational lines of business, such as sales, marketing, and human resources. Many customers brought up strategic workforce planning as a process that is fundamentally important to their business. They expressed the desire to adopt the same fact-based rigor and broad participation they have in financial planning.

Sales forecasting and marketing spend planning also came up in many conversations with customers and implementation partners.

With the build out of the Oracle EPM portfolio in the cloud over the past year, and still more EPM Cloud offerings on the way, all signs are Go to move to the cloud.

Oracle Wins Technology Innovation Award for Adaptive Intelligent Apps

Wed, 2016-10-26 17:17

A Guest Post by Oracle's Jack Berkowitz, VP of AI Apps Development (pictured left)

I'm thrilled to report that industry watchers liked what they heard at OpenWorld about our next-generation cloud strategy. One in particular, Ventana Research, named Oracle a winner of its 2016 Technology Innovation Awards for our Adaptive Intelligent Applications. How cool is that! These decision science and data-driven apps are part of the hottest trend in technology right now: AI and machine learning.

But our AI notoriety doesn’t stop at one award. Our OpenWorld announcement generated a lot of analyst and press interest (see list of published articles below). We even received favorable coverage from some of the most skeptical pundits. Here are a few that stand out:

“I see Salesforce as the first mover, but Oracle has significant long-term advantages.” – Doug Henschen, Constellation Research

"Oracle's new Adaptive Intelligent solutions take this value proposition a step further. They are set apart from others by allowing the intelligent applications to learn from billions of anonymized consumer and business profiles available from Oracle." – Dave Schubmehl, IDC, quoted in eWeek

“It is good to see a major vendor start to talk about specific use cases and put a bit more business context around the current buzz around machine learning.” - Vinnie Mirchandani, Enterprise Irregulars

Real products. Real benefits.

But this isn’t just us talking a good game. (In fact, there’s no shortage of hype as evidenced by articles such as this: Salesforce's "Einstein" receives mixed reviews.) Our Dev team is on track to meet the product rollout plan we shared with analysts and press at OpenWorld.

The first product we plan to release in 2017 is Adaptive Intelligent Offers. It enhances Oracle Commerce and Marketing Clouds with the ability to deliver offers and product recommendations to consumers at a specific moment. There are a number of competitive solutions out there, but they don’t have the same decision science/machine-learning algorithms that we do and require manual tuning of rules.

In addition, our apps don’t require huge data science departments to use them. Here’s why that’s an advantage. Some customers, such as the largest retailers, will want to build proprietary machine learning platforms, but most won’t have access to the talent, data, and infrastructure required. Gartner predicts that many organizations will opt for packaged applications because the data science needed to create these systems is so complex.[1]

No one can match Oracle's winning combination

So what sets our apps apart? It's the combo of these four elements:

  1. The most data with five billion anonymous consumer and business profiles
  2. The broadest domain expertise and delivery platform with 12,500 SaaS customers across CX, HCM, ERP, EPM, and SCM
  3. Data science, machine learning, and AI expertise in consumer research, systems optimization, IOT predictive analytics, business analytics and prediction
  4. Scalable cloud infrastructure that is automated

We're also working on AI Actions for sales and service, AI Discounts for procurement and finance, AI Dynamic Planning and Bidding for logistics, and AI Candidate Experience for HR.

You can contact me jack.berkowitz@oracle.com or melissa.boxer@oracle.com with questions.

[1] “Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2017”, Gartner, October 2016.

Analyst and Press Articles Covering Adaptive Intelligent Apps

CMSWire: “Oracle Ups its Cloud Strategy with Adaptive Intelligent Applications #OOW16,” Derek Walter, Sept. 20, 2016

CMSWire: “Oracle Wraps Up OpenWorld With Promises of a Smarter Cloud,” Derek Walter, Sept. 26, 2016

Constellation Research: “Oracle Vs Salesforce on AI: What to Expect When,” Doug Henschen, Sept. 20, 2016

CRN: “Oracle Delivers Artificial Intelligence Solutions To Partners,” Joseph Tsidulko, Sept. 19, 2016

