Saturday 21 May 2022

Such Fun and Hopefully Useful - My Afternoons with ACEs slot


Yesterday I took part in 'Afternoons with ACES' - a conversational approach to sharing Oracle expertise.

The topic was 'Extending SaaS with PaaS and how innovation has changed that', but we also talked about User Group events and my plans for the conference season. 

We are in a difficult period. Without technology, zoom, teams, skype, GoToMeeting etc, we would not have survived the pandemic commercially, however people are, to be fair, looking to reduce their screen time as we try to get back to normal, and optional webcasts are becoming less popular. Numbers are dropping a bit and no shows rising, (when you were in lockdown there were less distractions).

For me, and fellow speakers, most of us are excited by in person events, but covid is still here and people are correctly sending away if testing positive even if asymptomatic. Many people are still working for home, or in a hybrid world, and their organisations are not keen to let them go to events. So numbers are not as high as they could be, especially amongst end users. But user groups need to hold their ground, for both virtual and in person, if they give up, there will be nothing to go back to.

As I said in the last post I have 3 in person conferences in June, and am typing this as a break to the packing.

We then moved to the advertised title. #PaaS4SaaS, the development tools for extending SaaS, how to approach it and how the portfolio has gone from strength to strength. Discussed APIs and how SaaS is update proofed which does mean checking your extensions as part of your update cycles.

I also had a shout out for KSCOPE  with ODTUG, the Modern Apps Development track has lots for the #SaaS world, VBCS, Digital Assistant, APIs etc and whilst you are there cram for your OCI exams. Still time to come and join us, it will be amazing.

Thank you for the invite Lee Briggs and Thomas Simkiss and please have me back again.

You can listen to the replay here

Monday 16 May 2022

Busy Few Weeks - An Exciting Hybrid Conference Season

Conferences are back - still a bit hybrid - some in person - some virtual and some a mixture of both.

A few weeks back I was in Scotland for UKOUG - loved it.

Last week work had an in-person event in London and despite it being football centred I loved that too.

In person events are my preference and give me so much energy. That said I recognise that virtual has moved to a much more professional platform and makes sense occasionally. Hybrid is here to stay.

This week I am presenting remotely for the Australian Usergroup AUSOUG webinar series on Fusion Journeys.

Then next week I am taking part in a new idea of 'Afternoon with ACES' - answering questions on #PaaS4SaaS. Despite being virtual, this is a format I love, no presentation, simply answering questions.

'Journeys' is a presentation I will also give remotely for the Spanish Usergroup
SPOUG. SPOUG 22 is an in person event and I so want to be there, but will present remotely as I will actually be in the US, just prior to 3 back to back in person events.

The first of these is Blueprint 4D, the QUEST event  June in Vegas. Again I am talking about Journeys. This session is based on the one I did for Customer Connect but updated to include the new My Experience messages and my thoughts on that. 

The following week I am attending ASCEND the OATUG event. I am not speaking which disappoints me but gives me an opportunity to catch up with more EBS from Cliff Godwin and Nadia Bendjedou. Nadia was at OUG Scotland and having moved to a company that has EBS as well as Fusion customers, I had a lot to catch up on.

Then I want to spend time with Floyd Teter and Prabu Iyer from HCM Development to help fill in some of my gaps with My Experience and help me further develop ideas for the future.

Then quick flight to Dallas for KSCOPE, the ODTUG conference. This is my busiest week, I am the track lead for Modern Apps Development - The place to be if you use #PaaS4SaaS, I will be speaking on what we have learnt in Inoapps but extending Fusion on an industrial Scale using APEX, but most of all I am part of ODTUG Board this year so will be very very busy.

These events are still open for registrations. User groups feedback to Oracle and many organisations selecting software vendors demand this, but if we don't support them they will loose their relevance.

Take a look at all the websites and see which one suits your needs best. 

So if you see me over the next few weeks, be gentle, it may sound fun, and it is, but I still have my day job to do too.

Saturday 14 May 2022

What Links Premier League Football to Enterprise Planning?

New technology is exciting, to start with the use cases are part of the marketing process, but as people start to understand the capability, it will become more main stream and the bit I love, useful for organisations.

This week I had the opportunity to talk to people in person about this at an event jointly hosted by my employer Inoapps and Oracle, in London.

The event was entitled 'What can Fully Connected AI-driven Finance, HR and Analytics Do For Your Business'.

Oracle technology especially in Analytics uses Machine Learning and AI to give us far more than just statistics, they allow us to plan for the future, based on patterns from the past. Real insight and foresight.

