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Watching the current trends and future direction of Oracle's Applicationsfteter
Updated: 4 days 4 hours ago

Treasures From The Road

Mon, 2014-12-08 15:25
Reading departure signs in some big airport
Reminds me of the places I've been.Visions of good times that brought so much pleasureMakes me want to go back again.If it suddenly ended tomorrow,I could somehow adjust to the fall.Good times and riches and son of a b*****s,I've seen more than I can recall                      — From Jimmy Buffett’s "Changes in Lattitude, Changes in Attitude"
I’ve been traveling lately.  In fact, since OpenWorld this year, I’ve been on the road around 75% of my time.  All in the continental USA.  From my viewpoint, that’s lots of travel.  But it’s been good - full of variety, working with lots of customers and partners.  Mobile, SaaS applications, BI, UX (including conducting an Oracle HCM UX workshop for Oracle Partners), keynoting at the East Coast Oracle conference (just got the feedback on my talk, and I’m really pleased with it).  I’m not complaining.  Now that I’m done for this calendar year, I have a chance to reflect on the treasures I’ve learned lately.
A really cool thing in all that travel has been talking and working with many of Oracle’s Higher Education customers.  I’m still getting to know that market, so it’s been an enriching experience.  And I’ve gathered some questions posed, observations collected, and commentary about Oracle Cloud Applications that seems to be pretty consistent across those Higher Education users. In fact, they seem pretty consistent in general.  So I thought I’d share them, along with my own thoughts about each, and see what y’all think.
1.  Comment:  My institution/enterprise/organization/firm really needs to get out from under the maintenance costs of our Oracle applications.  We’re continually burning resources with patching and upgrading.  We’re on a very expensive treadmill.  
My Response:  Software-as-a-Service was made for customers like you. With SaaS, Oracle works the patching and upgrading (on your schedule, by the way).  So your resources are now liberated from operational maintenance to work on projects and tasks related to your core mission, whatever that might be.
2.  Comment:  We have unique needs/customers/business processes and we can’t customize in the cloud.  
My Response:  Keep the things that differentiate you or make you unique on-premise.  Take the things that are necessary to do business, but aren’t part of your core mission, and move them into SaaS.  This allows you to stay unique at your core, but gives the operational headaches of the necessary but mundane things to someone else.  This approach is known as a “Hybrid” or “Co-Existence” deployment.  
Optional “Add-On” Response:  Best-practice business processes are baked into the cloud applications.  This is one of the unsung value-adds in SaaS.  It may be worthwhile to take a look at those best-practice business processes and consider whether they might work for you.
3.  Comment:  I’m worried about security in putting sensitive data out on the cloud.  
My Answer comes in two parts:  A) Is data security part of your core business?  It is part of Oracle’s core business.  As a result, they hire platoons of the best “A-Team” security experts to fend off thousands of attacks every day.  So perhaps your data might actually be better protected in the cloud than it is today?  B) Did you know that Oracle does not commingle customer data?  The data of every SaaS customer is physically and virtually separated from every other SaaS customer.  So, in terms of data separation, you won’t sacrifice anything by moving to the cloud.
4.  Observation:  The position of UX in the applications market has changed dramatically over the past year.  
Rather than being an optional value-add, UX is now a basic requirement for a seat at the table.  Ugly, complicated applications just don’t sell anymore.  Basic, packaged applications must meet the standards of elegant, consistent user interfaces and simple paths to results  just to enter the market.  And end users now expect custom, home-grown applications to meet those same standards.  If you can’t punch your UX ticket, you just can’t play…period.
5.  Question:  What’s the difference between Workday and Oracle Cloud Application Services?  
NOTE:  I knew this one would get your attention.  We're playing with fire now ;)
My Response:  I have a great deal of respect for what Workday is doing.  They’re designing and building elegant, clean, simple applications that have turned the entire enterprise applications market on its head.  I’m a fan.  That being said, I think Oracle has a differentiator with a deeper and richer set of features…you’ll find standard features that only exist in Oracle’s cloud applications.  That’s important because it allows Oracle to address a wider and more complex range of use cases and business processes.  There are other factors for and against both Workday and Oracle.  But, in my mind, that’s the big difference.
So those are the big treasures from my recent travels.  Thoughts? Feedback?  Comments please.