Destination CRM: “At OpenWorld 2016, Oracle Unveils Adaptive Intelligent Cloud Applications,” Oren Smilansky, Sept. 20, 2016

Enterprise Apps Today: “Oracle Updates Apps for Next Gen Cloud,” Sean Michael Kerner, Sept. 20, 2016

Enterprise Irregulars: “Oracle AI: Adaptive Intelligence,” Vinnie Mirchandani, Sept. 21, 2016

eWeek: “Oracle Launches Major AI Initiative With ‘Intelligent cloud Apps',” David Needle, Sept. 19, 2016

FierceCMO: “AI brings great potential to B2B marketing,” Patrick Gorman, Sept. 30, 2016

Fortune: “Salesforce and Oracle Vie to Prove Whose Apps Will Be Smarter,” Heather Clancy, Sept. 19, 2016

IoT Evolution World: “OpenWorld: Oracle is Dropping All Sorts of IoT Cloud Knowledge,” Ken Briodagh, Sept. 19, 2016

ITWeb: “Oracle ups cloud game in a bid to outdo rivals,” Admire Moyo, Sept. 20, 2016

The Register: “Oracle: We're going to be the practical AI people, we swear it,” Shaun Nichols, Oct. 11, 2016

ZDNet: “Oracle and Salesforce and IBM? Oh My! Here comes AI sprawl,” Larry Dignan, Sept. 19, 2016

ZDNet: “Oracle vs. Salesforce on AI: What to expect when,” Doug Henschen, Sept. 21, 2016

The Best Transformation Story Ever

Thu, 2016-10-20 15:19

Oracle’s transformation story isn’t new. It just gets better over time. As companies transition to the cloud and become digital businesses, who better than Oracle to guide them through these changes? Oracle writer Margaret Lindquist shares many of these insights in Oracle’s Safra Catz (pictured left): How Finance Can Lead Cloud Transformation.

Show Me the Money

Unless you’re a start-up, most companies already have an ERP system in place, if not many ERP systems accumulated over time. That was the case in 1999 when Oracle set out to reduce multiple, disparate systems around the world to a single source of truth.

“By eliminating that duplication and consolidating systems, we were able to invest in our main business. When we started this effort, we spent $650 million a year on R&D. Now, we spend $5.6 billion. That is the goal with these ERP transformations. It’s critical to simplify and run the business in such a way that resources are released to invest in your main business.” – Safra Catz

Simplification, consolidation, and rationalization are just as relevant with the cloud. GE Digital has taken this advice to heart, replacing its fragmented ERP structure with ERP Cloud and investing those savings in innovation.

Don’t Forget the Human Element

Not every transformation is driven by cost savings. CIO Mark Sunday describes Oracle’s transformation into a cloud-first company as a way to engage with customers and employees in a digital world. No matter where your cloud journey begins, the hardest part will be dealing with people’s resistance to change.

Safra offers this advice: “You have to provide employees with so many benefits in terms of improved productivity, cost savings, and better efficiencies, that on their own they begin to look for other opportunities to push the capabilities of the systems.”

The hot new cloud product for true customer service

Wed, 2016-10-19 17:15

A Guest Post by Bill Miller, Oracle product management director (pictured left)

It’s such a pleasure doing business with a company that has a 360-degree view of me as a customer. All my information—from different touchpoints that I’ve used to contact the company to purchase products and receive service and support—is consolidated in a master record. When a company manages my data efficiently, I tend to engage more, spend more, renew my loyalty, and tell my friends.

Managing customer data is at the crux of delivering a positive customer experience. Despite their importance, most master data management (MDM) solutions are a bit onerous. They are typically expensive on-premises deployments, which are time consuming to set up and to obtain results.

Oracle Customer Data Management Cloud (CDM) changes the game

CDM Cloud is an affordable solution for a company’s master data management challenges. It’s a single, easy-to-use application that consolidates, cleans, completes, and coordinates customer data from different systems across the enterprise—delivering a current, complete 360-degree view.

