Thursday 26 October 2017

2017 hroug - Croatia

I came to #hroug2008 and although I really enjoyed it there were not any english speaking presenters and I found that intimidating. However now the SiOUG and hroug events run back to back, it is very different.

The event is still held in Rovinj but now on an island at the Hotel Istra. To even get there you have to go by boat.

It is a beautiful setting complete with its own castle which is where my sessions were held.

My VABCS presentation was on the drinking v sleep patterns of delegates which is the main source of conversation at this event. I felt very old as I was tired before the parties started each day. 

This mobile app even clicked into the detail - my own skills are improving! I like to make the effort to do something very conference specific, it shows the delegates it isn't simply cut and paste.

Taking advantage of the wonderful surroundings, I managed another dive, and a couple of early morning swims to the next island and back (about 200m). The visiting speakers even had an afternoon off when only local people were presenting and they took us to the nearby town of Pula, and gave us a walking tour. Beautiful.

The parties are legendary but I didn't really take part, although when the whole island is the party venue even in bed you can hear the music.

My second presentation was a 'back to basics' for Fusion SaaS applications. When I was here in 2008 the developers asked what it would mean to them, so now they are mainstream I thought it a good idea. I found an old presentation on understanding fusion and set about updating it. The principles are the same, but so much has moved on, and is now reality not theory. I loved putting it together.

The Croatia event was not too far from where Slovenia was and again I had Roel Hartman as a driver back to Ljubljana for my flight home.

Thank you hroug, it was fun.

Friday 20 October 2017

2017 SiOUG - Slovenia

Just as quickly as I had unpacked from #OOW17, it was time to think about the next 2 conferences. Slovenia and Croatia.

I spoke in Slovenia before in 2011. I was invited by Joze Senegacnik  who I knew from the Oak Table. I had had a wonderful time and we stayed in Portoroz on the coast. 

I didn't blog about that conference but I did comment on the three most wonderful user group presidents and I do remember that Doug Burns was with us and moaned (about everything).

Anyway nowadays the Slovenian and Croatian events are back to back. They both take place in holiday resorts, immediately after the holiday season ends. Cheap hotels but still good weather and beautiful settings. They are both only an hour apart and it works well.

Unfortunately I got accepted late to Slovenia and missed the opportunity to get funded by the ACE program but decided to go anyway, self fund, and make a mini break out of it.

I flew into Ljubljana, the capital, and got collected by the hotel. Most people had a hire car, but because I won'

t drive on the wrong side and because I could get a lift once the event started, this was the best way for me to travel.

The Monday night had a party with a Beatles tribute band. However I was tired, so after a walk outside along the beach for an ice cream, I had a reasonably early night.

The hotel was about 1km away from the one we stayed at before, but I had remembered there was a dive shop there. So my extra days were spent diving. 

The conference kicked off on the Sunday night with a speakers dinner. It was about 40 minutes away by coach and a wonderful family restaurant. Joze had baked bread for the starter and I could have just eaten that, the walnut and date sourdough bread was amazing.

We also had a 'maize' or corn soup, however with his accent I was sure the host said it was mice soup, and reacted accordingly. Every one laughed at me.

They had quite a good agenda for Cloud Applications and I was particularly interested in one on ##PaaS4SaaS that was Mobile Cloud Services with Innovation Cloud. However I was very disappointed as it seemed to me to be just marketing for Innovation Cloud.

There was one on cloud security for GDPR which was very interesting, and I even managed to win a prize for knowing what date GDPR comes into force.

My session was on the Tuesday and it was my Extending Cloud HCM is as simple as ABCs. Well it would be if Oracle hadn't renamed it VBCS!! When we arrived at the event each of us was given a card to complete for which meals we would attend, so I though it would be good to use that as my demo. Although at one point I was afraid the wifi wouldn't hold up so I had a webcast on my PC ready to play with me speaking over it.

The wifi didn't let me down, and I successfully built my meal app, deployed it via HCM and then created a mobile dashboard app to show the totals; all in the 45 minutes. Not bad for a non techie. 