Cooking The Bird

Tue, 2014-11-25 19:08
So this has very little to do with Oracle, but it’s the big thing everyone has been asking me about over the past two or three weeks.  If you’re a vegan or a vegetarian, you may want to stop reading right now.

Thanksgiving is coming up here in the States.  It’s a bit deal in terms of remembering what to be thankful about.  It’s also a big deal in terms of cooking, especially cooking turkey.  Y’all asked for it, so here it is:  this is my best recipe for cooking a Thanksgiving turkey.  This will make about 18 servings.

Orange Brine

  • 6 cups water
  • 2 cups kosher or sea salt, or one cup table salt
  • 1 cup white sugar or 2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 oranges, quartered
  • 1 tablespoon of whole cloves
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons whole peppercorns
  • 1 Whole Turkey, 12 to 14 pounds, thawed
  • 1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Maple Glaze
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 small orange, juiced
  • 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract

  • In a large saucepan over high heat, bring the water, salt and sugar to a boil.  Be sure you’re stirring to dissolve the salt and sugar.  Once boiling, turn off heat and let cool to room temperature.
  • In a 3-gallon food-safe container (I use a food storage bucket or a camping cooler), combine one gallon of water with the oranges, cloves, bay leaves and peppercorns.  Add the sugar-salt solution and stir.
  • Congrats!  You’ve made the brine!
  • Remove the giblets and neck from the turkey (I keep ‘em around for making gravy).  Remove excess fat and pat the turkey dry with paper towels.
  • Submerge the turkey in the brine.  Top it off with a weight if needed to keep it submerged.  If the turkey is a bit large, add more water.
  • Keep the turkey and brine in the refrigerator for 12 hours.
  • While the turkey is soaking in the brine, make your glaze.  Stir all three ingredients in a small bowl.  Cover and refrigerate until one hour before the turkey is done cooking.  Don’t worry, we’ll use this in a bit.
  • If you’re cooking in a smoker, load the smoker with apple or cherry wood and start your fire.  If you’re grilling, set up your grill for indirect medium heat (google this if you need instructions).  If you’re cooking in the oven, pre-heat to 325 degrees F.
  • Remove the turkey from the brine and pat it dry with paper towels.  Brush all over with a thin coating of the olive oil.  Do not season, as the brine soak took care of that.
  • Put your turkey in a large foil roasting pan.
  • Place the turkey, still in the roasting pan, in your smoker/grill/oven breast side up!!!  Close the lid or door and find something else to do - don’t peek.  If you’re grilling or oven roasting, plan to cook around 13 minutes per pound.  In a smoker, figure it closer to 30 minutes per pound - yeah, that’s a long cook, so plan accordingly.  NOTE:  if you’re grilling or oven roasting, you’ll likely miss out on most of the wood smoke flavor.  Grab some Liquid Smoke in Applewood flavor from the BBQ Sauce section of your local grocery - add in a teaspoon when you’re making the glaze; it’s not the same, but it’ll fool most people.  Just keep in mind that too much will make your turkey taste extremely bitter, so err on the light side.
  • Discard your brine.  You’re all done with it.
  • After two hours, begin basting with a combination of orange juice plus either water or apple juice (not both!); I prefer apple juice - more moistening and leaves no flavor behind, but to each his/her own. Baste every two hours until the glaze is applied.
  • One hour before the turkey is done cooking, remove the glaze from the refrigerator and let sit at room temp.
  • 30 minutes before your turkey is done cooking, remove the turkey from the foil pan.  See all the drippings in your pan?  That’s for the gravy.  Grab the can and put the turkey breast up directly on the cooking grate.  Close the lid or door and go make your gravy.
  • When you grab the pan and drippings for the gravy, brush the glaze all over your turkey.
  • Your turkey is done when an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the thigh reads 180 degrees F.  Don’t have an instant-read thermometer? Stick a toothpick in the thickest part of the thigh without touching the bone; remove the toothpick and inspect the juices running out of the hole; your turkey is done when the juices run clear.
  • When your turkey is done, remove from the heat to a platter and (very important) let it stand for 20 minutes at room temp before carving!
  • But wait, you say, what about stuffing???  Truth is, using this recipe, the inside of the bird will never get hot enough to entirely cook the stuffing.  I cook my stuffing in an aluminum pan on top of the stove…usually add a teaspoon or two of the drippings while it’s cooking.  If I want the bird stuffed, I’ll stuff it while it’s standing after the cooking is done…yeah, I normally don’t do this…never have heard any complaints.
  • One note about something everyone fusses over:  carving.  I use an odd technique taught to me by a professional butcher - it keeps the meat juicier, avoids shredding the meat, and makes the overall presentation much better.  First, remove the entire breast from the bone in one large cut.  Cut across the breast to make crescent-shaped pieces.  Move the pieces to the serving platter as a whole breast, then cut off and add the drumsticks, thighs and wings.