The technology has actually been around since the introduction of Fusion, strategically embedded in the Fusion CRM / OSC platform. CDM as a cloud service is new (as part of Oracle CX Cloud) and is the first truly SaaS-based, next-generation MDM platform. It leverages Oracle’s decades of experience in the MDM industry.

Oracle CDM Cloud creates a trusted master customer profile

Based on a recent survey from Experian, on average, customer data resides in at least nine different systems, making it difficult to know what is really there and what is really happening. This is mainly a result of the expanding applications ecosystem used to run any business.

Oracle CDM Cloud uses a cross-reference registry to tie data together from multiple sources to create a “best version” record. Ken Readus from eVerge Consulting says, “We see Oracle CDM as the perfect, easy-to-use solution for our clients to create a common, sharable “customer master” from all the cloud and on-premise applications that have sprung up over the years.”

Besides centralizing data from multiple systems, Oracle CDM Cloud also resolves the issue of bad or duplicate data. Most business applications, such as Salesforce, Microsoft, and SAP, don’t have the embedded function to check data quality.

Why are so many Oracle CX, ERP, and Salesforce customers signing up for Oracle CDM?

Most companies know how a single, complete 360-degree view of the customer positively affects their customer service. But there are so many benefits that extend beyond the increased customer loyalty, retention, and reference sentiment, which I mentioned at the beginning of this post.

For instance, Oracle CDM Cloud increases customer insight. That in turn, reduces churn. There are fewer risk / compliance issues as a result of CDM’s data governance capabilities.

Also, CDM Cloud helps companies better manage their sales territories. Businesses can segment their marketing campaigns more completely. Reporting is more accurate and timely.

For More Information

To learn about the exceptional capabilities and benefits of Oracle CDM Cloud, go to this link for an overview, features, pricing, and a data sheet.

October 26th: Exelon Corporation—Oracle HCM Cloud Customer Forum

Thu, 2016-10-13 17:24

Join us for an Oracle HCM Cloud Customer Forum call on Wednesday, October 26, 2016.

Tim Hickey, Director of HR Strategic Services, and Duane Akin, Director of IT at Exelon Corporation, will discuss their company’s journey from on-premises Oracle PeopleSoft HR applications to Oracle HCM Cloud. You will hear how they are tracking toward the goal of lowering Excelon’s TCO and improving the efficiency and effectiveness of its HR operations.

Register now to attend the live forum on Wednesday, October 26, 2016, at 9:00 a.m. PT.

Customers talk to each other—and everyone wins

Wed, 2016-10-12 20:40

A Guest Post by Oracle Senior Vice President Chris Leone, Applications Development (pictured left)

Most customer panels are conversations between the moderator and the customer. Not in Cara Capretta’s HCM session at OpenWorld 2016. Two minutes into the conversation, the HR and IT leaders from Kaiser Permanente, SGS, Siemens Corporation, MoneyGram, and IPSOS were laughing and joking with each other.

“We’re in this Together”

It turns out that the panelists knew each other from reference calls.Caroline Villemin, HCM Systems Manager of IPSOS, said her reference call with SGS was “more than just getting feedback on the solution; we really discovered the customer community and everything around it.”

Etienne Delobel, HRIS Director of SGS, described the interaction with a professional colleague this way: “When Caroline and the CFO of IPSOS came for an on-site visit, they spent half a day with us looking into our HCM platform. I told them that if they go with HCM Cloud, we'll work together, and we'll be together." He added, “There are all these great features available in the cloud. The thing is, I do not have enough resources on my team to play with them, to have fun with them. So now I'm looking at how IPSOS is implementing and using things like self-service. They’re prototyping for us.”

Customers Connect Online

In the on-premises world, customers interacted mostly with vendors and partners. Now that everyone in the SaaS world is on the same release, customers are looking more to each other for advice. You see this in online communities such as Oracle’s Customer Connect, where customers join discussion forums on topics covering CX, HCM, ERP, EPM, and more.

The HCM Cloud community alone has 20,000 active community members. In this Profit Magazine interview with Oracle SVP Chris Leone (pictured left), he points out that activity in the cloud community has grown because people are sharing information across organizations. They’re saying, “Hey, take advantage of this new succession planning feature, or this new career development tool. They’re sharing reports.”

