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Wrap up of Oracle CloudWorld

By / March 13, 2014 / , / 0 Comments

Last week I attended Oracle’s CloudWorld here in Melbourne. Part of their global roadshow also held in Bogotá, São Paulo, New Delhi, Paris, San Francisco, Moscow, Chicago and Beijing. It was a huge day of information, below is just a summary.

Jeff Henley

The day kicked off with Oracle Chairman Jeff Henley positioning Oracle as the thought leader in cloud services. All of their Software as a Service offerings are now bundled under the banner of the Oracle Cloud. Oracle Cloud is a way to simplify what has, for some time, been a confusing product line. Today the Oracle Cloud has:

  • 10,000 customers
  • 100 different SaaS applications
  • Processes 19 billion transactions per day
  • Deployed across 19 data centres

Jeff introduced several themes that were evident across all sessions – security, personalisation, data, and interconnectivity.

Some interesting statistics from Jeff’s presentation, from a variety of sources:

  • By 2010 data will have grown 50 times from todays volume
  • 75% of internet users have a social profile
  • 35 million apps are downloaded every day
  • 26% of customers now post negative comments on social sites after a bad experience
  • 90% of all purchases subject to some social influence
  • 55% of people would switch banks if their bank had a security breech

Reggie Bradford

Following Jeff’s presentation was Reggie Bradford, Senior VP Product Development. Reggie was one of the founders of Vitrue a business designed to help organisations harness the marketing potential of social media, bought by Oracle in 2012.

Just like Jeff Henley’s presentation Reggie covered the same key themes – Oracle Cloud is connected, secure, personalised, and modern.

Reggie also touched on some of the big requirements, from Oracle perspective, businesses of today’s enterprise applications. The line of business (HR/Finance/Sales/Marketing) require applications to have great functionality, brilliant user experience while delivering immediate value. At the same time the overall enterprise wants interoperability across the a complete portfolio of products with cross application services, delivered at the highest standards.

From this analyst’s perspective Oracle are very much trying to differentiate themselves from some of their well known competitors. In the Australian market this might also translate to “we are a large organisation full of experts who you can trust when compared to local vendors”.

Reggie gave us an insight in the scale of Oracle’s HCM offerings. The Oracle HCM Cloud has 413 million employee profiles and 11% of jobs filled in the US in the last quarter were through Oracle HCM Cloud.

Customer Panel

Next up was a customer panel entitled – Transform your Business where some of the speakers from the functional streams had a chance to introduce themselves.

Two highlights from this panel. First Dr David Rock, Author and Director, NeuroLeadership Group (who I will touch on later) and Brandon Byrne, Vice President of Finance and Administration, Curse.

Brandon said that Curse were surprised that Oracle’s offerings worked for a business of only US$24 million in turnover. Brandon highlighted that one of the selling points of the Oracle Cloud offering was the security (see a pattern). To quote Brandon “Oracle has experts vs the 4 IT guys in your organisation under the stairs” this got laughter from the room.

HR Stream – John Hansen

John Hansen, VP HCM Product Management APAC, gave Oracle’s views on what a modern HCM product should look like. He stated that organisation need both the traditional stable functionality in and HCM along with items on the edge pushing the envelope. According to Oracle a modern HR system needs to be:

  • Talent Centric
  • Collaborative functionality
  • Insightful Data
  • Engaging and Mobile

John felt that there were four major forces impacting business today that drive the need for such a system:

  1. Global shortage of qualified labour
  2. Technology is driven by customers – consumerization of IT
  3. Organisations are data rich but information poor
  4. Social has change everything

HR Stream Dr David Rock

Next up was David Rock’s session which looked at the neuroscience for Leadership Development. This session was worth the day out of the office alone.

David’s research has found that the portion of the brain that is engaged when someone thinks about goals actually causes the part of the brain that focuses on people to be switched off! As business leaders tend to be very goal/outcome focused this means they naturally do not think about people. A study by Bob Spunt and Matt Lieberman from the Social Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory part of ULCA’s Department of Psychology (covering 60,000 managers/leaders over 10 years) found that 0.77% of leaders are good at both goals and people!

