Monday, 14 May 2018

Thinking About Oracle Cloud Applications Support

Last week Oracle announced a revision to their Cloud Applications Support . At first glance it looks great, anything that gives the customer more is welcome.

I haven't seen a lot of commentary on this but I like this from Denis Beagle from my friends at Diginomica oracle-announces-autonomous-services-media-day, he talks about it being paid for from the actual subscription costs. I totally agree with that statement but actually think Oracle is moving some of the role of implementation and customer success into support. This makes sense, when Oracle only had a few customers they could have named people in these roles but as the size and quantity of deals has grown the roles have been stretched. Smaller customers are now managed off shore and to move some of their remit into support is an obvious step.

More of interest to me is the paid for support. The company I work for has a post go live support offering for Oracle Applications and have found it very appealing for those to want to continue taking up the continuous innovation and have a consultant at the end of the phone.  This is especially important during upgrade times and the new move to quarterly updates will change the way customers look at their systems.I don't think Oracle is offering that but time will tell.

Thanks to Tim Warner Certus-Solutions

In fact I am currently on a tour of our customers talking about the key changes relevant to them in the last major, traditional upgrade to R13. Knowing their implementations we can filter out the changes we don't think are relevant to them and it makes it a much more focused conversation. But for all of them understanding the new regime takes a little getting used to. 

Finally in this look at support, I also read about an agreement between Rimini Street and Salesforce for their cloud applications . It was a big surprise but made me think, would we ever see one between Oracle or SAP and Rimini Street?

VBCS Goes Technical - but i still love it

Last weekend VBCS was upgraded and in this new version (18.2.3) it is so much more technical to look at.

I first saw this release at the PaaS Forum in March and was deflated, I loved that the product was so easy to use and felt that it did have a market in the system support teams as EBS customers moved to Cloud Applications.

The Product Management team were very helpful, at the PaaS Forum, John Ceccarelli gave me an in-depth demo of the product and whilst I absolutely see the value to developers I felt it was going to be too technical for the user base I was looking at.

John and Angelo Santagata  explained the changes were based on feedback from customers, and although I suspect they were talking to IT, I have to accept that.

I tried to get a beta version of the system that didn't work out until just a week before the upgrade, but as I am a paid user of VBCS I got the upgrade last weekend anyway.

My interest in VBCS is for extending the applications, although it wasn't ADF the technology the applications are written in, it did have an apps UI template, so was ideal for this use case. Oracle are now investing a lot in enhancing the applications user experience, the first of which can be seen in the current R13. This initiative which is ongoing is based on JET, the technology behind VBCS, so this is going to be an even better way to extend the applications.

A few weeks ago at Collaborate 18 I presented my low code version of VBCS twice to application users and cemented my view that there is a market here. When I got back from the Forum in March I also spoke to a local Business Development Manager in UK and I haven't changed my mind.

I took the opportunity at Collaborate to visit the demo grounds and the VBCS stand. I didn't get a chance to speak to Shay Shmeltzer but I would like to say, look at his blog, he has always had good training material and I see he has added some great back to basics concepts for people using the new VBCS. 

I did speak to Brian Fry, who finally got me the beta demo sorted and explained to me that this was the technology being adopted more and more by internal development. So long term this is the right answer.

Brian also told me the most important thing, that the no code isn't going away it has been rebranded 'classic' and I can still use it. There is no upgrade (as far as I can see) from classic to standard, so if you create an app using classic you need to use classic to amend it.

So the upgrade happened and I opened the app with a little trepidation.  There were some issues previously with upgrades but this time all was well. It opened in 'Visual' mode and there were no applications. 

However once I selected 'Classic' they were all there. This weekend I had a chance to test and amend them and happy to say, all is well. 

I am a member of the Vsual Builder Cloud Service "Design Advisory Board" and regularly take part in UX projects around this product. Thanks to the Oracle ACE Program I have great access to product management.

For developers the increased functionality in VBCS is excellent, but they haven't switched off the low code which I and some of my customers are interested in. I suspect the Visual side will grow and grow but that is OK, because as that maturity grows, so will the need to extend applications cloud and then it will be over to the developers.

If you want to have a go, try it with a cloud trial account. Try Oracle Cloud for Free

Wednesday, 2 May 2018

Sharing in Success - The Next Chapter in Certus

Mergers and Acquisitions are all the rage at the moment - Yesterday's Financial Times reported deals are now higher than before the 2007 crash.

On Monday amongst several high profile deals (Sprint, T Mobile ; Marathon Petroleum,  Andeavor : Sainsbury, Asda) you could be forgiven for missing the very exciting announcement: Certus is joining Accenture

This is all about the success of Certus and whilst the future looks great and full of opportunity for us all, I want to talk about why Certus were so attractive to Accenture.

The Certus story is about 2 people who believed that there was an opportunity to enter the Oracle Applications market when it was first announced Fusion would move to cloud and caused disruption for the existing partners. 

In turn Certus disrupted that market even further.  They surrounded themselves with like-minded experts to grow, and again at each stage of their success, they added another layer. 

They reached out to Oracle Development and spent many months, learning and proving their commitment. Then they used their learning to train people, becoming an Oracle Education partner. Customer projects followed and soon their first full Fusion implementation. They grew and grew.