Oracle Listens

In addition, customers use the Idea Lab to submit ideas, collaborate on development, and vote for their favorite ideas. According to Leone, 80 percent of the enhancements in Release 12 were customer-driven. HCM customers have submitted 7,200 ideas so far.

Are you part of this online community? We encourage you to sign up today.

Here’s why Oracle Cloud Apps rocked it at OpenWorld 2016

Wed, 2016-10-05 13:31

A Guest Post by Oracle Sr. Director Deb Hamilton, Cloud Applications, Outbound Product Management (pictured left)

 For Oracle and our SaaS customers, OpenWorld 2016 was a time to celebrate our mutual success. We are leading and growing the SaaS market with more than 12,500 overall SaaS customers, 10x more ERP customers than Workday, and 2.5x more new HCM customers in FY16 than Workday.

We are grateful for the many customers who shared their success stories in sessions and on panels. This vast customer presence did not go unnoticed by the analysts, influencers, and press. Many commented on the strong customer advocacy at this year’s OpenWorld, and how effectively customers articulated their reasons for choosing and moving forward with Oracle Cloud.

We deliver innovation fast

Our executives re-iterated our expectation that 100 percent of our customers will move to the cloud. The driving force behind this tremendous shift to the cloud is our ability to deliver modern and superior applications, faster than we ever could before. With every SaaS customer on the same release, we can get precise and immediate feedback through usage and performance data.

In addition, customers are sharing best practices and product insights with each other. In fact, customers are pushing us to deliver even more innovation faster. Once users fully understand how the cloud model works, they cannot get enough of the “good stuff” and keep pushing the envelope.

We’re becoming a service-centered company

Not only has the way we design products changed, the customer experience has changed. We are making a radical transformation from a product-centered to a service-centered company. Our modern ownership experience promises zero-hassle buying, accelerated adoption, and unlimited growth. Just see for yourself the strides we have made.

What hasn’t changed is the breadth of our offering. Customers can choose from a complete suite of business applications for CX, ERP, HCM, SCM, EPM, and data. For existing customers, we provide prebuilt adapters back to our existing on-premises applications so that their businesses remain connected.

Our apps are unique

What is fundamentally unique about our SaaS applications is that they’re data-driven, leveraging both internal and external data. We’ve also added more ways to personalize these applications without interfering with upgrades. In addition, our level of investment in security is hard to match, making our SaaS applications more secure than most on-premises deployments.

And there’s more: New smart software solutions

And, as a cherry on top, at this OpenWorld we announced a brand new category of applications, our Adaptive Intelligent applications. These are unique in the industry. They combine mounds of data and expertise of our highly trained and skilled data scientists, courtesy of Oracle Data Cloud, with complex data parsing algorithms, and our broad suite of SaaS applications to deliver insightful actions and offers. Examples include optimized payment terms, personalized commerce offers, best fit candidates, best value freight, optimized working capital and balanced costs, and many, many other next best actions and offers. Learn more about our Adaptive Intelligent apps.

October 11, 2016: KPN Netherlands—Oracle Sales Cloud Customer Forum

Wed, 2016-10-05 11:23

Join us for an Oracle Sales Cloud Customer Reference Forum on Tuesday, October 11, 2016.

KPN is the largest telecom and IT service provider in the Netherlands. Irma van Mil, Unit Manager Sales & Service, KPN, will discuss how Oracle Sales Cloud continues to contribute to KPN’s strategy of “strengthen, simplify, and grow.”

Register now to attend the live Forum on October 11, 2016, at 4:00 p.m. CET.

The Biggest OpenWorld 2016 Takeaway

Tue, 2016-09-27 17:14

A Guest Post by Oracle Vice President Natalia Rachelson, Cloud Applications, Outbound Product Management (pictured left)

What an amazing conference, full of crazy energy and excitement fueled by music from Gwen Stefani and Sting. Ha! Try to top that!