So there ya go!  We'll get back to the Oracle stuff next week.  In the meantime, enjoy and have a happy Thanksgiving!

Update at Windsor's request:

Penguins and Conferences

Mon, 2014-11-10 10:13
I just came back from the East Coast Oracle User Group conference.  Good conference.  Lots of solid, technical knowledge being shared.  Being there got me to thinking...

Over the past few years, a big concern for people attending conferences is the need to justify their attendance.  It's a big deal.  And, in my own mine, the only real justification is what you bring back, share and apply post-conference.  Let me tell you a story (can you hear all of my children groaning in the background?).

All the penguins in my neighborhood get together for a little meeting every month.  They talk about the happenings around the neighborhood, complain about the weather, catch up with each other, share info on where the fish are, and all sorts of things.  It's just a little social gathering.  At least, it was until last month.

Last month, a new penguin stopped by.  He was on his way north, looking for better penguin weather.  And he was flying!  The local penguin crew was stunned because, as everybody knows, penguins can't fly.  But the new bird promised to teach them all to fly.  And, after about four hours of instruction and practice, all those penguins were flying.  Soaring.  Barrel rolls.  Loops.  Bomber dives.  Spins.  What a bunch of happy penguins, high-fiving each other and laughing about the new knowledge and skills they acquired.

After another four hours, those penguins were exhausted.  Huffing and puffing.  Soreness from muscles they didn't even know they had.  But they were exhilarated. They all agreed it was a spectacular day.

And then they all walked home...

You want to justify your attendance at a conference?  Be smarter than my local penguins.

Bringing Clarity To The Avalanche - Part II

Wed, 2014-10-08 12:35
You had to be hiding under a rock (with no cell or internet service) to miss out on the fact that Oracle was trumpeting cloud messages throughout OpenWorld.  Far too much news for one person to track. So I'd like to approach discussing this in a very different way.

Today, I'm simply putting up a link to the best Oracle press release on recent cloud announcements.  The release touts the six new platform services for Oracle Cloud.  You can find it here.  This is the "sneak peek", made especially for those of you who think I'm too slow about writing things.  Heck, I'm much faster than George RR Martin, but anything to keep ya'all happy...

UPDATE:  So the highlights for me all have to do with PaaS (Platform-as-a-Service)...30,000 devices, 400 pedabytes of storage, 19 data centers around the globe...whew.

I had the opportunity to work hands-on with the Mobile Cloud, which puts development, deployment and administration onto one user interface (yup, it's the Oracle Alta UI).  Built a mobile app in about 30 minutes.  More on that in a subsequent post.

The Integration Cloud also looks exciting.  Yes, there are other integration service providers (Boomi comes immediately to mind), but working on integration of Oracle products on an Oracle platform offers some pretty unique possibilities.

The Process Cloud looks promising, especially if we will eventually be able to extend Oracle packaged applications with custom, cloud-based business processes.

Those are my big three highlights.  How about you?

Bringing Clarity To The Avalanche Part 1 - OOW14

Tue, 2014-10-07 15:50
Since the prior post here, I've had some people ask why I compared Oracle OpenWorld this year to an avalanche.  Well, to be honest, there are two reasons.  First, it was certainly an avalanche of news. You can check all the Oracle press releases related to the conference here (warning: it's pages and pages of information).  Second, I'm tired of using the analogy of sipping or drinking from a firehose...time to try something new.

