Linda Fishman Hoyle
A Guest Post by Vice President Jeff Caldwell, Oracle Applications Development
We want to help you prepare for Release 8 of Oracle Applications Cloud with a Release 8 Readiness page.
This upcoming release includes more than 400 new, modern business-empowering features, which you can learn about in the following preview content:
Spotlights: These webcasts, delivered by Oracle Development, spotlight top-level messages and product themes. They are reinforced with product demos.
Release Content Documents (RCDs): These summary descriptions provide details on each new feature and product.
What's New: These are expanded discussions of each new feature and product; you'll find capability overviews, business benefits, setup considerations, usage tips, and more.
Check the Release 8 Readiness page, often, as new training material and spotlights will be added over the coming weeks. You can also access the content at https://cloud.oracle.com/ under the Resources menu.
The second annual Oracle Value Chain Summit held in San Jose, CA, concluded earlier this month, and by all accounts, it was a resounding success.
We welcomed more than 2,100 customers, partners and industry analysts from 27 different countries to the event this year. In fact, customer attendance was nearly 60 percent higher than the previous year, a clear testament to Oracle’s growing momentum in the supply chain industry. From the beginning to the end, there was a palpable energy amongst the crowds in sessions, demo areas and networking receptions.
Business users chose from more than 200 sessions from different supply chain tracks, including, 150+ customer speaking sessions, as well as keynotes that featured Oracle President Mark Hurd and best-selling author Geoffrey Moore.
Mark’s keynote covered a lot of interesting points as he explained how the combination of globalization, the explosion of data, mobility and more demanding customers has made the supply chain more complex than ever. Organizations are balancing the need to control costs while meeting customer demands; and as Mark highlighted, consumers are now more sophisticated. A missed delivery date can result in not only loss of sale, but now thanks to social, a reputation nightmare. A staggering 26 percent of customers will post negative feedback about products online.
Along similar lines, I presented the idea of the customer-centric supply chain and planning. In a time where it has become even harder for organizations to differentiate themselves, organizations can no longer focus on just ensuring inventory is there when customers need it, but also the need to optimize the overall customer experience in order to stand out in the crowd.
This is just a slice of what we talked about at the event. Presentations and collateral from the Oracle Value Chain Summit are now available for download at: http://oracle.ovcs2014.virtualcollateral.com. Use the password: ovcs2014
If you missed the event and are eager to hear how Oracle is keeping the supply chain moving at the speed of business, you can always catch the European Value Chain Summit taking place March 18 & 19 in Amsterdam. Otherwise, stay tuned for details about next year’s Oracle Value Chain Summit.
Oracle's CEO Larry Ellison (pictured left) delighted the audience at CloudWorld in San Francisco with an unexpected appearance ─ and left the audience with some quotable gems in his presentation on How HR leaders are Embracing the Cloud.
“The two most important apps in a modern enterprise are HCM and CX — taking care of employees who take care of customers.”
Ellison said it was important for him to talk about HCM at San Francisco CloudWorld to “demonstrate Oracle's approach to HCM and how different it is from Workday. Workday doesn’t have social built in. Oracle HCM Cloud shows a modern paradigm. Everyone uses it in an organization. It manages a company’s most precious asset: its people.”
In response to a question from the audience about competitors, Ellison said, “it must be SAP because they’re the biggest in the world. Ten years ago we started [writing modern applications]. SAP hasn’t started yet. It bought Talent Management and a procurement company and probably more, but 99 percent of the business is ERP and they haven’t started. So we can’t think of them as a competitor. There are cloud competitors ─ the new generation companies, like Salesforce, but we sell a complete suite.”
Ellison had a detailed reply for the person from the audience who asked if Oracle was late to the cloud. ”I think I started the first cloud company (NetSuite), so how could Oracle be late to the cloud?” he asked. He went on to explain that shortly after NetSuite, Oracle started Fusion to rebuild all apps for the cloud. It sells application suites to big organizations like General Electric and Bank of America ─ and building apps for that marketplace is a big job. Development is, by and large, finished (though we’re never really done). It took almost 9.5 years. So Oracle comes to the cloud with a suite, but it’s not just the apps layer; it’s the database and middleware too, because Oracle is a platform and infrastructure supplier in the cloud. He ended by saying, “You can say we’re late, but it’s not because we started late. It was just an enormous task.”
