Saturday, 18 March 2017

Cloud, Twelve and the Oracle Office of Confusion

At the end of January I explained why I am forced to use the 'F' word again. The confusion between Cloud Apps or Cloud on Apps is growing. I recently heard about a senior person who though EBS on Cloud was Fusion!

Currently I am validating Release 12 before it it i available for standard upgrades next month. If I say that in my office everyone knows what I mean. Release 12 of the SaaS, Cloud or Fusion Applications.

But I also listened to a webcast on Friday evening with Oracle Development which was about a new Cloud service bundle for mid-size customers  with bundles for fusion-based CX, ERP and HCM, that introduces multi tenancy for the first time. This is huge news for Oracle as it drives the price down even more as customers can share an application but unlike other vendors they are not sharing any data or even the database utilising the private database containers introduced in Release 12 - of the database.

And in the spirit of confusion, I nearly missed the webcast because the US have adopted daylights savings already and our clocks don't change until the end of March!

Fusion Middleware, not to be confused with Fusion apps is also at release 12 and can you guess what version E Business Suite customers are on?

So please don't just say Release 12, or Cloud, stop, think and articulate carefully and then ensure the person you are talking to has the same understanding as you.

Don't worry it will get better and then it will be as clear as mud.

OUGN 17 - I love this boat

This year the Norwegian user group had their 10th annual conference aboard the ColorLine cruise ship. For me it was my fifth, 2010, 2014, 2015, 2016 and now 2017.

On my first cruise with OUGN they had about 250 delegates but this grows every year and what I really love is they have a good, solid applications interest. I don't often go to the same user groups every year but OUGN is one I like to. The sessions give them the opportunity to ask questions, and as we can't run away there is a lot of networking and conversations about projects.

This year I missed the speakers dinner as I was hosting the UKOUG Applications Cloud Event in London, and as it was still had to leave that early. However Martin Widlake had recommended an amazing boutique hotel in Oslo and we all met up for breakfast before walking down to the boat.

 One of the exhibitors EBS Consulting are now embarking on their own Cloud Applications journey and it was interesting to hear their thoughts and we discussed based on the experience of projects I have been involved in, different ways to approach. They have been listening to me with interest for a number of years and now wanted back presentations. I hope that is true of all users, it may not be relevant to you today, but if you listen and keep abreast of the changes, if you later need to be involved you will be much better prepared.

The exhibition on the boat is held on a car deck, and there is a great buzz. I spent a lot of time talking to Oracle about the number adoption of Cloud in the Nordics and just loved this T shirt one of them had had made. Think I should get a few for his colleagues in the UK. 
As ever their was a great number of ACEs on this very popular event, and it is always good to catch up with them and the hospitality of the Norwegians is faultless.
My favourite things outside the sessions, is the chance of a currywurst in Keil and the ever stunning sunset as we make our way under the Great Belt Bridge on the way home. 

photo thanks to Arturo Viveros
Then all too soon we were back in Oslo and saying goodbye to everyone. I did go walking around the Town with Sai and Simon Haslam as we were all on the same flight home. Hope to be back soon.

Applications Journey to the Cloud - 8th March 2017

This was an event so long in the making. I did blog in the run up about why we needed this event. It was meant to happen last July but just before the event a different kind of cloud failed us. Flash rain storms caused chaos in London and flooded the venue, we had to postpone.

However in those 8 months the increasing interest in moving from Oracle on-premise Applications to their SaaS offerings has gained momentum and the event was over subscribed.

I got to open the event, and was very proud of what we have put together. Andy Campbell shared some insights into Cloud Life especially in the UK, in his opening keynote and then we moved into the parallel sessions. The idea was that we covered the 3 pillars of CX, HCM & ERP plus some of the tech that supports that.

The importance of this event was about the 'How' do you move? I had two presentations, one on PaaS4SaaS extending the applications, and then about how to approach the project. This was really interesting as it was based on a presentation I gave to ONS when they were looking for an implementation partner for their journey. Then later in the day, their project manager Sarah Green spoke about their project and how they are now live on both HCM and Finance. In fact the presentation is based on an interview I did with Sarah which is in the new Oracle Scene.

Several customers shared their stories and partners explained the different phases and what new skills would be learnt. All sessions were busy and everyone seemed to be getting a lot from the day.

The people in organisations who support the on premise today, want to know what this journey involves and what it means to their role in the future. We are now in a time of many people making that move, not just a few but many. The trick now is what do we in UKOUG do to deliver what they, the people who have moved, need to get the most out of their investment?