There was no shortage of people wanting to join Certus, anyone who wanted to work with Cloud Applications knew Certus had real work.

Their reputation grew with their success and was recognised by customers, Oracle and other ecosystem. This week after the announcement I have had many congratulations for Certus - another great testament.

So proud to have been part of this success and to be part of the future. Accenture have bought a great team. 

Sunday, 29 April 2018

2018 Collaborate - Women and the ACE Program

My final post from Collaborate.

There was a WIT lunch and I really enjoyed it. My fellow #UGR Michelle introduced the speaker Heather Parks who I thought was very nervous. She had a great story to tell as a successful #WIT in Las Vegas and once she started to take questions all the nerves disappeared and she was much better.

She told a couple of jokes, one which I can't put in print! But the one I loved was 

'What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas... in a database to be used to get you to come back and spend more money'

Then there was a #WIT Panel which Michelle facilitated. What I loved was how positive it was, no moaning, just positive stories and advice on how to get on.

The ACE Program had their traditional reception on the Monday evening and it was great to see a new Woman Seems Satapathy in the ranks and a new female ACE Director, well done Michelle Kolbe. However this isn't about targets or quotas and I'm equally pleased to see the men succeed in the program as well.

Mia Urman created an impromptu #WIT breakfast which was quite a feat considering the restaurant wouldn't reserve a large table. In fact they were very unhelpful and Michelle and I almost missed out, but we joined them just in time for the photo.

It was a good conference and great too see so many women taking part.

2018 Collaborate - Feeling Good

I had a great time at Collaborate 18 even if it was in Las Vegas (not my favourite destination).

I had plenty of sessions to deliver and even had time to attend several. The best one was from an old colleague in Fujitsu who did a comparison of EBS and Cloud Finance.
It was great to spend time with old friend, make new friends and room with the other 2 thirds of #UGR.
One of those was who worked with me on a project in Belfast probably 8 or 9 years ago and is now living in the US.

I took the opportunity to get a new profile picture since I have recently stopped colouring my hair and need one that shows the grey. Thank you Quest for the opportunity.

It was also good to see this man back speaking. My great friend Floyd Teter.

I had more fun with the ACE Program and several #WIT events.

See you next year in Texas.

2018 Collaborate - Certus Presentatons

Certus had 5 sessions at Collaborate, with both Quest and OAUG.

My first presentation was on Chatbots with HCM Cloud. This isn't the concept of internal chatbots with HR Helpdesk, but using Oracle Mobile to create a chatbot. Thank you again to Grant and Rohit for all your help.

I had a good crowd for what was the first delegate session after the main keynote. Tim Warner, my boss was my assistant and thanks to the audience gave me a 100% pay rise to keep me after I threatened to resign via the instant app in the chatbot. Great fun.
Then there was something new, Turbo Talks. Here OAUG had small areas in the exhibition hall. They had cardboard seats and using a mobile app could tune into one of 4 simultaneous talks. Mine was on the different ways you can extend Cloud Applications, and the pros and cons of each. There were a couple of technical blips but it was great fun and I would certainly do it again.

The third presentation was Tim's - he talked about the new UX in HCM Cloud Release 13 and the new patching regime. We validate or test the releases in advance for development, and have done 3 upgrades internally. There are a lot of changes, R13 is a real big upgrade but them we move to quarterly updates. It is really difficult to get your head around it and I got back to our first quarterly upgrades and they weren't exactly as expected!!

Then I had one more presentation to give, my VBCS presentation, with my now 'legendary' live demo to create a new app, link it to a HCM API, integrate it into the HCM menu and then top it off with a mobile app. It was so popular I did it twice! This presentation is based on the original article I wrote for Oracle Scene.

My Mobile App

I had a great time presenting and hopefully all the attendees learnt something.

UGR - User Group Royalty

A irreverent look at life after Leadership.

Just a few weeks after my term ended on the UKOUG board I was at Collaborate in Las Vegas with two other past presidents, Michelle Malcher IOUG and Sue Shaw Quest

Conferences can be expensive and over the years I have taken to sharing accommodation whenever possible to cut down the costs, and this time the 3 of us shared a room. A lovely room. We got us a suite at a very good price at the Mandalay Bay and it was very nice, thank you.

It was so nice we referred to it as the 'Palace'. It was at the end of a very long corridor which we called the 'Royal Mile' and very soon we had called ourselves 'User Group Royalty'. I loved it, we have each worked very hard for our respective groups and are all still very involved.

We have each had the opportunity to meet many people over the years, been involved with international user group meetings (IOUC) and become very good friends. All three of us were speaking at the conference and Michelle (despite having said she would never write another one), had a new book to promote - DBA Transformations

Michelle and I kicked off the week with the Gospel brunch on Sunday at the House of Blues

So we worked hard, but we also had the chance to have fun. All 3 of us are in the ACE program, and joined Jennifer at the ACE reception on the Monday.

Tuesday we were back at the House of Blues to hear the Conference Room Pilots, a vendor band that were really good. And then Wednesday we went to the beach for the conference Party.

Thursday evening, Sue's husband Ian joined us and we went to the Tournament of Kings at the Excalibur and then before leaving on Friday, Michelle and I did the Shark Reef. 

Life is Good.