On Oracle selling to smaller companies, Ellison says, “the great thing about cloud is you implement faster and it costs less. So all at once our products are applicable to smaller companies. We have lots more market to pursue. We’re seeing companies that wouldn’t have considered Oracle 10 yrs ago using Oracle today.”
You can get more details about Ellison's presentation in this article from Forbes.
People listen to EVP Steve Miranda from Oracle Applications Development (pictured left) because he’s a credible thought leader. He says things that are worth repeating. Here are some nuggets from his keynote at Oracle CloudWorld in San Francisco.
Miranda says we too often talk about the cloud in technical terms; instead, we should talk about the cloud in business benefits.
- A quick go live means lower costs and faster returns
- Easy and frequent upgrades give access to more innovation
- Safe data and access to it leads to trusted and secure operations
- Employees expect an experience
- Managers need immediate info pushed to them
- Customers demand performance and want to interact with a modern technology
Moving to the cloud delivers all that and more.
What do cloud customers want? Miranda says they want great functionality, be it CRM, HCM, ERP, or SCM. They want a brilliant user experience. And they want immediate value.
What are cloud customers not willing to wait for? They can’t wait for corporate IT requirements. They can’t wait for long implementations. They can’t wait for upgrades. And they can’t wait for each other, meaning they are discovering that sharing information in silos and across LOBs is difficult.
Oracle built a suite of applications and then supplemented it with key acquisitions. Miranda uses three words to describe it: personalized (tens of thousands of customers told us what they need as we built these apps), connected (we believe every app should have a social aspect), and secure (we don’t commingle customer data, we offer data residency, and all centers are operated by Oracle).
Oracle has a modern cloud for modern business. It’s worth checking out.
In an interview with David Essex from Search Financials Applications, Begbie shares the challenges he faced at Standard Life plc, a Scottish insurance and investment company, founded in 1825.
There were large divisions on several continents.
The company had 15,000 employees who were set in their ways.
It was not a customer-driven organization.
Begbie tackled the transformation by cutting a few thousand people from the payroll and gave the leaner workforce modern tools to align career development with new business objectives.
He took the company live on Oracle Talent Management Cloud (Fusion).
Begbie says, “the automation enabled by the Oracle system has allowed Standard Life to reform its entire talent management process.”
Now they have standardized job descriptions.
Now it’s easier to change goals and track progress.
Now there’s greater visibility into the performance-review process.
“It makes managers more accountable and shows employees how their performance is taken into account,” Begbie said.
In March, Begbie will oversee the switch to more cloud-based Taleo Management solutions from Oracle, specifically Taleo Recruit and Taleo Learn, because, he says, “we do believe Taleo Recruit is the best recruitment system in the marketplace.”
We recommend you take the time to read the entire interview. It’s a wonderful composite of a savvy leader using Oracle solutions to transform an organization. It is also a perfect lead in to Oracle HCM World in Las Vegas, February 4-6.
A Guest Post by Rick Jewell, Senior Vice President of Applications Development, Oracle (pictured left)
With Oracle Value Chain Summit right around the corner, I’m getting excited thinking about all the great things this supply chain event offers. So I wanted to take some time to highlight why you won’t want to miss this annual event:
1. Exciting presenters! Not only will Oracle President Mark Hurd and best-selling author Geoffrey Moore be speaking, but attendees will also hear from featured Gartner analyst Jane Barrett and senior executives from customers, including Sonic Drive-In’s Jim Lebs and GE Appliances’ Kevin Uhls, on how they are making their supply chains modern value chains.
2. Great content. With more than 200 sessions, the Oracle Value Chain Summit will cover virtually every aspect of the value chain, including Product Value Chain (PLM), Procurement, Maintenance, Manufacturing, Value Chain Execution and Value Chain Planning.
3. New topics! This year, the Cross Value Chain Solution Area will feature business best practices, and sessions on new technologies and trends that cover issues across the entire value chain, including value chain topics related to Oracle E-Business Suite.
4. See it in action! Best-in-class technology will be on display so you can learn how to deliver operational excellence, manage risk, streamline your production cycle, increase customer satisfaction and drive profit.
5. Hands-on experience. Develop value chain strategies by testing your ideas and getting invaluable advice from the experts in several of the intensive hands-on workshops.
6. Innovation in the supply chain. Learn how to leverage the latest technologies, including, mobile, cloud and advanced analytics, to build an information-driven value chain.