The day ended with a great panel session, but I had left by then, I had a plane to catch.....

Sunday, 5 February 2017

Oracle Modern Business Experience

I spend a lot of time at conferences and expected to enjoy the Oracle Modern Business Experience last week, I didn't expect to be simply blown away.

The targeted marketing obviously worked they say there was over 6,000 registrations, however I still had an advert for it on my Facebook today 3 days after the event.

As you know my area is the Cloud Applications (formerly known as Fusion) and probably 75% of this event showcased customers who have made the move. It is amazing that to think there are so many users today, just a few years ago it was a struggle to get a reference customer and when one did speak you saw them rolled out at every event. Today there is a abundance.

As ever I was like a mother hen, proud of my several Certus customers who gave presentations about their projects and took part in customer panel sessions.

I was privileged to attend the Oracle Women's Leadership event on the first afternoon and the speakers were so inspirational. 

The first session was a panel session 'Grab the Power to make the Change': 

Safra Catz talked about being a tiny women in Wall Street and not being taken seriously, so instead of fighting it she went after customers from the emerging tech industry, and then eventually moved to Oracle.

Joanna Fielding from HSBC and Kimberly Ellison-Taylor talked about how they had sponsors who held them be recognised for their talents. Later I spoke to Kimberly for quite a while on the value of the afternoon to men, however would women have been as candid if they had been there? Perhaps they should have a video link :)

Emma Codd from Deloitte talked about Respect and Inclusion and the work she has done in her organisation, the video she had made for their program is brilliant.

Then there was another panel on "marketing to Millennials' with Amanda Jobbins VP of EMEA Marketing at Oracle, Catherine Walker from Vodafone and Maria Topornicka from Middlesex University and Alex Broadley from Hang Technologies, who inspired us that at only 22 she was doing so much.

There was a lot of thought leadership sessions that were not Oracle specific and I enjoyed several of those but, and if you follow me on twitter you already know, my favourite session of the two days was Dr Brian Cox. It was amazing how much he packed into a standard presentation.

I heard many people say that this event was better than Oracle Open World for Cloud Applications and that shows it was a game changer. They will be posting some content here

And remember if you are interested in what it takes to move to the Cloud Applications, UKOUG have just the content you need 

Saturday, 4 February 2017

UKOUG Member Advocate Election

If you are a member of UKOUG, you may have just been asked to vote for our next Member Advocate for the board. If you are not the main contact on your membership can I ask you to contact whoever is and lobby them to vote.

There are two candidates, and I have had the pleasure of working with them both over many years. Both have equal amounts of passion for the aims of the usergroup, but I have only one vote and have to make a decision. I am asked who to vote for, and not just for UKOUG, I have spoken up as to who I have supported in other usergroups.

Fiona Martin has been on the board for 4 years, stepping in when it was at its most broken and has worked tirelessly to take the steps to ensure UKOUG has turned around most issues and is taking baby steps for the future.

Brendon Tierney is a very important part of the Irish Community and we have worked together on every one of the 12 years we have held OUG Ireland conferences, he is also the editor of Oracle Scene one of my favourite offerings from UKOUG.

I am declaring with you the fact that I am supporting Fiona for this election, Brendon is a fantastic volunteer and great friend, he knows I am writing this post. Here are my reasons why:

This position is a board position, it is not about individual parts of the community. There are only 3 advocates, and they must balance representing ALL members with the running of the company that supports that Community. Fiona has been involved as board sponsor with many communities and lead the Tech Conference for 3 years before stepping up as overall conference lead in 2016.

UKOUG is in a much much better place than it has been, the strategy work that Fiona has been responsible for over the last few years has begin to bear fruit and we can see that project teams have delivered. This volunteer strategy has allowed members to step up perhaps for an event project rather than a long term committee position, and this has been invaluable to our organisation.

Fiona and I are both Alliance Directors, which basically means our day job is to look after the relationship between our own organisation and the unbelievably complicated Oracle. That means we have a wide understanding and have learnt to how to navigate Oracle. Skills really needed for UKOUG. It also means we have the flexibility to give the time and input your usergroup demands.

Fiona also has core skills in Sales and has mentored the UKOUG staff, this has been invaluable as we have recovered slowly from a big loss a few years ago. Her commercial acumen is for me the number one reason I would ask you to vote for her. Remember UKOUG is a company, with staff and the board is not just about what to deliver to members but the business of doing so.

