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Floyd Teter

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Watching the current trends and future direction of Oracle's Applicationsfteterhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/11221041028141787708noreply@blogger.comBlogger421125
Updated: 7 hours 21 min ago

Pareto Rocks!

Mon, 2016-02-01 17:55
I'm a big fan of Vifredo Pareto's work.  He observed the world around him and developed some very simple concepts to explain what he observed.  Pareto was ahead of his time.

Some of Dr. Pareto's work is based on the Pareto Principle:  the idea that 80% of effects come from 20% of causes.  In the real world, we continually see examples of the Pareto Principle.

I've been conducting one of my informal surveys lately...talking to lots of partners, customers and industry analysts about their experiences in implementing SaaS and the way it fits their business.  And I've found that, almost unanimously, the experience falls in line with the Pareto Principle.  Some sources vary the numbers a bit, but it generally plays out as follows:

  • Using the same SaaS footprint, 60% of any SaaS configuration is the same across all industries.  The configuration values and the data values may be different, but the overall scheme is the same.
  • Add another 20% for SaaS customers within the same vertical (healthcare, retail, higher education, public sector, etc.)..
  • Only about 20% of the configuration, business processes, and reporting/business intelligence is unique for the same SaaS footprint in the same industry sector between one customer and another.
Many of the customers I've spoken to in this context immediately place the qualifier: "but our business is different."  And they're right. In fact, for the sake of profitability and survival, their business must be different.  Every business needs differentiators.  But it's different within the scope of that 20% mentioned above.  That other 80% is common with everyone in their business sector.  And, when questioned, most customers agree with that idea.

This is what makes the business processes baked into SaaS so important; any business wants to burn their calories of effort on the differentiators rather than the processes that simply represent "the cost of being in business."  SaaS offers the opportunity to standardize the common 80%, allowing customers to focus their efforts on the unique 20%.  Pareto had it right.






Happy New Year: The Zode In The Road

Wed, 2016-01-06 10:31
Happy New Year!  No predictions from me for 2016...we've all seen how poorly that works out.  No resolutions either (although I may open a fitness gym called "Resolutions"...the place converts into a bar at the end of January).   Instead, I simply leave you with the wisdom of Dr. Seuss; something to consider as you kick off the new year.

The Zode In The Road 
Did I ever tell you about the young Zode,Who came to two signs at the fork in the road?One said to Place One, and the other, Place Two.So the Zode had to make up his mind what to do.Well...the Zode scratched his chin, and his head, and his pants.And he said to himself, "I'll be taking a chanceIf I go to Place One.  Now that place may be hot!And so how do I know if I'll like it or not?On the other hand though, I'll be sort of a foolIf I go to Place Two and I find it too cool.In that case I may catch a chill and turn blue!So, maybe Place One is the best, not Place Two,But then again, what if Place One is too high?I may catch a terrible earache and die.So Place Two may be best.  On the other hand though...What might happen to me if Place Two is too low?I might get some very strange pain in my toe!So Place One may be best", and he started to go.Then he stopped, and he said, "On the other hand though... .On the other hand... On the other hand... On the other hand though...And for 36 hours and one half that poor ZodeMade starts and stops at the fork in the roadSaying "Don't take a chance! No! You may not be right."Then he got an idea that was wonderfully bright!"Play safe!" cried the Zode. "I'll play safe, I'm no dunce!I'll simply start out for both places at once!"And that's how the Zode who would not take a chanceGot no place at all with a split in his pants.
So make this the year you take a few chances...

More On Wearable Tech

Mon, 2015-12-14 14:04
I've been going through an amazing experience over the past month plus...purchased and began wearing an Apple iWatch.  Never really thought I would do so...kind of did it on the spur of the moment.  Plus a little push from my team lead at Oracle, who wears one and loves it.

Even after a month of wearing the iWatch, I can't really point at one particular feature that makes it worthwhile.  It's really more a collection of little things that add up to big value.

One example:  I have a reputation far and wide for being late for meetings (could be a Freudian thing, considering how much I detest meetings).  5 minutes before a meeting begins, my iWatch starts to vibrate on my wrist like a nano-jackhammer.  My punctuality for meetings is much improved now, much to the joy of my managers, peers and customers.

Another example:  I can take a phone call wherever I am, distraction free.  That's right, calling Dick Tracy.  Driving, taking a walk, whatever...we can talk now.

Notifications are wonderfully designed...much better than the iPhone or the iPad or the Mac or whatever.  I've actually turned on Notifications again, because they notify without being intrusive or distracting.

A few other dandies as well, like the idea of getting through the security line with the iWatch is a bit quicker than the iPhone or the much-improved implementation of Siri making voice-dictation for texting something I can now user reliably.

So its improved my productivity... not so much by hitting a home run in any particular area, but through lots of incremental little improvements.  Pretty cool wearable tech.

The Times They Are A-Changin'

Mon, 2015-11-23 19:36
Come gather 'round people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You'll be drenched to the bone
If your time to you
Is worth savin'
Then you better start swimmin'
Or you'll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin'.

                     -- From Bob Dylan's "The Times They Are A-Changin'"


Spent some time with more really smart folks at Oracle last week.  Yeah, this people are really smart...I'm still wondering how they let me in the door.

During that time, I probably had three separate conversations with different people on how SaaS changes the consulting model.  Frankly, implementation is no longer a big money maker in the SaaS game.  The combination of reducing the technology overhead, reducing customizations, and a sharp focus on customer success is killing the IT consulting goose that lays the golden eggs:  application implementation.  You can see indications of it just in the average cycle times between subscription and go-live:  they're down to about 4.5 months and still on a down trend.  Bringing SaaS customers up in less than 30 days is something Oracle can see on the near horizon.  Unfortunately, as the cycle times for SaaS implementations shortens, it gets more difficult for an implementation partner to generate significant revenues and margins.  The entire model is built around 12-t0-24 month implementations - SaaS make those time frames a thing of the past.