7. Fun! Come and network with the brightest professionals in the supply chain industry.
What are you waiting for? If you’re looking for an effective way to build your team’s knowledge, enhance your professional network and find a little excitement, register today and we’ll see you February 3-5 in San Jose.
A Guest Post by Jeb Dasteel, Senior Vice President and Chief Customer Officer, Oracle (pictured left)
Focusing on the customer experience is one of the wisest investments a company can make. A 2012 report by Temkin Group found that even modest improvements in the customer experience can yield hundreds of millions in additional revenue each year. More important is the direct and strong correlation between the customer experience and loyalty—including the gold standard: willingness to recommend a company to others.
At Oracle, we’ve taken this research to heart as we maintain our focus on optimizing the customer experience across multiple interactions, touch points and channels throughout the relationship lifecycle. Our programs are built on the tripod of listening, responding, and collaborating.
Last week we were honored to have been named as one of five Temkin Group 2013 Customer Experience Excellence Award (CxE) winners, alongside renowned global brands AIG Asia Pacific, Cisco, Intuit and EMC. Temkin also named six finalist—Adobe, Cox Communications, Findel Education Resources, Fiserv, Rackspace and UMB Bank. The annual awards are based on efforts to transform the customer experience, improve business and customer results and the sustainability of all those efforts.
Oracle received recognition for our efforts to develop a comprehensive understanding of our customers’ interactions and experiences with us. Intuit, renowned for its solutions that simplify business management and payroll processing, personal finance, tax preparation and filing, has focused on continually improving its processes, services and support to anticipate customer needs. Temkin applauded Cisco’s Ease of Doing Business (EoDB) philosophy that inspires innovative solutions that simplify complex communication, networking and collaboration issues for organizations. Global insurance provider AIG Asia Pacific is in the midst of an expansive service culture transformation. It is focusing on turning its team into enthusiastic customer experience promoters. Data storage provider EMC is working to fine tune its data-driven approach to improving customer and partner experience.
CX is a continuous journey at Oracle. We have significantly increased customer satisfaction across the customer lifecycle, where we’ve seen a three-year positive trend in customer loyalty index and likely-to-recommend metrics. During the same period, we’ve resolved issues identified through our ongoing customer surveys three times faster. We also have more than 7,300 active and involved customers on our product advisory boards and executive strategy councils, and have seen a 7 percent increase in customer references over the last two years.
The investments we make in our customer programs are significant and the results are making a difference. We know that if we invest in very specific programs and in the different ways we engage with the customer, we see measurable increases in satisfaction. The entire effort absolutely pays for itself and is becoming a core tenet of our culture.
We are honored that Temkin Group has recognized Oracle for our efforts and included us in this group of global leaders, and we extend our congratulations to all of this year’s Temkin CxE winners and finalists.
Temkin, Bruce. “Temkin Group Insight Report: The ROI of Customer Experience,” March 2012.
A Guest Post by Esteban Kolsky, industry influencer (pictured left)
For the final post of this four-part series, we undertake the most interesting (and maybe the most confusing) topic of the entire project.
To refresh your memory, we are exploring what it means to implement a customer experience initiative at your organization. We started by discussing who owns the customer experience,followed by a discussion of the people considerations surrounding an implementation, and then the process demands of doing so. We are now going to discuss the technology requirements necessary to adopt a customer experience initiative.
Remember, this series is all about asking key questions about each topic and using the answers to generate a framework to help adopt the initiative or project to deploy customer experience. Thus, here are the four questions related to technology.
First, is technology necessary?
This is the first question you should always, always ask yourself when undertaking a transformation project in your organization. We tend to assume that all these projects depend on technology. After all, most vendors describe wonderful benefits of using technology, and most projects we read or hear about rely on technology. Surely it is necessary, in some form. The answer is not that simple.
There are many parts of changing the customer experience that are not dependent, reliant, or that even need, technology. Some of the experiences your customers expect are not based on more or better technology, but in changing the training plan, or changing a location, or even changing a manual process. There are overlaps between this question (is technology necessary?) and those asked in past posts, so make sure you understand all implications and ramifications of the answers.
Action Items: Undertake an inventory of the critical aspects of your initiative and identify processes that don’t require technology – and put them at the top of the list.
Second, is technology the answer?