In the past two years we have had an interim Executive Director and a period of time with a vacancy during which Fiona stepped up with even more time and expertise given to UKOUG. James Jeynes was appointed in November and Fiona and I with our experience on the board have been helping him to get up to speed with not only UKOUG but also the entire Oracle ecosystem.

Today the board has both an Executive Director and Finance Director with less than 5 months experience, and a new Non Exec Director that will be appointed at the end of March, as Bryan Foss completes his appointment. On the elected side Paul Fitton is getting to grip with his upcoming Presidency, and therefore I am the only person with experience of UKOUG and the board. I AM stepping down next March, I thought I should have done last year but I couldn't walk away when UKOUG needed the support.

Fiona being elected for another 2 years will be the best thing for the governance of our board.

Obviously I would like you to vote for Fiona but the most important thing is that you ensure your vote is used.

Sunday, 29 January 2017

Show Me the Way (Well one way) to The Cloud (applications)

I had best start this post with a clarification, the way to Cloud Applications previously known as Fusion, a clarification I have a whole post about.

Oracle have been pushing the Cloud Applications for several years, and whilst they have sold well, the shift to E Business Suite customers moving their applications to the cloud applictaions has now well and truely gathered momentum with many deals I see today this scenario.

Oracle sell the applications as a solution as they should, but if you have EBS today, if you are currently supporting EBS you are also interested in how you get there?

My next speaking opportunity is the UKOUG event Applications: Journey to Cloud event on 8th March and hopefully there is something in the agenda for everyone.

But before the UKOUG event Oracle have their Modern Business Experience event this week. I love this event plenty of customers talking and thought leaders sharing their wisdom. This event is about the WHY you should consider the solutions Oracle offer and the difference they can make to your organisation.

The UKOUG event just 4 weeks later will show you the HOW; presentations from people who have made the move and what it meant to the support teams.

The Office of National Statistics is a well publicised Certus customer and their sessions at the MBX will talk about the drivers for and advantages gained by their move to Cloud ERP and HCM, and then at the UKOUG event they will be back talking about how their support team have taken to their new system and the opportunities it has given them.

I have a couple of presentations, one about how to approach your EBS to Cloud project and another on PaaS4SaaS which cold be how you take those customisations to Cloud.

Look at both agendas, so much being covered from two different angles, something for you all.

Forced into using the "F" Word Again

I have a confession to make, I am using the word "F" word again.

I was one of the first to insist we stop using the word 'Fusion' when Oracle stopped calling their Cloud apps Fusion. In fact at many meetings I instigated a fine for anyone using the word; money collected to pay for the coffees.

Within Oracle I still heard it though and that was frustrating, the worst offenders were Oracle support. The Cloud applications team in Oracle Support are called FAST, not as I first suspected a reference to their speed, but an acronym for Fusion Applications Support Team.

I thought it was getting through to most people, I heard it less and less. Within UKOUG we were very careful to talk about cloud applications and in my own organisation it was changed wherever possible. I started all my presentations with a simple slide:

Then mid 2016 all the confusion returned, as the term Cloud Applications has again morphed. I found myself having to say 'the applications previously known as Fusion' to make sure there was no confusion!

Oracle announced their strategy to encourage all on premise applications users, E Business Suite, PeopleSoft, JD Edwards etc to take their installations and run them on IaaS, Oracle Managed Cloud Service. I am not against this strategy, although I wish it was portrayed more as an option rather than the next step, in fact prior to Oracle releasing an IaaS offering for apps, many of their customers had successfully migrated their applications to run on other third party IaaS offerings.

What I am frustrated by is that I have to spell out in every conversation what I am referring to. I raised a call with Oracle about a Cloud Apps problem and the support analyst kept asking me what version of EBS I was on. I was blinkered and couldn't understand why he couldn't accept of I was using cloud apps and ended up being quite confrontational, so much so he got his supervisor to ring me. I said why couldn't the analyst understand I wasn't using EBS when I kept saying I was using Cloud Apps. He promptly gave me a lecture on the ability to run EBS on IaaS and that that was what they called Cloud Apps.

Then last week I contacted a partner who had an EBS technical solution and asked if they had a Cloud offering or plans for one, and this was their response:

If the customer is just hosted by Oracle OMCS or another hosting provider, we can perform the project as per usual.  It just involves additional steps with the hosting provider.  If you are asking about using our software on the Oracle Cloud (Fusion) product, that would not work due to the database access required for our “magic” to happen.   Please clarify the implementation
I had stumbled over the same obstacle.

So if you hear me use the "F" word, don't condone me, it's all in the name of clarity.