Roel Hartman came to watch me as he was giving me a lift to Croatia as soon as I finished, and he tweeted nice things about the presentation. 

Sunday 15 October 2017

2017OOW - OOW Messages

No surprise that #OOW17 was all about Cloud, but that is now cloud across the entire portfolio.

Oracle talked about the content in #OOW17 being the equivalent to a year's education. So no way I could take all that in. To me #OOW is about finding the areas I need to know about, get the headlines and find out who to follow up with. I have another tactic as well, identify the ACE Directors who are in this area as the support we give each other is brilliant.

The headline, in case you didn't realise, was the Autonomous Database. Does that mean anything for me? As a user group leader obviously and so I was really interested and the debate in the ACE sessions on the Friday, gave me lots to think about. 

In my day job with SaaS it is also important. Oracle are now in the data centre business and anything they do to make that more efficient has to be good for us.

Before #OOW17 I identified Blockchain as something I was interested in. I only managed to get to one of the sessions but there was a demo of this in the UX Exchange which was also very thought provoking. The launch of Oracle's own Blockchain Cloud shows just how serious they are. I expect to see this embedded in the SaaS before too long.

In the SaaS world it was all about Release 13, and I'm looking forward to being an early adopter at Certus. I have always been an advocate for these applications and it was great to catch up with Steve Miranda and his team. I still say the UX is the best part but I love how that makes embracing new technology such fun.

Machine Learning was a big area, Chatbots and Adaptive Intelligence are appearing in SaaS, and despite how much of a luddite I am, I look forward to see how these develop. 

I spend a lot of time talking to analysts about Oracle and they seemed pleased with the Oracle Messages. A good summary is this one from Diginomica 

Each year there have been more end customers talking about their adoption of Oracle Cloud and this was no exception. It is exciting times

And then suddenly it was all over and even the clouds left San Francisco.

Return to main #OOW17 Summary

WIT - Welcome in Technology

I attended or took part in a couple of WIT events at #OOW17 and here is what I learnt.


My schedule was, as always manic, so I was up first in these lightening talks by women in the dev community, which is sad because I would loved to have heard everyone's stories.

I talked about how I got into IT, which I have shared on this blog before. When I started, IT had just become mainstream, there was no education program to produce the developers of tomorrow, and there was certainly no bias.

But again, I don't think there is a bias today, we just aren't encouraging enough women to look at technology as a career. Or are we? This was just 24 hours after #JavaOne4Kids and there was certainly no lack of girls taking part in that, so I am encouraged.

It's funny that making the perfect cup of tea got me into IT and then 30 years later the great Mark Rittman was almost stumped with the technology behind it!

Then on Monday it was Inclusive Leadership

This was hosted by OWL as part of the Executive Program at #OOW17, and again I was honoured to be invited to attend. This was sponsored by TATA and Ritu Anand who gave their insight on inclusivity.

Next Christy Haubegger talked about why she created Latina Magazine, when she realised there were no magazines for Latin American women, despite them being greater in number than most groups in the US. She more recently produced 'Spanglish'.

Simon Fanshawe OBE who was a co founder of Stonewall, was just so funny to listen to. He had a really serious message about diversity and inclusion and I could have listened to him all day. It is no wonder we as a society have moved so far forward with someone like him who so eloquently and yet entertaining speaks out.

Then Debbie Sterling who created Goldieblox, engineering toys for girls. I loved her enthusiasm and hopefully the little girls of today, will grow up believing engineering is for them if they want it.

There was also Safra Katz talking about her world in Oracle and she talked about the Design Tech High School built on the Oracle Campus which I had seen a few days before. This is great work.

There was a women of the ACE Program set of talks but unfortunately I was unable to take part but know that it too showcased and encouraged women in IT.

On my way home from #OOW17 I watched Hidden Figures and I found myself in tears (not sure what my fellow passenger thought). This was such an inspirational program. The hard thing to take was the level of discrimination, but to me the most important thing was that they were, in the end they were successful because of their outstanding ability and not because of some quota.