All the billboards and buildings surrounding Moscone Conference Center were covered in Oracle Cloud posters with quotes from Oracle Cloud customers. For Oracle SaaS, the saying “proof is in the pudding” could not ring more true this year as almost every apps session included customers speaking on behalf of our solutions. “Yes and Yes” to more customer advocates!

As Oracle EVP Steve Miranda told one audience, “There's nothing I could do or say that represents us as well as you, our customers.” Here’s a sampling of the invaluable advice that happy Oracle SaaS customers dispensed to their colleagues during the conference:

Implementation

  • Spend time upfront on business process simplification and normalization (SaaS = No Customizations)
  • Leverage solution configurations to tailor the app to meet your specific business needs
  • For truly unique requirements, consider extending the apps with PaaS
  • Remember that out-of-the-box solutions have industry best practices built in, so use them; they will make your lives easier

Security

  • Trust Oracle. Everyone who grapples with various security questions ends up with the same conclusion—Oracle can handle security a lot better than we can. Leave it to the expert.
  • There’s the prospect of sleeping better. Compared to on premises, Oracle Cloud is a lot more secure at every single layer from hardware to applications delivery with data encrypted in transit and at rest.

Note: A typical $1B enterprise spends $30M on IT (all of IT including security), Oracle invested $7B across the entire red stack and inclusive of cloud operations on R&D and security.

Innovation

  • Get ready to consume innovation, and lots of it, with every single release. Releases come at least twice a year.
  • Change management is king. Users must be ready to consume new stuff. Once they get the hang of it, they will keep asking for more.

Integrations

  • It’s OK to be a straddler. If you’re not ready to go full cloud, no problem keeping some applications on premises for a while.

Note: Customers can meet any integration challenge using Oracle’s range of solutions from pre-built adapters and accelerators to Integration Cloud Services to fully integrated cloud solutions.

The tipping point

  • It’s not just about cost. While cost savings are an indisputable value, the even bigger value is the ability to be modern, nimble, and agile; to dazzle employees with new shiny work tools; to let them spend their creative energy on what matters to your business, instead of reconciling multiple Excels and manual data uploads and downloads.

Note: And, how about an adaptive intelligence system that uses reams of data and your own business intelligence to recommend your employees next best action/step/offer that they should undertake as if they have a brainstorming partner right there with them. How about that?

Now this

The possibilities with cloud and Oracle SaaS are truly endless. Encourage your prospects and customers to come join our party and let the OpenWorld 2016 music never stop.

Get Ready for the Hottest, New Machine Learning and Data-Powered Apps

Tue, 2016-09-20 10:37

A Guest Post by Oracle Vice President Melissa Boxer (pictured left) 

Have you ever wondered how Pandora, Netflix, and Uber make it possible for you to create personalized music sets, find movies worth watching, or get from point A to B? These services are all powered by sophisticated machine learning algorithms that continuously learn about you—delivering what you need most, just when you want it.

A New Category of Apps

Now you can get the same amazing experiences with Oracle Applications. We are announcing a powerful new category of decision science and data-driven apps at OpenWorld that add value to our CX, HCM, ERP and SCM cloud applications.

You may have heard competitors announce product strategies with character names like Watson, Holmes, or Einstein. The difference between them and us is that we’re delivering real software and real apps, not just smart-sounding platforms that require customers to build solutions from scratch. Instead, Oracle is taking an applications-first approach in order to provide immediate value to our customers.  (Genius, I know.)

Intelligence Powered by Data

The key to these new apps is that they’re powered by enormous amounts of consumer and business data from Oracle’s Data Cloud—anonymized, of course. Data Cloud has over five billion profiles, 45,000 attributes, and reaches 90 percent of US online audiences with an active digital ID. The combination of data and decision science provides tremendous insight about an individual and others like them within a given context (e.g. temperature, location, social activity, and more). This means they can deliver smarter results at an individual level.