So let's talk about some User Experience highlights from the conference.  Why am I starting with UX?  Because I like it and it's my blog ;)

Alta UI

OK, let's be clear.  Alta is more of a user interface standard than a full UX, as it focuses strictly on UI rather than the entire user experience.  That being said, it's pretty cool.  It's a very clean and simplified look, and applies many lessons learned through Oracle's (separate) UX efforts.  I could blab on and on about Oracle Alta, but you can learn about it for yourself here.


We all love gadgets.  I had the opportunity to get a sneak peek at some of the "projects that aren't quite products yet" in the works at the Oracle UX Labs.  Beacons are a big part of that work.  Turns out that the work has already progress beyond mere gadgetry.  The beacons were used to help guide me from station to station within the event space - this booth is ready for you now.  The AppsLab team talks about beacons on a regular basis.  I'm much more sold now on the usefulness to beacon technology than I was before OOW.  This was one of the better applications I've seen at the intersection of Wearables and the Internet of Things.

Simplified UI

I like the concepts behind Simplified UI because well-designed UX drives user acceptance and increases productivity.  Simplified UI was originally introduced for Oracle Cloud Applications back when they were known as Fusion Applications.  But now we're seeing Simplified UI propagating out to other Oracle Applications.  We now see Simplified UI patterns applied to the E-Business Suite, JD Edwards and PeopleSoft.  Different underlying technology for each, but the same look and feel.  Very cool to see the understanding growing within Oracle development that user experience is not only important, but is a value-add product in and of itself.

Simplified UI Rapid Development Kit

Simplified UI is great for Oracle products, but what if I want to extend those products.  Or, even better, what if I want to custom-build products with the same look and feel?  Well, Oracle has made it easy for me to literally fact, they want me to steal...their secret sauce with the Simplified UI Rapid Development Kit.  Yeah, I'm cheating a bit.  This was actually released before OOW.  But most folks, especially Oracle partners, were unaware prior to the conference.  If I had a nickel for every time I saw a developer's eyes light up over this at OOW, I'd could buy my own yacht and race Larry across San Francisco Bay.  Worth checking out if you haven't already.

Student Cloud

I'll probably get hauled off to the special prison Oracle keeps for people who toy with the limits of their NDA for this, but it's too cool to keep to myself.  I had the opportunity to work hands-on with an early semi-functional prototype of the in-development Student Cloud application for managing Higher Education continuing education students.  The part that's cool:  you can see great UX design throughout the application.  Very few clicks, even fewer icons, a search-based navigation architecture, and very, very simple business processes for very specific use cases.  I can't wait to see and hear reactions when this app rolls out to the Higher Education market.

More cool stuff next post...

Clarity In The Avalanche

Mon, 2014-10-06 10:04
So I've spent the days since Oracle OpenWorld 14 decompressing...puttering in the garden, BBQing for family, running errands.  The idea was to give my mind time to process all the things I saw and heard at OOW this year.  Big year - it was like trying to take a sip from a firehose.  Developing any clarity around the avalanche of news has been tough.

If you average out all of Oracle's new product development, it comes to a rate of one new product release every working day of the year.  And I think they saved up bunches for OOW. It was difficult to keep up.

It was also difficult to physically keep up with things at OOW, as Oracle utilized the concept of product centers and spread things out over even more of downtown San Francisco this year. For example, Cloud ERP products were centered in the Westin on Market Street.  Cloud HCM was located at the Palace Hotel.  Sales Cloud took over the 2nd floor of Moscone West.  Higher Education focused around the Marriott Marquis. Anything UX, as well as many other hands-on labs, happened at the InterContinental Hotel.  And, of course, JavaOne took place at the Hilton on Union Square along with the surrounding area.  The geographical separation required even more in the way of making tough choices about where to be and when to be there.

With all that, I think I've figured out a way to organize my own take on the highlights from OOW - with a tip o' the hat to Oracle's Thomas Kurian.  Thomas sees Oracle as based around five product lines:  engineered systems, database, middleware, packaged applications, and cloud services. The more I consider this framework, the more it makes sense to me.  So my plan is to organize the news from OOW around these five product lines over the next few posts here.  We'll see if we can't find some clarity in the avalanche.