Perhaps this will be controversial, but it won't be the first time I have said it. My interest in WIT is not about complaining but about encouraging. At #OOW17 there was lots of encouraging and I want to change the definition of #WIT

Women Welcome in Technology

Tim Hall and I have been talking about this and we are looking at how we can promote this more in our communities.

Let's make #WIT about encouraging everyone, and the inclusion of everyone.

Return to main #OOW17 Summary 

OOW17 - Oracle Developer Community formerly OTN

A few weeks before #OOW17 - Oracle Technology Network changed it's name to the Oracle Developer Community. #DevCommunity 

The ACE Program is part of this relaunched community and a nice new name means a nice new jacket. Thank you, and loving the shape of the lady version.

Community is a really important part of the Oracle outreach, and there is something for all of us. Take part, it is such fun.

During #OOW17 the Developer Lounge was the place to catch up with friends, have fun, see technology in action and learn more about the community.

Thanks to all the #DevCommunity team, especially Jennifer and Lori.

Saturday 14 October 2017

2017OOW - User Experience

Another of my now traditions pre #OOW is the UX training at HQ. The UX advocates within the ACE program come together and learn all that is new and product direction. Since the first talks of Fusion this has been baked in and to me it IS what makes the applications SELL.

The most interesting discussions of the day were around chatbots.  Oracle has a great video to show use this, which to me is a bit weird but I was misunderstood when I made a comment, and have a separate post on my luddite thinking.

Last year when we were there they were building a smartoffice and this year we got to benefit from this. A few people were remote but the system made us all feel like they were part of it. You just had to remember you were also being seen by them.

To me, what was important is that the key principle of simplicity is still central to everything they do in the UX team.

I am reusing an old presentation over the next few months, about how Fusion or Cloud Applications hang together, and although in every area the technology and UX have moved on, the design principles remain.

Then the developer side of UX is about making all that research available, The Rapid Design Kits, help when you are designing or writing your own applications. We have used them in ADF with our development partners eProseed. They are also mainstream for mobile, and now being made available for both Jet and Chatbots alongside the relevant development cloud offerings; and at no extra cost.

Both Lucas and Tim have written more technical posts on the day so sharing them covers off the hard bits.

Then during #OOW17 they had their exchange. It was a bit far from the main Moscone so they put on transport, which I have to say scared the life out of me once it moved off into the traffic! Anyway I met up with Tim (oraclebase) at the event. He snuck into a UX training day last year, as his employer is implementing cloud applications and although not directly involved he wanted to learn more. The UX team fell in love with him and now he is very much part of the extended UX Ace Team.

They had demo stands to show chatbots, blockchain, AI and the new RDKs.

Still smiling, we had't moved at this point

Then Wednesday I joined a UX Advisory board luncheon. A chance to speak to users who benefit from an ongoing relationship to the team. Jeremy Ashley, the GVP who heads up UX includes outreach in everything his team does.

And if I am ever forgiven for my comment, I hope to be back again soon.

Barriers to Adoption should not stop Innovation

During a session on chatbots at the Oracle UX event I made a comment that I think was taken incorrectly and as we were pushed for time I didn't have the opportunity to explain what I really meant.

The examples that was given was one of an individual using an  intelligent personal assistant such as Alexa to ask how much vacation do I have and the response being taken from HCM Cloud

I said that I had just had a salesman give me this example and I had replied I didn't want a non work related interaction having access to my information. The reaction I got from the UX team made me feel like a complete Neanderthal but I'm not; or am I?

Actually I've been here before, when the Fusion Expenses mobile app first appeared, the voice recognition was quite poor and in fact we joked that unless you spoke just like George Bush it didn't understand you anyway. I did however demo the app in many conferences around the world and I suppose if I'm honest, when doing this part of the presentation I said it was a bit of a gimmick, I didn't see myself ever using it. Roll on 4 years and guess what is really funny? I am actually creating this blog using voice recognition on my iPhone and don't even think about it today.