Adaptive and Continuously Learning

These apps are also adaptive. They continuously react, learn, and adapt to your changing needs and patterns. Let’s say you’re a regular coffee drinker and go to your neighborhood cafe every day. Wouldn’t it be nice if, on a hot day, your local coffee house sent you an offer for an iced coffee instead? That’s a smart app—understanding what you like and taking into account the context to make a highly personalized offer. And, the app will learn from your response and deliver something even more personalized the next time. This is just one example of the many ways these apps can be used across different domains and industries.

I feel strongly that Oracle is poised for incredible success as both a category maker and category leader in this emerging space. We have the largest data exchange, most complete applications portfolio, best decision scientists, and the first and only applications-first approach. No other vendor can touch that.

At OpenWorld, Vice President Jack Berkowitz and SVP Clive Swan (head of the AI team) will present a session entitled From Netflix to the Enterprise [CON7023] on Tuesday, September 20, 11:00 – 11: 45 a.m. in Moscone West, Room 2012. They will be showcasing all of our apps across CX, HCM, SCM, and ERP and reviewing our product architecture and roadmap.

 You can refer to the press release for more information. 

Oracle CPQ Cloud, the Gift that Keeps Giving, at Oracle OpenWorld 2016

Tue, 2016-09-06 23:05

A Guest Post by Chris Haussler, Senior Principal Product Manager, Oracle (pictured left)

In the 1920s, an advertising salesman delivered the slogan. The gift that keeps giving, to market a record player. The idea was that if you gave this record player as a gift, the recipient would think of you every time he used it. Pretty clever.

What does this have to do with software? I’ll go out on a limb: CPQ Cloud is the front-office software gift that keeps giving. Like the record player, CPQ Cloud’s customers earn incrementally more benefit the more they use it. Don’t believe me?

Proof of Benefit

As you’d expect, companies that invest in front-office transformation tools, such as marketing automation, SFA, and CPQ, get benefits from the increased efficiency that these tools bring to their processes. But after that initial efficiency windfall, it’s important not to get complacent. The potential opportunity is much greater. Persistent use of CPQ Cloud not only helps sales reps serve customers day-to-day, it also builds a storehouse of information about buying behaviors and product mix. This data can be used to optimize product offerings, sales processes, and channel sell-through.

The result: better sales resource utilization, improved margin, and superior market competitiveness.

It Keeps on Giving

But here’s how CPQ Cloud continues its gifting ways. As markets change, the opportunities to review and retune CPQ Cloud continue, offering incremental improvements again and again. CPQ Cloud administration offers the easy-to-use tools to get these changes to market quickly. After 15+ years in the market, we’ve realized that the best CPQ Cloud customers use the tool not only for sales automation, but to drive continual growth and profit.

Key Sessions at OpenWorld

At Open World 2016, CPQ Cloud offers content for customers at every stage: whether new to sales transformation or looking for the next step in their sales optimization journey.

For beginners in every industry, we recommend a survey of sessions to see how Oracle CPQ Cloud can be combined with other products in the Oracle portfolio:

  • Maximize Results from Oracle Sales Cloud and Oracle CPQ Cloud [CON6937]
  • Graduate to full Quote-to-Cash in the Cloud with CPQ Cloud integrated to Oracle ERP and Oracle SCM Clouds [CON7079]
  • Optimize Customer Engagement with a Multi-Pillar Oracle Customer Experience Solution [CON7958]
  • Connect Oracle CPQ Cloud to E-Business Suite [CON7078]

Financial Services and Communications companies have sessions that demonstrate CPQ Cloud’s ability to serve the distinct sales processes in those industries:

  • Oracle CX for Financials Services – CPQ Cloud [CON7080]
  • Oracle CX for Communications – CPQ Cloud [CON7081]

Of interest to all, but particularly relevant for CPQ Cloud customers seeking that next ROI-building transformation:

  • What’s Your CPQ Maturity? A Business Panel Discussion [CON7076]
  • Oracle Configure, Price, and Quote Roadmap [CON6320]

Register Now

We encourage you to attend OpenWorld 2016 and participate in the CPQ Cloud sessions that speak to your needs. As CPQ Cloud is the gift that keeps giving, you will be glad you did ... again and again.