Good UX - Don't Leave Home Without It

Tue, 2014-09-30 16:56
There was a time when I asserted that User Experience would be a differentiator for Oracle in selling Fusion Applications.  Lots has changed since then, so I think it’s time to change my own thinking.  What’s changed?

  • Oracle has a cloud platform
  • Fusion Applications is now Cloud Application Services
  • We’re seeing well-designed user experiences throughout Oracle’s offerings: Simplified UI in moving into the Applications Unlimited products, and is also evident throughout Oracle’s cloud services offerings.
  • Other enterprise application software companies now see the value of a well-designed user experience.  Look at the transition at Infor.  Check ADP’s announcement from earlier today.  Even the brand-W company that cannot be named recently released software that is a straight clone of Oracle’s Simplified UI.

OpenWorld has only reinforced my opinion.  Everyone here - Oracle product teams, Oracle partners, 3rd-party product providers - everyone is talking about and offering an enhanced UX.

So, I don’t consider good user experience design as a differentiator anymore.  I now see it as a necessity.  Enterprise software applications vendors must offer well-design UI to even have a seat at the table.

But what about custom-developed applications?  Good user experience still required.  You can’t expect user adoption without it.  In fact, I see the tools that facilitate good user experience design to be value-added products in and of themselves.

Good UX.  Don’t leave home without it.

Plea For Tight Messages - OOW14

Tue, 2014-09-30 14:02
It’s so easy to lose track of time at Oracle OpenWorld.  I think I’m writing this on Tuesday, but can’t say for sure…

Lots of information being shared here:  incremental development of Simplified UI, a myriad of new cloud services announced (including a very cool Integration Cloud Service), new features for MySQL, new mobile applications for the E-Business Suite, Eloqua services for Higher Education, a visualization-oriented UI for OBIEE (and saw a very cool new visualization UI from the UX team, but I can’t talk about that yet), some interesting uses of Beacons…it’s like drinking from a firehose and darn near drowning in the attempt.  Info overload.

One of the cool things one gets to see at OOW: the rise of new third-party applications that improve and enhance Oracle products..  On Monday, I had the opportunity to sit down with the brain trust behind Xprtly!  What impressed me the most is the focus of their message - they’ve got it down to four slides (including a title).  Take a look and see if you get it.

So why do I bring this up?  Go back and read the second paragraph.  We’re all on information overload here.  The virtual noise level is incredible.  Tight, focused messages cut through the noise and get the point across.  Wish we saw more of this approach here…

The Best Question So Far

Mon, 2014-09-29 11:58
So I was in a session here at OOW14 on “User Group Sunday” when one of the attendees asked what I consider to be the best question I’ve heard in a long, long time.

If the Oracle Cloud is so wonderful, why haven’t all of Oracle customers moved to it already?

Great, great question.   Goes straight to the heart of one of Oracle’s primary messages.  The answer played out as something close to what follows:

1.  The cloud - services model is still relatively immature within the Oracle ecosystem.  Some elements of Oracle’s pricing and execution in the services model are still being worked out.  And that will take some time, mostly because human beings typically don’t change behavior at the drop of a hat…regardless of where they work.  It’s still a work in progress, so many customers are taking a “wait and see” approach while things work themselves out.

2.  Services revenue, while growing, only constitutes about five percent of Oracle’s revenue at the moment.  Cloud services are still a relatively new thing in the Oracle  world.  Not every customer is ready to be on the leading edge, especially in light of their own corporate culture.

3.  It’s tough to move customizations to the cloud.  There’s no secret sauce to make it easy.  Some heavily-customized customers have many customization to reconsider before they’ll be ready to take advantage of cloud services.  The same could be said for data - many customers have significant data clean-up efforts required to be cloud-ready.  Again, there’s no secret sauce for this.

4.  Lack of control, sometime expressed as a concern over data security.  In a public cloud in particular, a customer’s servers are no longer under their control.  Ditto for data storage.  While that makes some customers nervous, I’d suggest those concerns be balanced by two thoughts:  A) Oracle is probably better at protecting your data than you are.  Protecting data is part of their core business.  Most Oracle customers do not generate revenue or profits by protecting data; B) Citing Oracle’s Thomas Kurian:  “most customers would rather use enterprise applications than run enterprise applications.”  Moving to the new model requires customers to let go of running the applications - for most customers, the economics alone make that a good thing.

