Tuesday 20 October 2015

PaaS4SaaS - Marketing v Adoption and catching that Wave

In the run up to Oracle Open World last year there was a lot of talk about PaaS, making the development tools available in the Cloud, and how that meant we could extend the Cloud Applications. This was the area I was most interested in last year, and here we are a year later and there is lots of it on the agenda, albeit none of the ones I submitted, but I'll come back to that later.

The Board of UKOUG will be sighing as they read this, “Debra is back on her ‘user adoption’ curve soapbox”, they will be saying, and I make no apologies.

Oracle are a product company, and we all like their products or we wouldn’t use them, but we also know that they market their products aggressively.

I am always (as the board know to their cost), going on about the lifecycle of a product and the adoption curve. User groups are about what the end users are doing so we cannot be just a repeat of an Oracle event. Users want to know where Oracle are going, they want to see the new products, but this needs to be balanced with getting the most out of what they have today and how they use it. A couple of years after a product is talked about by Oracle the most popular user group sessions are on the actual upgrade. 

Remember I am talking about extending SaaS through PaaS, and actually I am only talking about extending HCM & ERP SaaS, there is a lot more flexibility and use case for extending CX SaaS and some fantastic use cases being showcased around that.

Last year when I joined Certus PaaS4SaaS was one of our priorities to understand, and during and after OOW I spent a lot of time digging and appraising(including this video). At the end of January we along with our development partner eProseed, took part in a Proof of Concept workshop with Oracle Development.

In March we were jointly awarded the FMW Partner Community Cloud award, for not only taking the initiative in understanding this and running a POC but for sharing that information back with the community. 

Just last week Certus won Silver at the customer voted UKOUG Partner of the Year Awards for this same piece of work under the emerging technologies category.

Inbetween I have done video clips for OTN and Alliances, An article in Profit magazine and been featured in a Forbes article.

eProseed and I are also manning stands at the Cloud UX Exchange on Monday at OOW and each have a 20 minute session in an OTN Cloud showcase at OOW on Wednesday. You will not be able to attend OOW without hearing about PaaS.

Back to my maturity curve, customers still aren't ready mainstream, but they are starting to think about it, more so because their account managers at Oracle are offering attractive rates, but they are still thinking you cannot change SaaS, so need to move their mindsets on.

We do speak to customers who are asking about PaaS4SaaS but the things they ask for have to date all been things we can do through the powerful configuration available in SaaS. Some Oracle salespeople have asked us to write feature gaps in PaaS but actually that is not economic or worthwhile if they are already on Oracle's roadmap. But it will come, several years ago I wrote a white paper on '42 Real Life examples of FMW with Apps' and it was all about people using new technology to do old things. Wind forward a few years and there is real innovation in FMW. 

I have seen a great example of using PaaS to help with maintenance in SaaS in FXLoader, it doesn't have the UX I want, but it is a great app and being used by customers and sold through Oracle's MarketPlace.

In a few years PaaS4SaaS will be mainstream and Certus will be ready. In the same way we got in early to understand SaaS. As that has become mainstream the market is flooded with partners trying to get into it, or catch up with what that means. Certus has done that homework, already seen as an influencer in PaaS4SaaS and yet has not had to deliver anything yet. I have however spoken to big audiences at about 20 events this year, we are at the customer interest stage.

Perhaps next year we will have reached the next step, and will be sharing a case study....

Sunday 11 October 2015

Thinking of Being Brave - Looking for a Volunteer at OOW

Followers of my blog will know I am first up at OOW this year with:

Forming Your Future: Upgrade/Migration to Oracle Fusion Applications/Oracle Applications Cloud [UGF3179]

Learn how Oracle Fusion Applications/Oracle Applications Cloud can influence your future plans for ERP and inform you how to prioritize and decide upgrade and migration activities. Should Oracle E-Business Suite users go to the cloud or just stay current with their Oracle E-Business Suite release? Learn what methods are available for migrating to Oracle Cloud for any organization, and how to plan a roadmap for the latest release of Oracle Applications Cloud. This session shares details of the experience. You will learn from the upgrade/migration experience and strategy, cutover plan, testing, and training.

