Wednesday, 21 March 2018

2018 PaaSForum Budapest - The Content

I'm a member of several advocate communities within Oracle and the leaders are a special breed, ensuring we had the product access we need to be up todate and to keep us motivated. I'd like to call out Jennifer Nicholson and Lori Lorusso in the ACE Program and Misha Vaughan in the Apps UX Advocate Program.

Normally these roles don't extend to the sales side of the business, but there is an exception, Juergen Kress who runs the EMEA A&C PaaS Community. Every year for his partner community Juergen holds two events; his spring Forum and summer Boot Camps.

The Boot Camps are full on training and not relevant to my role but the Forum is a 'not to be missed event'. The week is divided into 3 parts. The first day is partner case studies; what have they done with their customers. The next two days are product and program updates which are the key to what I need to know. I need that 'how' not just 'what' around the ever increasing product portfolio. Then the last two days are the hands-on labs. Normally these are too technical for me but the VBCS and Chatbot sessions were a must for what I am talking to customers about. More important than all this I have the chance to speak face to face to product managers.

This year the Forum was back in Budapest. We were there 3 years ago when #PaaS4SaaS was only DaaS and JCS with a promise of SOA and BPM to come. Certus had recently announced we would work with customers when the time came on the #PaaS4SaaS concept, and along with our development partners eProseed had just completed a PoC with Oracle on what was possible. Jurgen gave Lonneke and I an award for taking this on and sharing it with the community.

This year, to our surprise, Lonneke and I were called up to the stage again, and given another community award this time for SOA CS with SaaS. This is a project we are well into, with a global customer who is integrating all their employee data from their existing portfolio into a new instance of Cloud HCM with the business moving into using the system when it suits them. It is a complex integration but will give business value much quicker to the customer. For us it was great to be recognised, it took quite a while for customers to actually want #PaaS4SaaS up front but is now becoming more widespread.

There was more business content this year at the forum and one I really appreciated was the session on Universal Credit licensing. Not so much about what it costs today but about how we can help customers who have existing investment and the best way to move them forward.

From the Oracle A Team Deepak Arora gave us several sessions on #PaaS4SaaS adoption models and what they are seeing in presales engagements. Deepak talked about architectural changes between R12 and R13 which affect the way PaaS consumes data from SaaS which isn't immediately obvious. He also talked about future plans. Well worth the visit alone.

I have a chatbot I have had lots of help building by the OMCE product team, so was very interested in their sessions and was brave enough to divert from the script and set up my own messages.

John Ceccarelli from VBCS Product Management had a few sessions based on the soon to be released V2. There are some great enhancements to the product although some of the simple wizardry that suited people like me is rather hidden now, but I'll comment again later once I've had a chance to play with it more. I also attended a UX session on future ideas for VBCS and am very keen to see them get into production.

There was a 2 day integrate and extend SaaS workshop but I didnt attend that. It was very CX centric and very technical but I did sit down with the lead Wolfgang Herdtle and he went through a couple of Finance and HCM use cases.

Once everyone had left I spent an hour with Nicolas Damonte looking at Process Cloud and their ideas for exposing complexity via wizard driven templates. I am absolutely sure I have described that wrong, but I liked the user experience.

For a few years I have been looking at how to extend SaaS with little applications that co-exisit with the applications. Some of the constraints are still there but when you can see the roadmap and where both tools and applications development are working together, there is a lot to be excited about.

I have a session at Collaborate on how can you build these extensions. Not how to code, but how to approach them. This includes what to me is one of the best initiatives, Universal Credits, which allows users to consume what they need, even if what they need changes.

I was videoed talking about my thoughts for Oracle sound bites.

Thank you Juergen for another amazing PaaSForum, for the award, and for a great time in a wonderful venue. See you next year.

Saturday, 10 March 2018

Can Ireland Continue to Win?

I've just watched Ireland win the 6 Nations, next week is Cheltenham, St Patricks Day, England v Ireland at Twickenham for the Grand Slam; can anything top that?

Well they will all rush back for the 
annual OUG Ireland Event held  22-23 March at The Gresham Hotel, Dublin.

As ever there is a great agenda, and I'm kicking off the Apps stream with a look at selecting the right cloud solution for your applications. It's weird really, I've spoken at hundreds of events, but never as community kickoff. I'm very excited because the rest of the stream will be drilling into more detail as the event progresses.

For the technical audiences there are again many old faces, local heroes and new speakers. If you use Oracle and can get to Dublin .....

Make sure you will be there.

Monday, 5 March 2018

The Legacy of A Great Friend

John Schiff died at the weekend. It was expected, he had found out he had leukaemia last October and he spent his last weeks at home with his family and hospice care. 

John was head of JD Edwards World product and a great friend to both UKOUG and me personally.

From the time Oracle purchased PeopleSoft and therefore JD Edwards, John worked with UKOUG to ensure his customers had a user group to support them in the UK. He supported them becoming members and even at a difficult meeting a few years back supported JD Edwards being part of the wider applications community.

He brokered the relationship between UKOUG and QUEST which has always been for the benefit of our members.

He cared so passionately for the customers who used the product he had invested so much of his career to.

But John was also my friend. I travelled for several years to Denver for the RMOUG conference each spring and John invited me and my daughter to his home. His family were so welcoming. He and his wife Eileen took me to their local restaurants and we shared many glasses of good wine and stories of our families and faith.

I raise a glass to you John.