It’s a funny thing.  Cloud services offer some pretty significant benefits: relief from the maintenance associated with running enterprise applications, the capability to be more agile in development, the flexibility to quickly scale up and down as computing requirements change.  Lots of benefits available in cloud application services.  What’s holding customers back from getting those benefits for themselves comes down to two overarching theme:  1) challenges in their own mindset or corporate culture; 2) the state of their data or architecture.  That seems to be it, unless I’m missing something.  And, if I am, you can tell me in the comments.

Oracle Cloud - Keeping Your Perspective

Sat, 2014-09-27 23:54
The fact that we live at the bottom of a deep gravity well, on the surface of a gas covered planet going around a nuclear fireball 90 million miles away and think this to be normal is obviously some indication of how skewed our perspective tends to be.”
             - Douglas Adams, The Salamander of Doubt: Hitchhiking The Galaxy One Last Time

Oracle OpenWorld kicks off tomorrow.  My thoughts are with all the folks struggling through the mess that is the U.S. transportation system right now.  That mess in Chicago has really rippled throughout the country.  Hope ya'all keep your perspective and that things work out to get everyone here without too much trouble.

Many of the messages coming from Oracle over the next few days will have to do with the Oracle Cloud.  Oracle has strategically committed to darn near everything as a service (service offerings being a subset of most cloud definitions, but pretty synonymous with "Oracle Cloud" at the moment).  With Oracle adding a new offering at the rate of one per working day (yeah, really), it's easy to get lost in it all.  It's tough to keep things in perspective.

So I've got a nifty chart I found to help ya'all keep it all straight (wish I could remember where I found it so I could give proper credit...but, alas, as you age the memory is the first thing to go).  This should be a pretty spiffy reference too help keep things in perspective during OpenWorld and even thereafter.  Here ya go...

Simple Solutions Do Not Equal Easy Builds

Sun, 2014-09-14 18:28
Am I the only one that often tries to make solutions far more difficult than needed?  My first approach to any challenge is likely the most complicated thing I could create.  For example, I was working on something with Oracle Apex last week.  Came up with what I thought was a nifty new feature and started building.  After the equivalent of several hundred lines of code, I had something that worked...just not as well as I hoped.

After sitting back and letting things percolate...with a bit of cussing and fussing...I wound up deleting everything I'd built for that nifty new feature.  Replaced it with about two minutes of work.  The replacement was probably the equivalent of 25 or 30 lines of code.  And now the feature worked exactly as I hoped.

Yeah, I'm pretty sure I could complicate a ball bearing if given the opportunity to go off and running with the first ideas that pop into my head.

My point in all this...simple solutions do not equal easy builds, at least when it comes to building solutions.  It takes brain power to refine ideas and initial concepts into simple, elegant solutions.

Full Disclosure

Thu, 2014-09-11 17:16
Over the next few weeks, I'll be sharing plenty of information relating to Oracle OpenWorld.  Mostly on this blog or via my Twitter account (@fteter).  As always, I try to share information in an accurate and a positive way.  I'm an Oracle fan, but I always try to balance that with accuracy and honesty.  In that spirit, it's important for me to make some disclosures about my attendance at OOW14.

I'm attending on "The King's Shilling".  Oracle generously covers travel costs for Oracle ACE Directors attending OOW and JavaOne, and I'm fortunate enough to be included in that community.  In addition, I've received a complimentary press pass to both OOW and JavaOne.  Yes, I am very appreciative - I freely admit that I'm a lucky guy in this regard.

Does Oracle's magnanimous funding of my OOW attendance buy them influence in regards to my opinions?  No.  And, so far as I can tell, Oracle has no expectations of influencing my opinions with their funding.  In fact, it's usually just the opposite - they've encouraged me to be honest in my opinions.  Frankly, I think they'd boot my big bottom out of the conference and ACE Director program if I were anything but honest in my opinions.

So I'll continue to be honest in sharing information relating to OOW14.  But, in the interests of transparency and fairness, I thought ya'all should be aware of the relationship.