Sunday, Oct 25, 8:00 a.m. | Moscone South—307

Originally this session was submitted by Kashif Manzoor but as he has now gone to work for Oracle cannot have a user group Sunday session. I was really honoured when the EOUC decided to keep the session and give it to me, but it will be slightly different, it will be based on my experience.

Today I started on the slides, I have so much material from experience the issue is what to include and what not to, and as it's early in the morning I am sure you don't just want powerpoint lists.

I can talk hypothetically all day but wouldn't it be better to do this as real life?

If you are on EBS Financials or HCM and are considering or even just interested in Cloud, contact me and you never know you could be my subject. I'll ask you questions, which I will share beforehand' and we will go through the answers and considerations as we go through the session.

And a warning to Oracle Sales, I know you sell Cloud as a solution and I agree, but if you are supporting EBS on premise today, you are at a minimum interested in what is going on in Cloud, and this session will discuss the architecture.

My OOW2015 plans

I have a few rituals, and one is that I put all invites to events at OOW into an email folder and wait till a few weeks before to decide what I am going to do. Then I spend hours with a calendar spreadsheet working out what I can and can't do, making the trade offs and compromises.

Then when I arrive in San Francisco it normally gets thrown out of the window, but at least I have a plan. 

I leave 19th October and am not home till the 10th November!!!!

First up I have meetings at Redwood Shores on the 20th, on the Wednesday there is a User Experience Event and then Thursday and Friday there is the ACE Director briefings from our sponsors OTN, which are in fact the best part of the whole trip. I understand that despite his promotion Thomas Kurian is still spending time with us, which is my absolute top session.

Friday evening we move downtown and Saturday is my only day off. This year I am going out to Alcatraz again. Actually I don't have the whole day off, there is an Oracle Partner Event in the evening.

Sunday is User Group Day and I am up first, 8am on a Sunday, it does mean I miss the bridge run, but the registrations for my sessions are doing really well so I am looking forward to that. 

Forming Your Future: Upgrade/Migration to Oracle Fusion Applications/Oracle Applications Cloud [UGF3179]  - Sunday, Oct 25, 8:00 a.m. | Moscone South—307

I have meetings with new user group leaders from Australia prior to the EOUC big database session 

More Than Another 12 on Oracle Database 12c [UGF3190] - Sunday, Oct 25, 1:30 p.m. | Moscone South—306

Then a quick rush to the OTN lounge to make another video and then the opening keynote the ACE Dinner in the evening.

Monday starts with my 4th Swim in The Bay, and then I am meeting with analysts, and a few meetings with Oracle Executives to do with Certus customer implementations.

Lunch with Jurgen Kress who runs the best partner community. In the afternoon I am taking my turn hosting a PaaS4SaaS demo stand at the User Experience Expo. 

I hope to pop into both the Specialization reception and the OFM Community reception.

Tuesday starts really early with an analyst breakfast, then a series of meetings before our customer JT Global speaks which I really want to attend.

What Does It Take to Make Oracle HCM Cloud Work? The JT Story [CON9059] - Tuesday, Oct 27, 12:15 p.m. | Palace—Presidio 

I currently have a quiet afternoon (that won't last) before a couple of receptions and then a UK & Ireland partner dinner. I hope to get chance to pop into OakTable World and alternative deeply technical side event to OOW. 

Wednesday I am giving a quick 20 minute session on PaaS4SaaS in the OTN lounge, an Executive lunch and then the Oracle Women's Leadership afternoon. I attended 2 years ago and it was amazing.

The bloggers meet up is a great OOW tradition before queueing for the buses out to the appreciation event and the opportunity to hear Elton John who I have seen before at OOW although last time it was out at the Cow Palace not not the more OOW Treasure Island.