Anyway I was in India for OTN Yathra and I had a room full of people watching attentively to my presentation and I said I didn't think I'd ever use voice recognition in the app and one of them said they had an exact use case.  He worked for GE and they have engineers who have to service electricity windmills, they need to go up to the tower and they can use a barcode and GPS to know exactly which one they are at. However when they climb to the top and they do their inspection they then have to complete a service inspection report. Being able to enter transactional data into their enterprise application using voice recognition would revolutionise their work pattern. Their whole team agreed this was wonderful.

He was right, this was a real use case that an enterprise customer needed and there was I laughing at what I saw was a gimmick because I couldn't actually see me in the use case that had been presented - sitting in the back of a taxi and saying 'taxi ten dollars'.

So I guess then I should've learnt that the problem with adoption is the disruption concept doesn't seem personal until the use cases talked about are real to us, and then we can see the proper adoption capabilities.

It isn't that long ago that we were laughing at Mark Rittman for trying to make his Smarthouse enabled and he had the well documented problems with making a cup of tea. People then said, 'why don't you just switch it on yourself?' Now these intelligent personal assistants are common place. In this UX session I was one of only a couple who did not have something like an amazon echo in their home today.

Perhaps if I spent more than three days a fortnight (2 weeks) in my house I might consider it.

Anyway back to the session. The use case being given was that of you using a chatbot to interrogate HCM, it seemed foreign to me, I didn't feel comfortable with the concept and that is the barrier to adoption. If an organisation doesn't see the use cases being relevant to them they won't use it. Well not today. But as but I said adoption becomes mainstream, all of a sudden it doesn't seem so foreign.

Anyway that's what I was trying to say but we had so much to cover the discussion was cut short and then all everybody remembered was that I was the philistine in the corner. I tweeted that and when Jeremy Ashley created his story  of UX at #OOW17, the only tweet from me was this:

And then on Twitter I had a response from Grant Ronald telling me about the fact that this technology is great that people are adopting it everywhere, so even in San Francisco I was getting the hard life.

I'm going to have to think more cleverly and say what I need to contribute most distinctly.

What is important is that Oracle invest a lot of R & D, not just in UX but in these new technologies. Jake and his team in the AppsLab have a mandate to understand emerging technologies, use case and PoCs within the enterprise.

Oh and guess what we are now working on back at the office?

Return to main #OOW17 Summary

Friday 13 October 2017

2017OOW - Off Piste (having fun)

I love that OOW gives me the opportunity to have fun alongside the hectic time table. Much of that means very, very early mornings.

So traditionally there is the Bridge Run (well I only walk it, hence an even earlier start) and then the swim. I didn't cycle this year as I did Javaone4Kids, but that in its self was really fun.

So the Bridge Run on the Sunday morning was a beautiful sunrise. I walked with Alex, Tim and my friend Julie. Such a beautiful morning. The plan is we finish about the same time as the runners. I know I am cheating but I still love it.

Such a wonderful place to wonder at the amazing world in which we live.

On the Monday morning is the swim. Part of the tradition here is just how risqué can Bjoern's swimsuit be. No need to talk about the details.  

Then after the swim we go back into town on the cable car. This year I was sporting my new 'Ask Tom' towel, I have plans for this towel, but that is for another blog.

There were several dinners I attended but one worth a mention was the Irish Oracle Dinner at North Beach. I am sure we were in the mortuary, although I'm told it is really an abattoir. 

The food was lovely and the wine was amazing. Thank you Dublin. 

Wednesday evening is the Appreciation Party and like last year it was at AT&T Park. I like it there we can walk. Thanks to ODC (OTN) who had a reserved area for us. The acts were Ellie Goulding and The Chainsmokers. Ellie was good, and there was quite a singalong to the Fifty Shades numbers. However The Chainsmokers were a bit young for me and I (and many others) left early, but it was still a great time.