In certain situations, technology might be just what you need. You can change your processes and improve the training (as covered in previous posts), but is yours a case where technology is the only answer? Technology can speed up existing processes and outcomes; this acceleration by itself (meaning, nothing else changes) can shine a light on previously non-performing processes that are inefficient. So the addition of technology can be a temporary, short-term solution to getting bogged down processes moving.
Action Item: Identify whether simply adding technology can provide an answer to the imminent problem, and if not, relegate technology to a necessary evil and plan appropriately.
Third, do you need to worry about technology?
At this point, you might be thinking that you can deploy customer experience initiatives without technology. Or, if embracing a better experience is more about changing processes and culture, it will be simple to find and implement the needed technology. Alas, that is the wrong attitude.
Anyone considering a customer experience initiative definitely must be concerned about technology. And that includes the technology that is currently being used, as well as the potentially new technology introduced in the project. As delineated in the previous questions, technology might be part of the answer and thus will need to adapt to the existing problem and the potential solution. This adaptation and the ancillary work to do it could be pivotal for the project; therefore, you should know and understand what technology can do (and has done) for your situation and how to tap into it.
Action Item: identify the technologies that are being used and understand their worry points and addressable solutions.
Fourth, what can technology do for customer experience?
Technology can provide immense value to the well-implemented customer experience initiative. Online surveys and communities, powered by technology, are essential. Analyzing the responses from those tools and deducing insights is done via analytics – another technology. Deploying multi-channel solutions requires channel management and integration tools – more technology. Changing, documenting, and maintaining processes are usually done with technology. The point is that technology is an aid in virtually all actions undertaken for customer experience projects. It is an ancillary item that improves the odds and outcomes of the solution, but is never the solution. That is what technology can do for customer experience.
Action Item: Determine the role technology will play in any customer experience initiative and plan the best way to adopt it as a tool to solve a problem, not as the solution.
We have arrived at the end of this project. We described the people, process, and technology aspects of adopting a customer experience initiative. We answered the question of who should own customer experience projects. And we set up the basic elements to create a framework in all instances of these projects to better plan and adopt long-term successful initiatives.
We successfully accomplished what we set out to do-–create a list of questions that will allow organizations to plan and adopt better customer experience initiatives.
While I am sure there are questions that may be asked differently or items I may have missed, I am pretty confident that using the questions exposed in this series will help you implement a better customer experience project.
What has your experience been in these issues? Something else you can add?
Note: You can respond via my blog or scroll down and leave a reply.
A Guest Post by Oracle Senior Director Dan Vardell (pictured left)
In today’s connected world, people expect easy-to-use applications that
require no training. Gone are the days when a sales rep would spend two
weeks in class to become certified on their sales automation system.
Now, users must be able to download an app and be up and running in
Oracle takes this principle to heart in our base design objective for Oracle Sales Cloud: Build an app for sales reps and managers that is intuitive and inviting. In the latest Oracle Applications Release 7, Oracle Sales Cloud delivers on this goal with an app that is truly easy-to-use, available anywhere, at anytime and on any device – whether desktop, smartphone, or tablet.
For the Desktop
With R7, Oracle Sales Cloud delivers a new, powerful, yet simple desktop user interface for sales reps. The key sales tools for leads, opportunities, accounts, contacts, scheduling, and collaboration can all be accessed directly from the homepage. All the market-leading functionality – Customer Data Management, CX Cloud integrations, Territory Management, Sales Analytics – is available right at your fingertips. Without needing any documentation or training, sales reps can dive right in and begin managing their day.
For the SmartPhone and Tablet
Also new in R7 is a unified mobile app that improves sales team’s productivity when out of the office. Managing daily sales calls, retrieving customer information, logging interactions, and submitting forecasts are all now available in one native application on both smartphones and tablets. And like the rest of Oracle Sales Cloud, the new mobile app is easy to use, requiring nothing more to be productive than visiting your app store and downloading the app. iOS, Android, and Blackberry are all supported.
Try It Out!
Go to the app store today and download ‘Oracle Sales Cloud Mobile’ and try it out. If you are already an Oracle Sales Cloud customer, you can connect directly to your existing instance. For those of you not yet using the service, there is a demo mode available right from the home screen.
For those sales reps who prefer, Oracle Sales Cloud can also be accessed from Microsoft OutlookTM. Users can update contacts, appointments, leads and opportunities, all from within the email application sales reps use more than any other. Integration with Microsoft OutlookTM is included in the base service – no additional fee required.