Session Catalog and Registration

Brand Transformation Starts with Oracle Marketing Cloud at OpenWorld 2016!

Fri, 2016-09-02 09:13

A Guest Post by Jennifer Dennis, Director of Marketing, Oracle (pictured left)

Learn how leading companies deliver the best of their brand with Oracle Marketing Cloud at Oracle OpenWorld 2016 in San Francisco, September 18–22, 2016.

Hear Laura Ipsen,General Manager and Senior Vice President, Oracle Marketing Cloud (pictured right), at our general session on Brand Experience: Modern Marketing Transformation. You’ll get insights into how brands are making this data-driven digital transformation and achieving dramatic results. Laura will be joined by Ninish Ukkan, Senior Vice President, Head of Technology for eHarmony.

Then see how Modern Marketing works in sessions featuring MongoDB, DocuSign, Nestle USA, Team One, LinkedIn, CSC, Clorox, technology partners, and Modern Marketing experts. Attendees will experience how Oracle Marketing Cloud is the solution that marketers love and IT trusts.

Whether you’re focused on marketing automation or cross-channel marketing, you’ll get insights into solutions for data-driven, mobile, and account-based marketing to help you achieve a personalized customer experience.

Modern Marketing experts will offer demonstrations and an in-depth look at some of the exciting new solutions and features released for Oracle Marketing Cloud.

You won’t want to miss these opportunities to transform yourself into a Modern Marketer. If you have questions, contact me at jennifer.dennis@oracle.com.

Use these links to get more information and to register

If you have questions, contact me at jennifer.dennis@oracle.com.

Steve Miranda’s CXOTALK: Will Data Make Apps Smarter?

Thu, 2016-09-01 15:08

If you want to know what Steve Miranda is going to talk about at OpenWorld, his interview with ZDNet columnist Michael Krigsman provides a few clues. One topic sure to get top billing is data—as in Data Cloud’s ability to combine third-party data (cookies, mobile ID, credit card purchases, etc.) with first-party data.

You’ve probably heard about Data Cloud in the context of marketing. If you’ve ever clicked on an item in one web site and then seen ads for that item on another web site, you’ve experienced the power of data.Instead of targeting broad customer segments, marketers can now connect digital identities across marketing channels (Facebook and Twitter handles) and devices (desktops, tablets, mobile devices) and target anonymous—with emphasis on anonymous—individuals.

But here’s where Miranda's talk gets really interesting. He says that we’re only at the beginning of potential uses of Data Cloud. For example, you could create highly compelling, next-best offers by combining purchase data from Commerce Cloud with external purchase intent data. Or you could determine whether or not to take a supplier discount based on real-time currency rates or supplier ratings. To hear Steve describe his vision, click here.

Steve sums up the future of apps in this way: “Collect as much data as you can, use that data to make better product, and that’s where we think it’s going to go in SaaS.”

Guaranteed, this won’t be the last time you hear the words data and applications together.

Now is the Time. This is the Place. ERP Cloud at OpenWorld 2016.

Mon, 2016-08-29 17:46

A Guest Post by Oracle's Kazim Isfahani, Director, ERP Strategy (pictured left)

The excitement level is building for OpenWorld 2016, September 18 - 22 in San Francisco, CA. CFO’s, project leaders, procurement officers, along with finance and operations leaders, will gather at the premier executive destination to learn more about shifting their business to the cloud to build the business of tomorrow.

Last year, OpenWorld session attendees with an ERP content focus grew 80 percent.One year later, we have twice as many customers and we're offering more than 50 general, conference, and ‘Meet the Expert’ sessions expressly dedicated to ERP Cloud. These sessions are designed to help ERP Cloud customers and prospects hear from their peers, learn from Oracle’s experts, and maximize their time at OpenWorld.

ERP Showcase

New this year is the ERP Showcase which brings together Oracle’s ERP team and partners to help organizations create their own path to the cloud. All track sessions, product demos, theater presentations, networking, and more will be co-located on the third level in Moscone West. This is a unique opportunity to secure all of your ERP Cloud needs from one central location. ERP Showcase sponsors include Cognizant Technology Solutions, Emtec, Forsys, Huron, Infovity, and Prometheus Group.