Thursday morning there are a number of sessions I want to catch before I fly off for a few days before returning for another San Francisco Event - this time with my favourite analyst Ray Wang and his Constellation Connected Enterprise Conference  Every year he invites me but I can't justify coming back to San Francisco, this time with OOW being a month later, it is possible.

So as ever so much going on, and it will change and get even busier. And if I find myself with spare time I wonder where I should be? But I wouldn't have it any other way.

Tale of caution, use an expert, it's worth it in the end

Not only am I not technical, but I can also be unlucky.

When I left my last job, I bought a laptop and all my friends, said no, go MAC you will love it, so much easier, so much better. Then about 10 months later, a disaster I still have cold sweats about, I left my rucksack on a train and lost my PC. Determined to turn the situation positive I decided to buy a MAC as a replacement.

That didn't go too smoothly at first, as I learnt the hard way the things you give up being a MAC user, especially when you have to still use Microsoft Products. Office looses so many features, as a personal user I could move but have chosen to stick with it, but as an Oracle Cloud professional, especially around finance you have to use Excel and Word and the MAC versions don't have the required add ins. I tried Parallels to run windows in but it still wasn't quite right,  eventually I had to get a cheap PC just for that, still on balance I do prefer the MAC.

Or at least I did. On my recent Latin America tour, I had real problems with my MAC. The screen started to show the keys and other marks, the track pad stopped working, on two occasions I had to use Tim Hall's MAC to present my sessions. Never mind Tim told me they would replace my screen as it was a known issue and the track pad seemed to be linked to the battery placement. However have you ever tried to get a Genius Bar appointment!!

Then even worse, when I got back and was in London for a couple of weeks, the iOS Outlook database crashed loosing all my emails, except those on my company server. All my personal, UKOUG and Oracle ACE emails were lost. Disaster! However there is a rebuild facility which failed but I knew when I got home I had a time machine backup I could restore. I managed very slowly for 2 weeks till I was next home. Thank you all those who I had to ask to resend emails.

When I got home I thought, this will be easy even I can do it. But guess what the database would not rebuild. NIGHTMARE!  I did a disk check and I have filestore issues, so I had to find that Genius appointment.

Note to self, needing an Apple Genius person on the weekend a new iPhone is released is not best use of your time!

After waiting several hours for help, there was a lot of head scratching and eventually triage decided the MAC needed to be admitted for further tests. Several days later I eventually got my MAC back, new screen, battery realigned so track pad issue resolved and file system rebuilt.

However the restored outlook database still wouldn't rebuild.

I spent hours, days using google trying things but with no success. Eventually I came across a forum posting on how to do this. It looked really complicated and I just knew it would eat up so much more of my precious time. Then I saw you could pay the writer for help.

I researched her, and all seemed promising so I contacted her by email. She was quick to come back and after a few questions, we arranged a Skype call. She seemed really switched on and confident this was her area of expertise and could do this quite quickly.

We arranged a time and two hours later of her sharing my screen and me entering passwords at the relevant times, I was back, everything fixed. The best $78 I have ever spent. Mogens is always saying how we are time poor, and definitely that was my problem here. She gave me back what I couldn't afford, more wasted time on the problem. Whilst we waited for files to copy etc, she gave me a tutorial on getting the most from my MAC based on what I actually do.

So what did I learn from this? It just reinforces the mantra of going for the best for help, which doesn't need to be the most expensive. When Certus was looking to move into PaaS4SaaS development we went to find the right partner, when customers' want the best Cloud Implementation they come to us.

Saturday 10 October 2015

What are Certus Up To at OOW15?

The Certus Team going to OOW is 5 people including our speaking customer Richard Summerfield, the Group HR Director of JT Global. 

Although I am the 'junior' I am up first. And when I say first I mean first session of the whole event!