Tim, Roel, Michelle, Alex, Julie, Me, Peggy

Breakfast on Thursday was a great time to catch up with even more friends, great to have the time to relax.

The weekend after #OOW17 was Fleet Week, the highlight of it being the airshow. I didn't stay long enough to see that but did see some spectacular practice runs Thursday and Friday.

Julie and I went down to Dolphin Swimming Club (were we do our swim) to watch the Blue Angels fly up by the Bridge. Then we got even more entertainment when a complete idiot bought his yacht into the beach. The Park Rangers told him he could not do so, and he simply shrugged his shoulders and continued. Well he continued until he got the yacht stuck on a sandbar. All the swimmers tried to help him and then the police arrived, he thought to help him but actually they came to remove 'him' and left the boat behind. 

Friday morning, I had a very quite lunch at the Cheesecake Factory, what a view, what a beautiful meal (blue cheese, pear and walnut flatbread), a skinny margarita and yet again a view of the airshow rehearsal. 

San Francisco is a beautiful city, and I love this annual pilgrimage. I always stay one extra night as by the end of #OOW I am functioning on pure adrenalin and the thought of siting still on a plane for 12 hours, is not going to be fun. So a little bit of me time does well.

 Goodbye SFO , hopefully I'll be back next year.

Return to main #OOW17 Summary   

Wednesday 11 October 2017

2017OOW - Certus Solutions and Oracle Partner

It was a great #OOW17 for Certus and kicked off with a great award. We knew before we left from the UK but were sworn to secrecy.

We won the Oracle Excellence Award for HCM Cloud in EMEA, and when it was presented to us at the Partner Event on the Sunday night, Bas Diepen said it was for not only our customer successes but also our reputation for 'on time and on budget'.

Sunday was the Oracle Partner Events and they announced their new Cloud Excellence Implementer program and identified the fact that we were one of the first to embrace this. This is a program that recognises customer success rather than sales, so very suited to Certus.

There were four of us from Certus at #OOW17, and we had lots of things to cover, lots of meetings to pursue our strategy around the different solutions we offer, and this all culminated with our customer case study session with DHL.

Tuesday 10 October 2017

2017OOW - UKOUG & User Groups in General

UKOUG was represented at #OOW17 in force. As explained in a recent news article we were sending both Paul Fitton our President and James Jeynes our Executive Director.

Both Paul and  James were new to #OOW17 and I am sure they were surprised at the sheer scale of it all. They both had very full agendas and I know they wanted to see lots of sessions between meetings, but I haven't caught up with them post UKOUG and am not sure how recovered they are yet!

Paul did a daily blog which is one excellent insight into his week and well worth the read.

Sun - Mon - Tue - Wed -

I did see them both at the User Group luncheon on Monday and then again Monday evening at the UKOUG Meetup. This was an initiative Brendan Tierney ran with and apart from being in the darkest pub in all San Francisco it was a great idea and one we need to do again, a quick chance for us all to say hallo.

Whilst Paul and James attended on behalf of UKOUG, Brendan and I were at #OOW17 as part of the ACE Program and Fiona Martin was there in her role with her employer. I didn't stay long, I had somewhere else to go but I did just remember to get a photograph of the 5 directors all together (Ed our Finance Director wasn't at OOW; he was at home looking after the money).

Also at #OOW17 was Kerry Stuart, our Head of Sales who was very busy making new contacts for conference, both long term exhibitor leads and for delegates to this year's conferences. All except me took turns on the user group stands while I as traditional facilitated the EOUC Short Talks.

I did have a chance to represent us at a User Group Focus group where Oracle were looking for feedback on some initiatives. 

We have all come back with actions, information, questions and ideas; plenty to keep us all busy. And of course all those #OOW17 messages to ensure we have covered in the conference agendas.

I heard one great story from Jeremy Ashley, GVP of User Experience who told us how over several UKOUG conferences he had meet with people from one Public Sector organisations and was now working much closer with them. This is what user groups are about, influencing Oracle. What Jeremy's team does will benefit all users.

Return to main #OOW17 Summary