Customers Sharing Their Journeys

Again this year, we’ll feature a plethora of customers, each willing to share their journey to the cloud. Attendees will have the opportunity to hear from senior executives from companies including Orange, Qualcomm, GE Digital, Profound Medical, City of Detroit, Alex Lee, Skanska, Hillside Family Agencies, Ballard, and the Cerebral Palsy Association of NY. These speakers bring a treasure trove of critical information and proven success recipes that will guide those of you seeking an ERP Cloud journey of your own. The learnings gleaned from these cloud veterans will prove invaluable!

ERP Cloud Execs and Sessions

Key Oracle ERP executives will be on-hand, including Rondy Ng, SVP Applications Development; Tom Anthony, VP Procurement Product Strategy; Colleen Baumbach, VP Applications Development, and Terrance Wampler, VP Financials Product Strategy. Each will be showcasing the latest product releases and associated roadmaps across the ERP family.

Here are a few of the 50 ERP Cloud not-to-be missed sessions from the Session Catalog:

  • “How Oracle’s Modern Cloud Applications Can Drive Your Success,” September 19, 11:00 am PT | Room 3008 [GEN7758]
  • “Run Your Modern Business on a Modern Cloud,” September 19, 2:30 pm PT | Room 3008 [GEN7298]
  • “Oracle Procurement—Empowering Modern Procurement,” September 19, 4:30 pm PT | Room 3001 [GEN7254]
  • “Oracle Project Portfolio Management Cloud—Seize the Digital Opportunity,” September 19, 4:30 pm PT | Room 3003 [GEN7279]
  • “Finance Takes Control and Transforms with the Cloud,” September 20, 10:45 am PT | Room 3001 [GEN7299]
  • “Managing Your Revenue by IFRS 15/ASC 606: Oracle Financials Cloud and Oracle E-Business Suite,” September 21, 11:00 am PT | Room 3016 [CON7314]
  • “Oracle Financials Cloud Implementation: A Customer Experience,” September 21, 3:00 pm PT | Room 3001 [CON6064]

 

Meet the Experts

This ever-popular activity is an opportunity for you to meet with the Oracle ERP Cloud experts, the people who design and build the applications. There are three sessions scheduled.

  • “Meet the Experts: Oracle Procurement Cloud” September 20, 11:00 am PT | Room 3001A [MTE7785]
  • “Meet the Experts: Oracle Financials Cloud” September 21, 3:00 pm PT | Room 3001A [MTE7784]
  • “Meet the Experts: Oracle Project Portfolio Management Cloud,” Sep 21, 12:15 pm PT| Room 3001A [MTE7792]

 

These interactive sessions allow for discussions on Oracle Applications strategy and customer specific business and IT strategy. The experts are available to discuss the latest releases and share insights into the best path for your enterprise. For those of you considering ERP Cloud, this is a perfect opportunity to meet with the product development and strategy team, and learn more about the product. Space is limited, so we recommend that you pre-register.

Demo Grounds and More

The Demo Grounds are a great way for you to network and discover everything our partners have to offer. Want all that ERP Cloud has planned in one place? Visit ERP Central @ OpenWorld 2016.

What About After Hours?

After a long day of learning, networking, and sharing, OpenWorld has plenty of fun planned as well.

  • Welcome Reception on Sunday, September 18 at 7:00 pm on the Oracle Cloud Plaza @ Howard Street
  • ERP Central Happy Hour on Tuesday, September 20 at 6:00 pm, on the third floor of Moscone West
  • Billy Joel concert on Wednesday, September 21 at AT&T Park, an exclusive, private event
  • Numerous partner events; visit the partners’ booths on the third level in Moscone West for details.

 

Register Now

Oracle ERP Cloud is top of mind for companies across size, industry, and geography. The ERP Cloud agenda for this premier event offers you both depth and breadth and an opportunity to hear from experienced Oracle ERP Cloud customers and to apply the best practices in your own organizations.

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