At the same time most performance management processes actually encourage ways of thinking that limit the ability for organisations to grow talent. The reason a typical performance management process put our brain into a threat response state instead of one around rewards. Our neurological responses to a threat actually mean we are less likely to achieve the necessary performance outcomes. According to David the typical responses to a threat are:

  • Increase in motor functions
  • Decrease field of view
  • Reduce working memory
  • Significantly few insights
  • We tend to err on the side of pessimism

No wonder organisations struggle with agility and innovation if all our employees are operating in the threat response mode! Instead organisation need performance management process that minimises threats and maximise rewards.

David proposes organisations use his SCARF model to help understand more about employees and how to motivate them into better performance.

SCARF Model

  • Status
  • Certainty
  • Autonomy
  • Relatedness
  • Fairness

A threat to any one of the five attributes in the SCARF model will put an employee into a threat response situation. Interesting David’s organisation was involved in the most recent re-thinking by Microsoft to scrape their forced ranking performance management process.

HR Stream – Daniel Royston

The final session from the HR stream was Daniel Royston, Principal Solution Consultant HCM APAC, discussing “Growing a Collaborative Culture: Bringing Social into Your Workplace”. Daniel was looking at how social tools and technologies were influencing the workplace. Great to see these ideas being incorporated into mainstream enterprise applications, I know Oracle is not the first but still good to see.  A couple of interesting statistics from Daniel’s session.

  • 67% of people feel more productive when working in a collaborative environment
  • Social is the #1 online activity with 1/5 of all time spent online on a social platform
  • 91% of adults are engaging on social media
  • 40% of people spend more time socialising online than F2F

Daniel sees several ways for organisations to use social within the organisation. The easy method is to embed into existing applications/processes such as:

  1. Recruiting
  2. Learning
  3. Performance
  4. Leadership development

However a better, and potentially more effective, way is the creation of new application/processes around the basic idea of social, such as:

  1. Social Sourcing
  2. Internal Social network
  3. Workforce Reputation

Deloitte Technology Trends 2014

The next session I attended was the Deloitte Technology Trends 2014 by Robert Hillard, National Leader, Technology. This session was focused on corporate IT and the trends that are impacting its existence. Deloitte see five key disruptors and five enablers for 2014.

Five Disruptors

  1. CIO as venture capitalist
  2. Cognitive analytics
  3. Industrialised crowdsourcing
  4. Digital engagement
  5. Wearables.

Five Enablers

  1. Technical debt reversal
  2. Social activation
  3. Cloud orchestration
  4. In-memory revolution
  5. Real-time DevOps.

Go download the report if you want more details, I highly recommend it.

Closing Key Note – Lauren Anderson

The closing keynote was from Lauren Anderson looking at the new world of consumer behaviour. Lauren is Chief Knowledge Officer at Collaborative Lab, founded by Rachel Botsman, an organisation focused on the world of collaborative consumption. Lauren’s talk was a great way to finish the day. Collaborative consumption looks at how society can leverage things/services that have high idling capacity and can be shared. Not a new idea, classic collaborative consumption use case is car sharing, but the convergence of web, mobile, social, location aware is transforming markets. Lauren touched on many of the same themes that Rachel did at the AHRI HR Technology Conference last year, not surprising given they work together!

Lauren gave the audience four key principles that are fundamentally changing marketplaces:

  1. Access is more important than over ownership
  2. Unlocking idling capacity
  3. Empowerment and involvement of consumers
  4. Creating unique experiences

(A side note, I ended up sharing a ride with Lauren to the airport where we spent a significant time discussing social and the enterprise, also realising we had many mutual contacts, small world.)

Summary

Overall a great day. It is good to see Oracle has aligned many different moving parts under a single banner, Oracle Cloud. This gives them a foundation to have discussions with customers in a consistent manner, something that has been lacking in the last few years.

A final note. Oracle also took a few of us out for lunch (yes disclosure) to allow for analysts/influencers/thought leaders to spend time with the Oracle HCM team. A great initiative! I really hope more local vendors start to engage more with the growing list of industry influencers and analysts in Australia.