Forming Your Future: Upgrade/Migration to Oracle Fusion Applications/Oracle Applications Cloud [UGF3179]
Learn how Oracle Fusion Applications/Oracle Applications Cloud can influence your future plans for ERP and inform you how to prioritize and decide upgrade and migration activities. Should Oracle E-Business Suite users go to the cloud or just stay current with their Oracle E-Business Suite release? Learn what methods are available for migrating to Oracle Cloud for any organization, and how to plan a roadmap for the latest release of Oracle Applications Cloud. This session shares details of the experience. You will learn from the upgrade/migration experience and strategy, cutover plan, testing, and training.
Sunday, Oct 25, 8:00 a.m. | Moscone South—307

Then not a cloud session but one I am really pleased to be comparing again.

More Than Another 12 on Oracle Database 12c [UGF3190]
This session is back by public demand after last year’s fantastic feedback. More than twelve of the best speakers in EMEA—all ACE directors—share their knowledge on Oracle Database 12c. Quick-fire, seven-minute sessions provide nuggets of wisdom to consider and explore during and after Oracle OpenWorld.
Sunday, Oct 25, 1:30 p.m. | Moscone South—306

Later on Sunday Richard Summerfield and Mark Sweeny our CEO are joining Loïc Le Guisquet who is a president of Oracle, responsible for the EMEA and Asia Pacific regions, at a press round table talking about Cloud.

On Monday Tim Warner our COO and myself who are old hands with the Oracle User Experience team are there again, Tim being interviewed and I am hosting a PaaS4SaaS demo station a their expo. 

On Tuesday Richard Summerfield and our own Richard Atkins will tell the JT Story:

What Does It Take to Make Oracle HCM Cloud Work? The JT Story [CON9059]
JT implemented Oracle Human Capital Management Cloud (Oracle HCM Cloud) across five countries in just five months, integrating with several payrolls. The company went on to add performance and was one of the first to go live with Oracle Time and Labor. What did this mean for the business and technically? In this session, JT’s group director of HR and its implementation partner explain the change to the business and the migrations, integrations, configurations, and reporting needed.
Tuesday, Oct 27, 12:15 p.m. | Palace—Presidio

Wednesday appears to be analyst day, I am partaking in a thought leadership breakfast with one group and Richard Atkins is on a panel with Goldman Sachs in the afternoon.

I am also speaking again on PaaS4Saas in the OTN Lounge at 11am.

Tim Warner who is very experienced at speaking at OOW then has his session:

10 Ways to Enhance Your Oracle HCM Cloud Implementation [CON8983]
Do you think Oracle Human Capital Management Cloud (Oracle HCM Cloud) is too vanilla? Then this presentation is going to change your mind. See 10 different examples of how Oracle HCM Cloud extensibility tools and techniques can enhance your implementation. The examples are based on real-life implementations.
Wednesday, Oct 28, 4:15 p.m. | Palace—Sea Cliff

If you want to attend any of the sessions I suggest you sign up with My Schedule as they are filling up fast 

Support the End User - The JT Story at OOW

I am very proud of the fact that Certus' Customers are happy customers and where they can they will share their story.

Richard Summerfield the Group HR Director of JT Global, is travelling from Jersey in the Channel Islands (close to France), to tell their story of how Oracle HCM Cloud has transformed their business.

Having gone live with Core HR, Talent & Goal Management they were then the first Oracle customer to go live with Oracle Time & Labor.  This was their first corporate wide IT system after several acquisitions that double the size of their company, which last year for the first time made more money outside of Jersey.

On paper this is a really exciting story and one you should defiantly go see if you are starting or thinking of starting your HCM journey, especially if you are a Midsize company. Richard is also joining Oracle on a media round table about Cloud.

There is only one problem, in their wisdom Oracle have put this session on against their own 'Meet the Experts', which is really unfair. However I can tell you can get the content from that session at many of the Oracle delivered sessions in HCM World and Richard is only presenting the once.

I also know that some of those speaking in the Oracle session want to hear this story. 

So I'm asking you find the time in your diary and book it for the JT Story. Sign up on my schedule to reserve your seat and come along and hear from a real midsize customer with world class ambition.