So, if I were a SaaS implementation partner today, what would I do?  Frankly, I'd be switching to a relationship - retainer approach with my customers (not my idea...all those smart people I mentioned suggested it).  I'd dedicate teams that would implement SaaS, extend SaaS functionality, test new upgrades prior to rollout, and maintain your SaaS apps.  I'd build a relationship with those customers rather than simply attempt to sell implementation services.  The value to customers?  Your workforce focuses on the business rather than the software.  You need new reports or business intelligence?  Covered in our agreement.  Test this new release before we upgrade our production instance?  Covered in our agreement.  Some new fields on a user page or an add-on business process?  Covered in our agreement.  Something not working?  Let my team deal with Oracle Support...covered in our agreement.

Other ideas?  The comments await.

The times they are a-changin'...quickly.  Better start swimmin'.


Be Quick, But Don't Hurry

Tue, 2015-11-17 11:38
Over the month since I've joined Oracle, many people has asked about the work I'm doing here.  And, in all honesty, the work is so varied that I've had a difficult time describing it.

Yesterday, I was traveling from my home in Salt Lake to Oracle Corporate HQ in Redwood Shores.  Having landed in San Francisco, I was in a rush to get my rental car, make the drive to HQ, and get some productivity out of what was left of my day.

In San Francisco, you take a light rail to get from the airline terminals to the rental car building.  The rail lines run every 10 minutes.  As I was approaching the platform to pick up the light rail, one of those every-10-minute trains was just pulling into the station.  So I hefted my two carry-on bags and started a mad dash to the train.  And about four steps into that mad dash, I tripped and fell...luggaging flying, me on the ground, cussing up a storm.  Know why I tripped?  For the classic reason...my shoe lace was untied.

I was in such a hurry that I failed to check my shoelaces anywhere between leaving the plane and my failed attempt at breaking the Earth's gravitational pull.

My favorite basketball coach of all time, John Wooden, has a coach principle of "be quick, but don't hurry".  The idea was to have an efficient system and work with a sense of urgency within that system.  That's being quick.  When you step out of the boundaries to get something done as soon as possible, you're in a hurry...but at the risk of no longer being quick.  Your shoelaces come untied, you trip, and the mistake causes you to miss the light rail altogether.  You invest more time in waiting for the next opportunity...mission bjorked.

So one of the primary things I'm doing at Oracle?  Working on enabling those around me to be quick while discouraging them from being in a hurry.  That's a big chunk of what a good Center of Excellence does.

The SaaS Race

Mon, 2015-11-09 13:12
So I've been back at Oracle for about a month now.  I'd say the biggest change so far is my perspective on trends in SaaS and Cloud.  Prior to gaining that perspective from the inside, I really did not have a full appreciation for just how early in the game we are.  Not just Oracle, but everybody.

During my undergrad days, when remote learning was done with smoke signals (no Internet yet), I remember learning about Bruce Henderson's Growth-Share Matrix:

Cash Cows have high market share in a low growth industry.  Dogs have low market share in a slow-growth, mature industry.  Question Marks have low market share in a fast growing industry (this is where most companies start).  And Stars have high market share in a fast growing industry.

So apply those definitions in the SaaS market.  The market itself is fast-growing, so by definition we don't have any Cash Cows or Dogs.  But I'd also say that we don't have any SaaS providers with high market share yet...it's a pretty competitive market at the moment in terms of market share.  So, by process of elimination, all the providers are still Question Marks - relatively recent entries in a fast growing market, but none of those entries have achieved a dominant market share yet...mostly because the market itself is still now.

With that in mind, I read a lot of hooey in the press:  so-and-so will dominate/collapse/rise/die/excel/be eliminated...whatever the latest news cycle dictates.  Take all that stuff with a grain of salt...we're very, very early in what promises to be a very long race for market share with many players who have the resources to see the race through to the end.  We're just getting started.

Limitations

Wed, 2015-10-28 08:34
I've noticed a trend lately.  In working with various organizations in the early stages of evaluating SaaS, I'm hearing vigorous defense of limitations. "We can't go to the cloud because our business is so unique."  "We can't consider cloud because our data is too complex to migrate." "We can't entrust our data to a 3rd party."  While there are plenty of additional reasons, I'm sure you've noticed the two important words forming the trend:  "We can't".

One of my favorite authors is Richard Bach.  Yeah, the guy who wrote "Johnathan Livingston Seagull", "Illusions", and "Travels with Puff".  More evidence that I'm an old hippie at heart.  Bach deals with the metaphysical and the spiritual.  It can be some rather deep and mind-bending stuff.  But he also throws out some pearls that stick with the reader.  One of his pearls that stuck with me: "Argue for your limitations and, sure enough, they're yours."  Meaning that those who vigorously defend their limitations rarely move forward in significant ways.  It's the opposing force to innovation, disruption and improvement.

If you're part of an organization considering a move to SaaS, the strategic factors to weigh involve elements like building value through improving the balance sheet and/or lowering operational costs; increasing product or service share and/or quality; increasing agility through reductions in business process or development cycle times.  In other words, "better faster cheaper".  If SaaS delivers for you in those areas, then the limitations simply become challenge to be dealt with on the road to achieving the value offered by SaaS.

"Argue for your limitation and, sure enough, they're yours."  When you begin to hear those two words, "We can't", that's exactly what you're doing.  Don't do it.  Step back and change your perspective.