To get the message out, Oracle partner with sport. This is not simple sponsorship to get their name seen, it is about using their technology to improve the sport.

I think most people have heard about their partnership with Redbull Racing in F1, but they also partner with Premier League Football where they provide real time insights for the viewer. 

This was the hook for the day, Oracle would talk about how the technology I would give customer examples in business, they would show how it is used in Premier League, Inoapps would talk about how we used it to raise our recent funding and then how no technology transforms without change. 

Lee Bonfield works for Oracle but he is also known for his Fantasy Premier League podcast and was an obvious choice to be the Oracle advocate for their partnership with the Premier League.

The venue for the day was the London Stadium, once the heart of the 2012 Olympics but now home of West Ham Football Team, an ideal location for this event.

I'm not a football fan but I loved the location. I was part of the implementation of E Business Suite for the Olympic Development Authority, that was created to host the Olympics in London, so it almost felt full circle. Walking up to the stadium was quite magical.

My session with John Gardner from Oracle was on Planning and Budgeting Cloud used with Fusion Applications. He talked about how much data we have, and how to use it to make a real difference. I got to do what I do best, interrupt John and give customer examples, what it actually meant to organisations and the challenges they overcame.

Then I interviewed ur Chief Finance Office, Ally Rule. He told our story and our recent investment success. Key to this story is our use of Oracle. We have Fusion HR and ERP, some amazing APEX applications to support industry specific needs, Oracle Analytics to bring this data together and Planning and Budgeting to give us that foresight. Ally explained that when we were looking for investment we selected an organisation to help us build the proposal, the analysts assigned to help us were taught Oracle Analytics by our in-house team and then let loose with our data. When Investors did their due diligence ,Inoapps were able to run every scenario they asked for and drill down behind the figure, in real time. 

Inoapps is an Oracle partner that uses Oracle to improve organisations businesses and Inoapps is also our most important customer.

Despite my lack of interest in football I enjoyed Lee's talk and my colleagues finished the content with talking about the important of change when adopting any technology. 

After a quick lunch there was a tour of the stadium and I loved the legacy of the Olympics still found around the stadium.

Great content, great discussions and so great to be away from the screen.

Tuesday 3 May 2022

OUG Scotland - In Glasgow -- In Person - Invaluable

Want proof I was right about the value of in person events? Last week I attended OUG Scotland in Glasgow and it was a great day.

The keynote was Chris Boyland, from Scottish Government. It was a very interesting interview with OUG volunteer (and my colleague) Dermot Murray. Not being a resident of Scotland the initiatives were not personal to me but for the main audience it was. I love keynotes that are wider than just Oracle.

He talked about minecraft being an ideal way to interest children in technology. My question to him was 'who was educating parents that a 'video game' was a good thing for their children to be doing?'

I presented on Building on Oracle excellence - #PaaS4SaaS extensions on an industrial scale, which is about how Inoapps have created a range of SaaS applications to be used in co-existence with Oracle SaaS. Now I have always suggested VBCS and this is still a real option but my colleagues have shown me just what amazing things they can do with APEX. My presentation isn't so much about the code, but the approach to creating industrial SaaS that needs its own roadmap, release document, support and certifying against Oracle SaaS. I had a good audience and also some outside conversations, one of which was I needed to add APEX to the session title as people who knew me assumed it may not be. Lesson Learnt.

Then I attended an EBS Roadmap session with Nadia Bendjedou. In the early days of Fusion being announced Nadia and I worked and spoke together through usergroups worldwide. In my last two roles I have only taken people from EBS to Fusion and not worked with those who have chosen to stay, although my 'Should I go to Cloud' presentation that looks at both options is still the one most asked for! At Inoapps we have a number of EBS customers in our Managed Service portfolio, so it is great to be` working with Nadia again.

Nadia's session was standing room only, as was her second session on hosting EBS on Oracle Cloud. Some of the technology enhancements are yet again simplifying and cost reducing for EBS maintenance. If you are EBS and didn't get to Scotland then register for this event next week. 

I also went to a great session from the City of Edinburgh who talked about their EBS upgrade project that is in flight. I love customers who share openly throughout projects, it is so valuable not only to those that hear the story, but also to those who are part of it. If you don't take time during, and certainly at the end of a project to look back and celebrate what you have achieved, you will only remember the challenges, and those who have worked so hard to get you there may feel unappreciated. City of Edinburgh also celebrated with all their partners, which again is uncommon.

It wasn't my first in person event post pandemic but it was so great to see people, interact and to discuss.

Congratulations to OUG Scotland volunteers, you pulled off a great day.