Get Started Today
These simple options for using R7 are receiving praise from partners, analysts and customers alike. No competitor can deliver the broad set of services, deep feature sets, and multi-platform support Oracle Sales Cloud can. By keeping the principle of simplicity in mind, Oracle Sales Cloud has become not only the most powerful sales automation tool, but also the easiest to use – in the office, on the road, or anywhere in between. Oracle Sales Cloud helps sales reps and managers quickly and easily become productive and get back to selling more!
A Guest Post by Esteban Kolsky, industry influencer (pictured left)The great experiment continues. We are exploring and establishing the right questions to ask when undertaking a customer experience initiative.
So far we have discussed who owns the customer experience and the cultural (people) aspects of deploying a customer experience initiative. In this third post I’m going to talk about processes. (This sponsored research investigation into customer experience is brought to you via my good friends at Oracle.)
The format of this exercise is to pose four questions around the topics of people, process, and technology and explore the implications of each question. The questions, and more importantly your answers, should give you sufficient information to launch your customer experience initiative—or at least to build a framework towards it.
First, are your processes well documented?
I have very interesting discussions with clients when I ask this question. Of course, the initial answer is always yes—followed by something like “we spent x amount of time doing a BPO project and it is all documented.” My follow up question is always—are your processes updated? Most organizations fail to implement some sort of technology or workflow that will allow them to continuously update the documentation (or in some cases, even find the documentation after the initial project). Any minor change—a compliance requirement, a change in organization hierarchies, a departure of a staff member in some cases—can change the process. Even if the changes are slight, they can accumulate over time and translate into large changes.
Action Items: 1) Ensure that documentation exists and can be easily found, 2) Keep the documentation updated, and 3) Make sure the process changes you make can be introduced into the existing documentation.
Second, do you have flexible processes?
Most everyone believes their processes are flexible. After all, nearly all processes have been modified numerous times since their inception—and that clearly denotes their flexibility—right? Yes, to a certain extent. However, a large number of processes are inflexible because of their dependency with a specific person, channel, location, or even a system or solution (called external dependencies). This is not about dependencies between processes (I cover that below). This is about processes that have external dependencies and no inter-process dependencies. In reality, not having interaction with other processes is what makes a process less flexible, because some of the work and information is likely (or at least possibly) going to be repeated across different processes. Therefore, having rigid processes that cannot be replaced or integrated with new processes can create major problems.
Action Item: First, understand the dependencies between processes and external factors, such as people, solutions, and technologies—anything that is not a process. Second, find a way to replace the dependency with one that is more sensible. Then the process can be flexible enough to be extended or modified.
Third, do you understand the dependencies between processes?
There is no process that exists by itself, independent of anything else. As a matter of fact, the entire concept of creating and building processes exists because of their interdependencies—to ensure that the actions executed by those processes are leveraged in one part of the organization and then generate a result in another part of the organization. The question to ask is: are the dependencies between processes well documented so if (more likely, when) you make a change to a process, you know what other processes are affected and can quickly implement necessary changes?
Action Item: Ensure the interdependencies between projects are documented and that the documentation processes can accommodate new and different relationships between them.
Fourth, do you have processes for changing processes?
This might seem like a redundant question to ask; however, it is actually one of the most important aspects of changing processes—and all due to a single reason. When you change a process once, you will need to change it again. The benefits from a single change compound over time as more changes are made (from single adjustments to entire end-to-end reengineering). This is why you need to make sure you have a process in place to make the changes: nothing is once-and-done when it comes to processes. Furthermore, changes done for the purpose of customer experience are always going to have a shorter life than any other change, mainly because the customers’ needs and wants will change constantly. Other variables, such as channels, resolutions, or compliance, also will change, and there is going to be a need to revamp them often.
Action Item: If you don’t have a process for changing processes, that should be your first stop in the adoption of customer experience.
These are the basic questions you will need to ask yourself to undertake the process changes necessary to adopt a customer experience initiative. Of course, the project becomes more complex when you weave these answers with your answers from the previous post (changes in culture to deliver better customer experiences). And that needs to be done before you undertake the final set of questions (coming in the next post) on technology use for customer experience.
Until then, I would love to hear from you. Are these questions representative of the changes in process that you have experienced when undertaking a customer experience initiative? Is your experience different? What am I missing?
Note: You can respond via my blog or scroll down and post a comment.