Nobody Bunts With Two Strikes

Fri, 2014-09-05 13:14
Once upon a time, I coached a young women's fast pitch softball team.  Big adventure, as most of my coaching experience is with baseball, and I really enjoyed it.  One game, the opposing team's catcher was hitting with two outs and two strikes.  I shouted out to my team to stop covering the bunt - nobody bunts with two strikes (because a foul ball off a bunt attempt is strike three).  So my team's infield draw back.  Then the catcher bunts, laughing at me all as she jogs down to first base with a clean infield hit.  Yeah, I ate some serious humble pie.  And I learned to never bet on the past as an absolute limitation on possibilities for the present and future.

Today I know enterprise application developers who take the attitude that they've never had to worry about the user before, so why start now?  Hold that thought for a moment...

I've really enjoyed the unfolding story at Infor.  Their tag line is "Beautiful business software for your business processes."  Infor has baked the concept of beautiful design into their corporate culture, even so far as to invest in design firm Hook and Loop to drive design as a part of their corporate culture.  Infor actually considers design as a product and corporate differentiator.  Seems to be working for them.  $3B in annual revenue growing at a 40%+ clip is nothing to sneeze at.  And I suspect a bit of that success comes from the emphasis on User Experience design brought to Infor by CEO and Oracle alum Charles Phillips.

Oracle?  Yup.  The UX team at Oracle has proven that user experience design is a differentiating factor in the marketplace.  Simplified UI has played well with potential Fusion/Cloud customers.  So well, in fact, that the E-Business Suite is now adopting Simplified UI.  And the PeopleTools team seems to have enabled the adoption of many Simplified UI design patterns with the 8.54 release.  And that UX team continues to innovate with improved user experiences (which is much more than just UI) utilizing Fusion Middleware.

Oracle, Infor, Workday, SAP...they've all embraced the concept (admittedly, some more than others) that beautiful design sells while not-so-beautiful design is a competitive hinderance.

Now, let's consider that thought again.  "I've never had to worry about the user before, so why start now?"  Yeah, and nobody bunts with two strikes.

Thoughts? Opinions?  Find the comments.

OpenWorld - Absorb and Adapt

Thu, 2014-09-04 15:21
It's September.  Which means the marketing and sales nirvana that is Oracle OpenWorld is upon us.

OOW is a big person simply cannot take it all in.  You have to "pick your spots".

In the spirit of my previous blog post, my focus at OOW this year is on absorbing and adapting.  I'm up to my eyeballs in a new market with Higher Education, and I'm still learning about those customers.  So that's my overall filter going into OOW - soaking up the information relevant to Higher Ed.  Means I'll be spend quite a bit of time at the Marriott Marquis, as that's where the Higher Ed events are taking place.  I'm specifically checking for news and messaging on:
  • Oracle's upcoming Student Cloud and Higher Education Cloud offerings - especially news on the post-award Grants Management functionality under development for Oracle's Fusion Project Portfolio Management applications suite.
  • How Simplified UI will be applied to Student Cloud
  • Oracle Business Intelligence, especially Student Information Analytics
  • The future, if any, for Informatica and Oracle BI - because so many colleges and universities use Informatica with Oracle BI today
  • The upcoming release of Campus Solutions 9.2
  • Mobile, especially in regards to the future direction of Campus Solutions Mobile and Oracle's Mobile Applications Foundation
I'll likely do some digging into some favorite areas as well, such as the EBS tech stack and new developments with Oracle ADF.  Might even do some digging into the latest info on the Oracle BPM Suite if the opportunity arises.

What I learn at OOW will probably set my direction for research, presentations, etc. for the coming year...that's the "adapt" part.

Only one presentation for me this year.  So I'll put in a plug for it right now.  I'm sitting on a panel for:

General Session: Oracle’s Future in Higher Education (GEN7628)
Tuesday, Sep. 30, 10:15-11:45 AM – Marriott Marquis – Golden Gate C3

Swing by and introduce yourself if you get a chance, especially if you're a customer or have an interest in Higher Ed.

One last thing:  I'm always interested in how others manage their time at OOW.  So find the comments and let us know what you're hoping to gain from OOW this year.